Rob Taylor: Introducing Dr. Phil’s next project
July 21, 2008
Can anger really be “managed” with deep breathing exercises, walking around the block and chit-chatting about feelings? No doubt, Dr. Phil could squeeze another book out of the topic, especially if fate put him on a collision course with my friend Chad ” the modern-day iteration of Archie Bunker.
“She asked me what color to paint the bedroom,” he said recently, fuming over a conversation with his wife. “I said anything but yellow, left for an out-of-town meeting and came back to ” what else? a yellow bedroom.”
Furious, he hit speed dial.
“Why am I standing in a yellow bedroom?” he demanded.
“It’s not yellow. It’s goldenrod.”
“Oh, goldenrod. Well, that’s nothing like yellow now, is it?”
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“Gotta’ run, Honey. Bye.”
“Not under my watch,” he mumbled.
After a quick trip to the hardware store, he buried the goldenrod under a coat of black
latex. Before his wife returned home from work, he was gone ” traveling to the next conference, picking black paint specs from his fingernails.
Fifty miles down the road, she called.
“Vincent Van Gogh,” he answered. He set the cell phone on the passenger seat, smiled and let her vent. They would kiss and make up later, he knew, just like they did the week before.
That day, while she spent the lunch hour catching up on soap operas, he spruced up the family car with Windex, Armor All and Tire Foam. Half an hour later, the Olds sparkled.
The next few minutes were a blur. While he scrounged through the fridge for a worthy leftover, his wife powdered her nose, grabbed her car keys and pecked him on the cheek.
“See you later,” she said, rushing out the door.
That’s when the real soap opera began.
After filling up on a questionable burrito, Chad opened his car door unprepared for what he saw: there, on the passenger seat that he had cleaned only moments ago, sat a mound of fast food cups and wrappers, and a sprinkling of French fries. Protruding from the trash heap was a lipstick-stained straw.
“What the … ,” he screamed.
Counting to 10 was the last thing on his mind. The offense transcended the marriage vows. He promptly drove to his wife’s office, unlocked her car and returned the favor ” stacking the trash in a 2-foot pyramid on the passenger seat. If only he knew that she would be giving her supervisor a ride home after work …
That night, the couple had words. During the fray, Chad threw out the book on anger management, refusing to: contort himself into the lotus position, find his “happy place,” empathize or back down. But he did take one small step. For the first time, he openly discussed his feelings.
It wasn’t pretty. It wasn’t sugarcoated. It would have sent chills down Dr. Phil’s spine. Afterward, Chad felt like a new man.
He redeemed himself over the Holidays, adorning his wife with diamond earrings.
“For putting up with me,” he said. They hugged. They kissed. As they gazed into each other’s eyes, they both felt something that words could never express.
” Everyone has a story. What’s yours? E-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org
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