There’s this Native American story about an old man explaining the facts of life to his grandson.
We all have two wolves fighting inside of us, the old man said, one is evil, filled with anger, greed,
“Which wolf will win?” the boy asked his grandfather.
“The one you feed,” the old man replied.
I had a serious run-in with my evil wolf on Saturday and I fed that bloodthirsty canis lupus everything from soup to nuts. And I do mean nuts.
I got out of bed with a bad attitude. I’ve been having some kind of trouble with my upper back. Apparently I pulled a muscle and if I move a certain way I get zapped with a bolt of pain that makes me even crankier than usual.
From there I stumbled through a series of boneheaded misconceptions that stirred up a massive thundercloud of vile emotions that threatened to overwhelm a beautiful sunny day.
I’m going on vacation in a few weeks and I somehow became convinced that there was something wrong with my plane reservation because I hadn’t received a confirmation email. Panic set in as I worried that I wouldn’t be able to get a flight now.
A few frantic calls to my bank and the airline confirmed that, yes, nitwit, I had indeed purchased the tickets nearly a month ago.
Next I called my auntie at her farmhouse in the Berkshires, something I do every morning, only this time I kept getting dumped into voicemail.
I became more agitated each time I called, as I imagined all sorts of horrific scenarios. She had fallen down the stairs; a rabid grizzly had blasted the front door off its hinges; those perverted hillbillies from Deliverance had invaded her house and were making her squeal like a pig.
“Call me back,” I said as huffed up to my gym, “or I’m calling the cops!”
Werewolves of Brooklyn
I could barely enjoy my gym class as my wolf brain created increasingly terrible images of my auntie’s (fantasy) distress. And every time I made a wrong move my shoulder sent amber waves of pain through my body.
She had gone to breakfast with her friends earlier that morning, which she had told me about on Friday and which had slipped clean out of my head.
Then it was on to the dry cleaner, where I tried to pick up my shirts even though I couldn’t find my ticket. There was only one problem: the owner couldn’t find any shirts belonging to me.
Did I forget to bring them last week? I go through this ritual nearly every Saturday so maybe I just thought I had gone there last week.
But the owner had recently given my shirts away to another customer. I got them back, but I was a little nervous for a few days, so I don't really consider this fellow the most trustworthy guy in town.
I think there’s a good chance that I didn't leave any shirts there and as I walked out I decided this would be a great time to find a new dry cleaner.
I go† home and prepared for my favorite pastime: laying out on my keester in nearby Shore Road Park. All the bad stuff from the morning was behind me and nothing could possibly go wrong now.
And then it did.
As I got my stuff together to go down to the park, I realized that I didn’t have my bottle of sunblock. I’d rather avoid sunburn and other, more serious ailments, so I started looking around my apartment. And looking. And looking. And I was getting loonier with every passing second.
There Goes the Sun
I usually keep the sunblock in a rather packed hallway closet, but there was no sign of it there.
Anger has this way of sneaking up on me like a wolf in sheep’s clothing. Even though I’m thoroughly pissed about something in the present moment, the dark wolf of my subconscious will drag up all sorts of ugly memories so that I get even angrier.
I don't want to jackass to the store and buy more sunblock, I growled, my fangs starting to show. And I'm missing all this beautiful sunshine.
I went out last night in a semi-successful effort to reclaim my sanity.
This morning I got up with a little less pain in my shoulder and a determination to keep my emotions in check. I ate breakfast, watched Joel Osteen, and got my gear together for another trip to the park.
And just for the hell of it, I walked over to the hallway closet, moved some stuff around on the top shelf, and the bottle of sunblock came tumbling down like Santa Claus chimney-surfing on Christmas morning.
A peaceful, satisfied feeling came over me and I could almost hear my good wolf licking his lips.