Temper Tantrum: A Story About Anger Issues & Empathy
The Following Story is from the ArmaniTalks Newsletter
It’s easy to judge someone when they lose their temper.
It’s easier than ever to do it in the internet era.
That’s why WorldStar exists.
A bunch of videos of people snapping.
Reaching a boiling pint.
The end viewer gets the final video.
Then they form their interpretations of the person based off that final video.
As I mature, I ask, what led to that moment?
Are there gray areas that I’m not seeing?
There was a moment early in my 20s when I was desperately looking for an internship.
The semester was wrapping up & I needed to seal a job before summer started.
Otherwise, it would be too late.
An engineer who didn’t have any internship experience before graduating was seen as suspect by a lot of potential employers.
There was a company which contacted me asking if I could come for an interview at Friday 1pm.
I eagerly said yes.
This company was 50 minutes away from me!
And I had just had a hit and run on my car.
So it was a game of coordinating bus rides to get to this place.
Hypothetically, if I did get the job, was I supposed to drive 50 minutes there and back every day?
That’s not a question I should be asking now.
Just go to the interview Armani.
On Friday, I wear a nice suit & start heading over to the bus.
The ride begins.
Once I get dropped off at the location, I come to notice I have to walk the remainder of the portion.
The bus stop to the job location was another 25-minute walk!
25 minutes is light work.
But in 95-degree Florida weather while wearing a suit?
It’s no longer light work.
I walked to this job location, burnt and sweating.
Dehydrated as well.
Rushed to the bathroom to freshen up.
Luckily, I was there early.
Eventually, there was a bald man named Timothy who greeted me.
He was dressed semi-formal & seemed like a nice person.
Timothy gave me a tour of the company and asked if I had any questions.
I said no.
Then Timothy takes me to a room where there were 15 people sitting.
They looked intimidating.
Timothy asks, ‘Alright Armani, mind if we ask you some questions?’
I looked around the room and said sure.
The next hour felt like hell.
These 15 people began firing off one complex question after another.
And I was looking like an idiot fumbling each of the questions.
Yo fam, is this an interview for an internship, or are you interviewing me to be the damn president of the company?
One of the goons hands me a marker & wanted me to start drawing a model for him.
I stood there looking like an idiot.
As the meeting time winded down, everyone looked unsatisfied.
Timothy walked me out & said verbatim:
‘I don’t think you will be a right fit for us. Sorry.’
Most companies say that they will get back to you.
But Timothy straight up told me that I wasn’t hired.
I was happy that he didn’t waste my time.
But my feelings were also hurt.
It was time to walk back to the bus stop in this hot weather and head back home with nothing to show for it.
There was one potential good news.
‘What was that?’
The location I was in had an awesome burger spot.
This burger spot was known for extremely large burgers.
My friends and I would every now and then make a rare drive to the burger spot.
This restaurant was right next to the company.
My stomach was growling.
Hadn’t eaten for a while.
I normally try not to eat before a high-pressure event.
But after skipping breakfast & walking in the hot sun, your boy was starving!
I order a big burger & fries.
Then start taking the walk of hell back to the bus stop.
As I am walking in this hot weather, I am getting dehydrated.
Dehydration leads to agitation.
And I’m feeling a lot of anger.
All this will be salvaged when I start eating the burger in the bus.
All of it will be salvaged.
I’m walking to the bus stop…
Then in the corner of my eye, I see something running towards me.
It’s a dog.
The dog is running my way & I have no clue what to do.
Is this a stray?
Do I run?
No, if I run then the dog will chase me.
So I am staring at the dog, unsure about what is going to happen next.
Then I see a guy who seems to be the dog’s owner just standing there looking at me.
This dog rushes toward me & starts sniffing my crotch.
Its fur is starting to get on my suit.
It continues to sniff on my crotch.
I hate when dogs do that.
What’s even more annoying is when a dog owner is like, ‘don’t worry bro, my dog does that to everyone.’
I don’t want it doing that to me.
All good, sniff away, but don’t bite me.
The dog doesn’t bite me.
It does something worse.
It slobbers all over my left palm.
I suddenly had a whole bunch of dog saliva on my left palm and it was disgusting.
This was bad news because it affected my plan.
The big burger that I bought required TWO hands to eat it.
But TWO hands.
That’s how big the burger was.
I don’t want to be holding this big burger with a palm that was licked by a random dog.
I don’t know where that dog’s mouth had been.
And there were no sinks or restrooms in sight to clean up.
I see this guy looking at his dog slobbering all over me.
As I look closer, I see him HOLDING the leash.
You idiot, why would you hold a leash and not tie it to your dog?
He is looking at me while dragging his feet, as his dog is slobbering all over me.
Getting fur on my suit.
All in 95-degree weather.
This was enough.
-I got no job.
-I am sweaty.
-My suit has dog hair on it.
-The 50 minute bus ride was not going to consist of me eating the burger.
-And this guy was just watching me as his dog was slobbering over me.
That’s when I snapped.
I looked at this guy and yelled:
‘Yo motherfucker, don’t you see your fucking dog is licking me?! How stupid are you? Get your fucking dog off of me, dumbass!!’
I’m yelling at this man.
He was in his 30s, white, baseball cap, and shorts on.
He comes rushing to pull his dog off me and responds with:
‘Chill man, it’s not a big deal.’
That’s when I really snapped:
‘Fuck off, man. You should have some manners. I don’t care if your dog is your friend. You shouldn’t be so nonchalant about letting him lick on strangers. He just slobbered over my fucking hand and got hair all over my suit. Dumbass.’
This man put the leash on the dog.
And he looked at me.
I looked back at him.
He was 6 foot.
I was 6 foot.
He was 180 pounds.
I was 180 pounds.
He looked like he was about to fight me.
And I was ready to fight him.
We had a standoff for the next 10 seconds.
Then he said:
‘You know what, you’re right man. I’m sorry.’
Then he walks away.
That’s when I felt rage.
But the rage was starting to cool off.
I wonder what it would have been like if someone randomly started recording me as I was going on my tirade.
I would have looked very evil.
That particular snapshot of me yelling at this guy & telling him to take his dog away from me.
I could already see how it would’ve been framed:
‘Brown thug bullies a dog owner.’
‘Mean man hates animals.’
Or however it would be twisted.
I don’t care how it would have been twisted.
It was a matter of principle for my 21 year old self.
The principle was one thing.
But what led up to that moment is still etched in my mind.
I still recall that day like it was yesterday.
When I see these WorldStar videos, I am really curious what led these people to snap like that.
What was their grilling moment from 15 people?
What was their hand slobbering moment by a random dog?
What was their moment with having a face off with a dog owner?
I don’t justify any of that.
But I’m a storyteller.
My goal is not to point out right and wrong all the time.
The answers aren’t always that simple.
My goal is to understand life.
And understand the gray areas in between.
Because there are always gray areas in between.
The internet & a video collapsed in time can turn gray into black & white.
But it’s always more nuanced than that.
It’s always more nuanced…
For more short stories on communication skills and love languages, be sure to sign for the ArmaniTalks Newsletter!!