Burning up: Anger and exercise


Up to now, I have resisted physical activity in the form of “working out” the way fish, say, resist learning to ride a bicycle. I think, however, that my perfect workout has arrived.
Enter “anger-obics.” According to an article I read in some crumpled newsprint used to wrap a Christmas gift (so you KNOW it’s a reliable publication) anger-obics is exercise that really packs a punch.
Well, not really. Anger-obics consists of venting your frustrations “by combining movement, visualization, creativity, and humor to help physically express anger in healthful ways.” If anything, there is a distinct lack of punching.
Generally I’m all for anything that allows me to vent frustration without resorting to actually having to throttle someone. Anger-obics is full of helpful suggestion such as stomping on a piece of paper on which you have written your antagonist’s name. This is in lieu of simply stomping on your antagonist.
Me, I’m more into verbally berating. I also favor lengthy letter-writing campaigns and, when all else fails, sharing a particularly humorous issue or two with the reading public. If you change just enough names to protect the not-so-innocent, it can be quite satisfying.
Certainly, some things are just too “all about me” to make it into print. On the other hand, other situations are so universal that a little anger-obic action could certainly benefit us all.
Everyone relates. Customer service is the pinnacle of such things. To its credit, corporate America has finally in the last few years responded to the howls of complaints about poor customer service. As a result, they have greatly improved the tone and attitude of their employees.
Gone is the rampant disdain of the past. Now, not only is your call “important” to them but “very important,” even. So much so that they will get to you in, oh say, 45 minutes. This is a vast improvement over the 36 hours or so you would wait on hold just a few years ago. I may even today be on hold with a creditor I telephoned in late 1997.
Another noticeable improvement in customer relations is that, for the most part, customer service employees are just so darned NICE anymore. Gone are the snarling minions of doom. Today’s customer service associates are just the nicest people.
Sure, they aren’t worth a fig when it comes to actually assisting you in getting anywhere with their employer, but they are just as pleasant as the day is long. This is good as “the day” is approximately the scope of time you will spend on the line with them without actually achieving any resolution at all.
Of course, we can’t say we weren’t warned. I recently read a headline stating there was a 38 percent chance for a substantial hike in natural gas prices.
Meanwhile, I can well attest there is a 100 percent chance I will want to throttle – if not the unfailingly pleasant customer service reps at the natural gas utility – then, at the very least, the computer that runs the entire show which, apparently, has been possessed by Satan.
Pioneer. Meanwhile, when driven to embrace pioneer life and burn wood in a valiant effort to go “off the grid” completely, some kindly salesperson managed – however nicely – to mess that up for me as well.
I would like to be the first to introduce herself as the person who has paid roughly the equivalent of the national debt in order to return to burning wood to heat her home. Something, I might add, that our pioneer ancestors managed essentially for FREE with only a covered wagon and hand-hewn ax to assist them.
Instead I, without regard for personal safety, put myself in the hands of a salesperson. This was a clear cry for help. I was assisted and customer-serviced to within an inch of my life. It was rather like a mugging, only instead of coming to with my face in the pavement, I came to with a cleaned-out checkbook and a smoke-belching monster that requires more attention than a newborn baby.
This isn’t to say I haven’t enjoyed it immensely however, if only for the sheer lunacy of having my husband stomp around turning down the thermostat and lining all the windows with plastic (so attractive!) while snarling, “What’s the matter with you people? Do you think wood grows on TREES?” For this I’m making 60, equal, monthly payments?
Shaking it. Meanwhile, anger-obic proponents would assure me that “dancing energetically while shaking a scarf” to release my frustration would work wonders for me.
While I can agree that shaking something will do wonders for me, it should be noted that a scarf isn’t quite what I had in mind.
(Kymberly Foster Seabolt is still NOT working out. She welcomes comments c/o kfs@epohi.com; P.O. Box 38, Salem, OH 44460; or http://userweb.epohi.com/~kseabolt.)


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Warm, witty and just a wee bit warped, Kymberly Foster Seabolt is a native of Kent, Ohio, who survived childhood exposure to disco and grew up to marry and move to the country. Her column weaves her special brand of humor with poignant, entertaining, and honest portrayals of parenting, marriage, and real life. She currently lives in northeastern Ohio with her husband, two children, two dogs, two cats, and numerous dust bunnies who wish to remain nameless.