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A Trekkies' Guide to Road Rage (Jerome A. Holst © 2001)

Al Holst, Owner of TV ACRES

Outside, the brisk air of autumn pummeled and tossed a litter of golden leaves. Inside, I looked up at the office clock and I realized that it was five O' was Friday...and I was on my way to a lovely weekend. But first, I had to get home.

Scampering down two flights of stairs, I entered into the evening and found my way to a brand new Porsche 911 Carrera Coupé (Hey, its my story). Turning the key, the engine roared and I zoomed off down the highway. All was well until an idiot in another car appeared, cut me off, and forced me to swerve quickly to the right.

Now, in the past, an altercation like this would have made me very, very mad. But this time, instead of getting angry, I took a deep breath, looked at the world through rose-colored glasses and just "Spocked It" That's right I said "Spocked It" like the guy from the Star Trek show.

You see, that situation in the car wasn't the first time I've encountered an "idiot" on the roadway. Previously, when I encountered such a person I would have scanned my memory banks for all sorts of learned insults and defiant cries. I would have let my blood pressure rise to a dangerous level as I shouted obscenities out the window and I would have plotted plans to destroy the idiot in front of me. Yes, I'd follow him home and make the bastard nervous. Make him wonder who the crazy guy is following behind. I'd blow my horn and wake up the neighborhood to make sure the idiot knew he's was the focus of my ire. And I'd flip him the bird and let him and the rest of the viewing public know I was pissed.

But that was the old me, but not any more, I've learned my lesson. I have taken the road to relaxation and restraint. I have chosen to be a Vulcan for the moment. To control my rage and do the "Logical" thing. I've come to the conclusion that an idiot is an idiot is an idiot. And all the frustration and wasted fury I channel at "said" idiot won't do a thing to educate him. He's an idiot and probably will always be an idiot.

And how did I come to this realization? Well, one night as I returned home after encountering one such idiot on the road, I turned on the TV to relax and happened upon the SCI-FI channel and an episode of Star Trek. It was the episode called "Amok Time" where Mr. Spock has to go through a recurring seven-year mating madness called "Pon farr" (blood fever).

As I looked at Mr. Spock with his tortured facial expressions, I saw myself just a few hours earlier...out of control, focused on mayhem and basically exhibiting all the attributes of a crazed killer.

Looking at the reflection of myself in the TV screen, I realized that sometimes in life you just lose it. And, that, the end result of your anger has consequences.

In Spock's case, he killed his Captain and had to face the Federation and take his punishment. (Spock really didn't kill Kirk, he just thought he did). Any way, seeing the error of my ways, I was left with a mission to control my anger. To be like Mr. Spock and evaluate the next road rage situation with "Logic" and "Self Control."

Now, I admit that Spock lost it in "Amok Time," but for those intervening seven years of his adult life he was in control. And, so I, too, would learn to be aware of the bigger picture. Learn not to close off my mind to the dark side and leave it open to receive the merits of reason. To be a disciple of the Seven (as in years).

So, how do I react to an idiot now? I certainly don't choose the arsenal that is available to the road rager. Instead of saying "Hey, did you see that idiot. Did you see what he just did, Why I oughta..." I just take a deep breath, exhale, maneuver my car properly to avoid any trouble and remember there are no real problems in the outside world but rather just our inability to control our inner self. If we control our inner world, we can cope with the outside world and all its stimulus.

So the next time, your anger tries to get the best of you, remember to do the logical thing and "Just Spock It."

P.S. If you do begin to loose your cool, try these substitutes. Instead of thrusting your middle finger at the idiot, mold those angry digits into a Vulcan "V" greeting. Or if you feel something unkind coming out of you mouth then redirect those vocal cords from saying "You A**hole!" to "Live Long and Prosper" (you idiot). At least give it a try.

Captain's Log addendum: I am aware of the debate over whether to call a Star Trek enthusiast a "Trekkie" or the later term "Trekker." I chose "Trekkie" because I was there when the show first aired on TV in the sixties and I followed the show's success through the latest installment "Enterprise." So it is with great honor that I call myself a "Trekkie" although I do not go to sci-fi conventions dressed in Star Trek uniforms.

NOTE: This article may be linked for distribution to other Internet publications with the agreement that you credit the article to the author, Jerome A. Holst and mention its URL


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