Oops

There came a time, last week I believe it was, unless it was some other time, when my mask slipped away. Or, if it should so happen that I was not wearing a mask at all, then I guess it must be that I was transformed.  

And for that moment – no more than two minutes – the meek and mild me who reveals no emotion was gone.  

I saw it in their eyes.

They could not recognize me.

My heat curled outward through fingertips. I saw hairy tendrils shoot out across the desk and surround them. I roared.

I can only imagine how, in that moment, I appeared to them. Snarling. My familiar face dripping away like wax. The tendrils from my fingers thickening into reticulated tentacles which covered the walls and the ceiling until the whole room seethed in a kind of awful peristalsis.

My words, when they came, had nothing to do with the matter at hand, which was something about a client file gone missing. I forget. O sure, maybe they sounded like client file words coming from my mouth to the others, but to me, when I roared, I knew. This was probably less about the client file than about a dead end life spent alone with bad teeth, thinning hair, and a lopsided jaw. Insults recalled from childhood. Narrowing choices, aging loved ones, and living in the dying days of democracy.

Not smart enough. Not brave enough. Not good enough.

The file was just a file, right?

My office boiled in venom and it bubbled in bile and in that moment, the others saw my true, secret face.

I was ready to ingest them. They said, “Wait. Is this the file right here on your desk?”

It was the file.

I said, “Oh.”

I said, “I guess that resolves that, doesn’t it?”

Then my office resumed its usual shape, I went back to looking harmless, and the rest of the day was average in every way. 

Comments

  1. Great writing craze.I felt sad when i read about ur worries in the middle of the post and laughed at the end when u wore the mask again.Men r capable of doing horrific things when they were given a chance and r mighty enough.Everyone wears a mask of morality.

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    1. I hope that I'm generally a fairly decent person. It's just a couple times a year when I blow a fuse.

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  2. You'd probably do well with teeth like the Alien. No hair to worry about either. And just eat anyone you get angry with.

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    1. That would be handy because I'd be leaving no witnesses to my tantrums.

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  3. Most primates have episodes of rage or bloodlust. Have you seen the way chimpanzees behave when they hunt for Colobus monkeys?

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    1. If you've ever hunted for Colobos monkeys, you'd know that getting revved up is a necessity.

      Incidentally, why is it "monkeys" and not "monkies"?

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  4. It's scary when the mask slips isn't it? More to ourselves than anyone else. Insults from childhood never leave us.

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    1. I like to think I'm not that sort of person, but it only takes a second to see that i very well might be!

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  5. Oops BUT sometimes, somedays ya just gotta roar.

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    1. I felt much better for the whole week after that.

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  6. The hidden beast within can surface at unexpected times......afterward we feel rather badly about it but also, strangely energised.

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    1. I WAS strangely energized after that!

      And also extremely polite.

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  7. It's funny how those things go sometimes, how the tiniest problem can turn you into a Cronenberg monster until you realize there never was a problem to begin with.

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    1. That sounds right. The thing I'm yelling about is almost never the thing I'm actually upset about, it seems.

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  8. It's amazing how sometimes something small can set us off. It's that one last straw. One too many cactus spurs in the fingertips of our souls. It happens.

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    1. "One too many cactus spurs" indeed.

      It's not entirely easy to admit I act like this at times. But I've been trying to use the blog admit things that are difficult.

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  9. Golly gee willickers, I do hate when I lose my temper like that. The other day I found out my wife was cheating on me, and I said to her gee whiz Mom, you've gone and made me look like a goshdarn sillygoose, and then I promptly apologized for dropping the 'gd' word in front of the kids.

    No, I'm kidding, if I don't scream the F-word at someone or something across the span of my day, then I've probably been tranquilized.

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    1. I have always assumed that's what pseudonymous accounts in social media are for... getting my frustrations out, I mean.

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  10. I mostly have liked to save such episodes for guitar solos, but one time I totally lost it and picked up my motorcycle and threw it...

    -Doug in Oakland

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    1. I run a few times a week and write a lot, plus I've learned how to pretty much keep it all at bay, so I'm usually good to go.

      If I could channel it into guitar solos... Hey, that might explain some of the faces the old guitar guys made while playing.

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  11. When my mask slips it doesn't fall away for long. Usually I return to my senses within a day and after that I feel like a stupid punk for letting my emotions get the best of me.

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    1. I definitely felt embarrassed. I trust there is no long-term damage done.

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  12. Replies
    1. Buddha would definitely not approve. But I've never met anyone who didn't crack occasionally. All too human...

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  13. You found the perfect illustration for this post, I must say.

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    1. Illustration? That is an actual selfie.

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  14. This is why I was a terrible manager. I was so quick to rage when one of my employees did something wrong or defiant, forgetting how I would do anything to undermine a strawman of a manager. It happens. But I think I 've learned, not to be a manager, ever again.

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    1. That's a great life lesson learned.

      I was Executive Director of a small non-profit for five years and that's just about the same lesson I learned. Never again.

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  15. Sometimes, the littlest of things, can set a person off and it's not even what's happening in that situation, you are upset about! "Just think happy thoughts!" LOL! Your monster reminds me of the characters from Men In Black!

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    1. I believe that's exactly what happened here, Stacy.

      I'm generally not very scary, but when I get angry, I think I scare myself worse than I scare anyone else.

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  16. A brief moment of stepping outside of yourself. Thanks for my new word of the day, peristalsis.

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    1. Woohoo! I snuck a $10 word into this one.

      I'll see if I can do that again from time to time.

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  17. Some days, we just need to explode and show the tentacles within... Thank goodness for files, which keep the roaring beast from indigestion.

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    1. Hopefully, it will end up only a slight memory for them. They'll know I'm capable of it, but there will be no need for me to to have that sort of catharsis at work again.

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  18. You know they're going to look at you funny from now on.

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    1. Probably. I hear that I'm not the only person to lose it on administrative staff. I am somewhat insulated from a lot of the bad stuff, so it seemed very unusual to me, since I've never done it before.

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    2. Surprisingly low, considering!

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