How to Get Over Road Rage

By Jim Hagarty

Hi, my name is Jim and I am a recovered road rager.

This is my story.

My problem started 49 years ago when I was 16 and got my driver’s licence. Before then, I had had only minor attacks of RR, though signs that I would one day be afflicted by the disorder were already there, now that I look back on it. For example, I used to yell after cars that would spray me with stones as I rode my bike home from school along the gravel roads that led to my farmhouse. And later on I’d mutter and scowl at truckers that would come close to squashing me like a bug as I putt-putted one of my father’s old tractors along the shoulder of the road.

But these mild traffic tantrums were just a foreshadowing of the ranting and raving that would ensue once I was given that little green piece of paper that allowed me to guide gas-powered tanks of plastic, steel and glass up and down the highways of the world. How was I to know that sharing those thoroughfares with me would be some of the biggest jerks to ever strap on a seatbelt?

I have been tailgated by tandem trucks, cut off by compact cars, held up by happy holidayers and petrified by pea-brained passers. I was once slammed into from behind by a driver too busy kissing his girlfriend to bother jamming on his brakes. Another time I was hit broadside by a woman who put on her blinker but just for fun, I guess, as she didn’t bother to make the turn she was indicating she would. Most recently, I was hit head on by a cab driver who pulled out to pass a parked car and didn’t see me there, so small and invisible was I in my full-sized, family lumberwagon.

So, my torment mounted over the years and I fought back. I used every imaginable inappropriate behaviour possible to display my dismay until I finally saw the light. I won’t go into details about how I carried on. But let’s just say that the normally meek and mild me could, at the honk of a horn or the sound of “Learn to drive, loser!”, instantly transform into a frenzied freeway Frankenstein, though I never took to brandishing a pistol or baseball bat.

The good news in all of this, however, is that I have not had even close to one incident of RR in over 20 years. With any luck, I may never again give in to the urge to vent my bruised feelings while cruising along life’s highways.

Here, in nine simple steps, is how I overcame my affliction. Perhaps this will work for you too.

  1. In a shopping mall parking lot, back your vehicle out, somewhat prematurely, perhaps, into the path of an oncoming car, forcing the driver to apply his brakes to avoid hitting you.

  2. Look in your rear-view mirror to see the big guy behind you losing his mind and listen with blossoming anger as he honks his horn long and loud at you.

  3. Flip up the forefinger of your left fist and hold your thus-saluting arm out the window of your car to acknowledge your appreciation of your fellow motorist’s concern over your driving skill level and the perceived deficiencies in it.

  4. Watch in dismay as your new-found foe practically locks the front of his car onto the back of yours and prepares to follow you out of the parking lot in this two-ton tango.

  5. Realize with growing panic that this demented maniac – obviously released just that day from a maximum-security prison – now intends to follow you in this fashion until you run of gas at which time he will then administer, on your head, a little road rage of his own.

  6. Begin to shake uncontrollably and break into a cold sweat as your parking lot pal soon takes to pulling up beside you as you drive along and shaking his fist at you in a preview of how he intends to exact justice once he somehow gets a hold of you.

  7. Realize forlornly you can’t go home as you’d rather not share your address with your suddenly acquired, not-so-silent stalker.

  8. Head for the local police station and watch in relief as the tactic finally shakes your tormentor from your tail.

  9. Wonder for three days after whether or not your own personal road warrior might suddenly appear again as you’re driving along somewhere and least expect to renew your acquaintanceship with him.

I’m cured.

Now, in the fashion of all who’ve suddenly changed their ways, I’d like to cure the rest of the world too.

I propose the opening of a boot camp for road ragers. Hire the guy who chased me around to chase them around. The only thing on the menu would be great spoonsful of Your Own Medicine.

It tastes awful, but served up by the right physician, it’s been known to work wonders.

How Great Thou Art

By Jim Hagarty

God is.
God is great.
My God is great.
My God is greater
Than your God is.
Your God is greater
Than my God is.
My God, let’s fight
To see the greater God.
Won’t that be great?
When it ends we’ll say,
“Oh great God,
What have we done?”

Toss Another Blog on the Fire

By Jim Hagarty

Two months ago today I started this blog, Lifetime Sentences. There will be a parade in your town this afternoon.

As a writer, I should be able to easily describe how I have found the blogging experience so far, but it isn’t that simple. It seems to be part job, part game. There isn’t much I can compare it to. Playing in the traffic on a busy highway, maybe?

Each day, when I get out of bed, the blog sits waiting. Only embers burning now in the fireplace. It awaits new material to combust.

So, I sit down at the keyboard and try to find a few more blogs for the fire.

The biggest thing I notice is how fast the fuel gets eaten up before more is needed. My big worry is one day I will go to the woodshed to find the pile is empty and gone.

But so far, so good.

Prescription for Mystery

By Jim Hagarty

I met with a skin specialist in another city a few weeks ago.

She is a very busy doctor and while she always gives me the attention I need, she is forever in a hurry to get to her next patient and I have to be on top of my game to remember everything she says to me. As it always happens, I have already forgotten a few of her instructions.

That day, just before she left the office, she wrote some things down on a notepad with “Clarus – Isotretinoin capsules ISP” at the top of the page. I stuffed it in my pocket.

Twenty-two days later, I found the paper and studied what she had written on it. I could make no sense of it: HBA/Advanced, BMos. What was this? A cream? A spray? A pill? It was not a prescription, so it would be over the counter stuff, but what stuff?

I went into my pharmacy and handed a woman the note. Soon, pharmacists were gathered around, sounding out the words. HBA/Advanced. BMos. They searched back through their professional memories to try to find a medical match, but just couldn’t do it. As they were sounding it out, a vague memory started to creep through my brain.

The doctor had asked after my son and daughter and we got talking about possible university programs. She highly recommended two programs – HBA/Advanced and BMos – at Western University in London and she scribbled them down on a notepad for me.

I had no choice but to call off the investigation by the kind pharmacists who by this time were probably questioning their own competence. They handed me back my note but wrote on it “Western University programs” in the event that I wandered back in with the same problem a week or two from now.

“Could you help me find my way home?” I said, embarrassed. I could hear them all laughing as I left.

At least I could still hear them.

My next appointment is with a hearing specialist on Monday.