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OUTRAGE FATIGUE
by: Max Burbank

A wise man once said, "The only appropriate response to an outrageous situation is outrage." That wise man was my Dad. I’m pretty sure he was quoting somebody, and while I know there’s a virtual equivalent of "Bartlett’s Familiar Quotations" on the web somewhere and I think I even bookmarked it once, using it right now seems like more trouble than it’s worth. Actually, outrage itself is getting pretty hard to muster up these days, because frankly, I’m exhausted just trying to prioritize everything intolerable I experience in five minutes. I mean, on the one hand there’s Ethnic cleansing, but on the other I just stubbed my toe, really hard, and that makes twice today. Do you know what I’m saying?

I mean, yes, sure, fine, all my clothes are made in third world sweatshops by malnourished preteens and if I don’t wear this crap I have to go naked because my dead end job just barely covers my bloated, grotesque mortgage. But check this out. This morning? A guy in a Ford Explorer? Cut me off and he totally knew what he was doing, and I am not in any way legally allowed to kill him. Does that seem fair? I had to be content with pushing my head as far forward as it would go on my neck, my eyes bulging out like I had the worst thyroid problem on the planet, opening my mouth wide enough to swallow a five pound brisket and wittily quipping that Mr. S.U.V. should ‘Hoover my Shank’. And yes, I can pray
he hasn’t gotten around to changing his tires, I can petition the God of My Choice to make Mr. S.U.V. die painfully in a great twisted mass of metal and flames, but here’s the thing. If God answered my prayers, in
all likelihood that S.U.V. would come crashing through the window of ‘Payless’ shoes at the precise moment I was ponying up my hard earned dough for a pair of ‘Rugged Outback’ sneakers some God forsaken, Fau Lun
Gong, Chinese Prisoner of Conscience Bastard sewed in Reeducation camp. My mortal remains would be so badly mixed with a wide variety of poorly crafted Pumps you’d need dental records to even guess who I once was. And you know what? Those dental records are woefully out of date because while Delta Dental may cover fillings and the occasional cleaning, it only pays half for the serious Hillbilly/English Aristocrat type dental problems a guy of my advancing years suffers from, and the other half of that bill is what economist like to call ‘way more than you’ve got’. And you know what else? Now I have a headache, thanks to you.

And that’s my point, see? You know the phrase ‘Pick your battles’? Well, I can’t be bothered. I just can’t choose anymore. I mean maybe I’m oversensitive, but to me, life is like an incredibly long salad bar with no sneezegaurd where each item is more unspeakably foul than the last,
and I’m in line behind dozens of morbidly obese, mouth breathing, hirsute, republican party faithful hump-monkeys with drippy colds shouting ‘America’s number ONE!’ as they sway forward, loading clumps of pickled atrocity onto their already full plates while hacking up viscous bits of lung all over everything. I’d like to focus on one salad bar item at a time, but how is that even possible? I mean sure, right in front of me is the Sally Jesse Raphael episode ‘We Send Terror Teens to Boot Camp’, but how can I justify putting that on my plate when right next to it is a fresh vat of Tax cuts for any Multi National that can make crude oil from the heads of Harp seals and Sea Otters while merging with a Global Communications franchise actively engaged in research on the commercial potential of Snuff sitcoms? On which choice do I focus my rage? And if I do so how mcu emotion will be left to spare on the fact that at this time of year, my feet always get uncomfortably clammy?

There was a time when teachers frequently referred to my ‘potential’. (Granted, this was usually preceded by the phrase ‘not living up to his...’, but that’s hardly the point). A habitual raising of the hackles has spent the energy that might otherwise have been spent on acts of
genius and one has to wonder, was this a fair trade off? My days as an ‘angry young man’ are past, as are my chances of being a ‘young gun’, ‘young and restless’, a ‘young whipper snapper’ and any other moniker dependent on the use of the word ‘young’. I’m way past the off ramp for ‘enfant terrible’. If I’m very lucky I might make ‘Late Bloomer’ but I’d settle for ‘Slow Learner’. Being pissed off has eaten the better part of my life. I have one last chance to realize my life goal.

The way I figure it, I’ve got about five good years before I have to start telling everyone I set eyes on they should have seen Letterman back when he had his edge, Talking Heads were the last great band ever and a Snickers used to cost a God Damn Dime. In this next half decade I really need to calm down, rest up, or I’ll loose any chance at all of seeing my most cherished dream come true. Without a breather I’ll never be a spectacular bastard in middle age, the springboard to becoming that hateful old guy in the Nursing home who shouts one hundred percent of the time he’s awake, and not the good kind of shouting either. You know the one I mean. The one who won’t die no matter how furiously the exploited, illegal alien attendants refuse to turn him. If I maintain my current fevered pitch of perpetual rage I’ll certainly blow out my cortex long before I reach the ill tempered, senile crankiness I’ve prepared for my whole life. So if you came here looking for one of those trendy, hackneyed, internet 'rants' so popular now that every sack of crap who can afford the payments on an iMac grinds out just as if they didn’t flunk freshman comp four our of five times, well, you and the horse you road in on, chum. Me, I’m gonna gather my rosebuds while I may. If you want me, I’ll be lying on the sofa in my underwear eating Yodels and watching TVland.

note: -RoG- would like to add that he'd never write a "trendy internet rant". Well, at least not on a piece of garbage like an iMac...


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