September 9, 2005

The Rant

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Something is missing in my life, and I have finally figured out what it is. Temper tantrums. Growing up has a lot of perks, to be sure. I finally have the independence I spent 18 years trying to achieve, and I don’t have to worry about kids calling me names during recess (Bucktooth Becky was a favorite), or the fact that my mom didn’t sign my homework so I have to stay after school in detention, shamed at my obvious idiocy. I am happy to leave all of this behind. The temper tantrum, however, is one thing I would like to take with me in this transition to adulthood. The temper tantrum is a beautiful thing. It has no rules other than to be as obnoxious as possible. It can occur anywhere: in line at the supermarket (a bit cliche), at the pool putting on sunscreen or in the middle of a crowded store that taunts with all of its fantastic goodies that you just can’t have. Of course, someone has to be there to see it. What good would it be to scream at no one saying that you hate them and you’re never talking to them again, and, what’s more, that it’sjustnotfairwhycan’tIhavethatpopsicle!!!(Or, for a more mature tantrumer, that diamond necklace). If you’re really lucky, you can switch into a native second and even third language to express how truly pissed off you are. Then not only are you startling and berating the enemy, but you are confusing them as well. In fact, the best tantrums are thrown at people unknown to the thrower. For example, the other day at Cascadeli, I was informed that the sandwich I always get was not even an option. I knew this to be a blatant lie. Just because a Veg-o-matic is vegetarian on the blackboard should not preclude all meat eaters from enjoying it! When they told me I could not put chicken on that sandwich, I decided the time had come. I reached way back in my memory, and brought out the temper tantrum. I moaned and gasped and stomped my feet and grabbed my head and demanded to know why not? And furthermore (still yelling/whining about 5 times as loud as is socially acceptable) who did he think he was giving me a sandwich from the pre-made, been sitting out for the entire day glass case when I clearly wanted a freshly made personalized meal for lunch! The nerve! All I can say is, it worked. Shocked and taken aback by my outburst, he stood speechless watching, and once he realized what was actually happening, he decided to take quick action. He scurried around trying to find out if what I wanted was possible (it was, of course) and doing various other placating maneuvers like shushing and waving his hands as if trying to fan me in a desperate attempt to get me to stop. When he realized that the only way would be to give me my Veg-o-matic with chicken no further questions please, he gave in. And the tantrum reigns. In short, I feel that the temper tantrum should not be a rosy memory from childhood, only to return when you want to teach your own children a lesson. Temper tantrums have been the vehicle to fame and fortune, (Rumor has it that Uma Thurman was discovered by an agent impressed with her kicking and screaming abilities in an L.A. boutique,) and fun. Thwarting social convention is invigorating for the thwarter because she gets to watch the impact her tantrum has, and for the thwartees who get to enjoy this novel and unexpected experience. And so I leave you with this: Be free. Be a rebel. Throw a tantrum.

Archived article by Becky Wolozin
Sun Staff Writer