Softening Up: A Journey to Self-Love

From our newest issue, Nonsense Goes Soft!

By Barbara MacIntire

For some people, being nice can be hard. Perhaps you're someone whose so insensitive, so hopelessly bitter, that you often think to yourself, “man, I wish I had more friends to complain to about my miserable life.” Perhaps you are so full of hate and black holes of emotion that anyone who approaches you is sure to get exactly what’s coming to them -- pain. Maybe you cling to your anger and frustration like a life preserver in a sea of good-natured simians, always holding the door open for you (as if you even have two hands that aren’t broken, Sheila) and bringing you coffee with all sorts of sugary garbage in it. Who drinks coffee with caramel in it? It's like, c'mon, save it for the toddlers who are actually dependent on this junk.

I was the same way, once. A soulless b*tch, if you will. I spat, chewed cinnamon gum, and would throw things aggressively against walls. I drove with one hand on the steering wheel and actually enjoyed that wicked rock and roll music that they play in grocery stores and in taxi cabs. I let my faith in Christ slip.

Once I got in a fight because a guy told me I reminded him of Amy Schumer. Understandable. Another time, when some mild-mannered ninny not-so subtly implied that I had blood and dirt all over my hands and mouth, I was sure to let him know exactly what I thought of him.  With both of my knives. Maybe that was why people always held the door open for me...the knives...

For years, I continued down this path of evil and grumpiness. But after I got the sh*t beaten out of me for loudly declaring I could and would wring child support money out of as many disillusioned young fathers as I could, my third therapist told me I’d have to learn to calm down. I tried holistic methods first: slipping my hands into Tupperware containers full of cold spaghetti, taking chamomile suppositories and eating Tide pods. I tried meditation and riding the bus. But nothing worked: I felt the urge to beat up commuting socialists in the morning, and the desire to go all Carrie (Underwood) and dig my key into the side of my neighbor’s shitty little fucking Hyundai Sonata in the evening.

So I did what thousands of angry, impulsive people did before me: I went on the Internet.

As far as I understand it, tasering yourself is, on the surface, a terrible idea. But after spending days in the bathroom, vomiting up those colorful little laundry snacks, I knew it was worth a try. So, I snatched Mama’s Little Helper from a cop who pulled me over for screaming paraphrased Bible verses at the Little Caesar's mascot, and the rest was, as they say, history.

The first time I tased, it hurt. 50,000 volts straight to the carotid is a lot, especially for your first time, especially in the tool shed. I like to describe it as an eye-opening experience, but the truth is my eyes were closed for about 45 minutes after the initial zap. The back of my neck felt like someone jammed a whole bunch of needles in it, except I also got to feel the satisfaction of revenge by taking out those needles and jamming them in the eyes of my enemies. Everything went quiet, soft even, and when I came to, I have to admit I felt a bit lighter in the chest. I went online and bought a tiny cat pillow to vent my anger at, but one look at that little scamp made me break down and cry for the first time since Easter of 1994, the year I first learned of what they did to our Messiah.

It sounds nuts, but I think I may have found some kind of miracle cure. All my old vices—shouting, yelling, fighting, omnivorous behaviors—they've disappeared. I’ve transcended anger. Now, whenever I wanna put some dickhead’s dick head through a goddamn plate glass window, instead I just grab Old Blue and give myself a big ol’ tase, right to the fuckin’ neck-throat. Slowly but surely, my faith in Christ is growing stronger than ever. If ever I feel like trapping a small animal and putting it into a vent in order to study how it dies, I simply grab my little, blue friend and knock myself unconscious for an indeterminable amount of time.

Now, that’s not to say things are getting easier. Every day is a struggle. Oftentimes I still feel that urge to pick up a large, heavy rock and throw it at the nearest registered Independent (when will they learn). But now that I’m not constantly seeking out another person to put on my hit list, which is the list of people I've run over with their own car, I've been able to reassess my relationship with the taser I've come to know and love. Lately I’ve even taken up putting bean bags in the microwave and then rubbing them on my face in order to feel the hairs on my chin burn off. When my little Blue Light Special is running low on juice, or simply running so hot from overuse that it begins to expel smoke, those scalding hot bags do just enough to counter the violent rage bubbling beneath me. It's like vaping after sex: strange, and less than ideal, but understandable from a ritual perspective, and still really kind of cool.