Friday, March 27, 2009


Many of us are feeling it these days; anger over the economy, lost
jobs, AIG bonuses, and lots of other not so pretty and unfair things.

I heard a piece on NPR about a business called Sarah's Smash
Shack in San Diego. You can actually rent a "break" room, complete
with safety goggles, wires for your MP3 player and plenty of dishes
to smash, in order to vent your pent up rage!

Some actually say this kind of behavior, instead of ridding, fuels one's
anger and can even make the problem worse. Or could it actually be
a therapeutic, safe way to vent, without completely wounding the
spirit of everyone around you?

We all know that constantly livid individual, who habitually showers
their rage on everyone around them. You would think, if they rid
their system of the mean reds, as Holly Golightly calls them, they
would be a calm, happy person. But no; the more they rage, the
worse it becomes.

Being a typical Libra, I tend to tip my scales in an effort to balance
a problem, in a teeter totter kind of way. I hold it in, until my little
scales are at the breaking point. Ask my kids, they'll confirm the fact.
I'm patient...patient...calm...calm...and then...whammy! With no
warning, all hell breaks loose. But only for a minute, of course. I
don't make it a lifestyle, but I admit, my tea kettle does reach it's
boiling point every now and again. I think if there's a healthy
cathartic avenue to release anger, it's a good thing, for everyone

What do you do with your anger? Would you visit a "smash shack"
in your neighborhood, if one were available?

Anger is an acid that can do more harm
to the vessel in which it is stored
than to anything on which it is poured.
Mark Twain


  1. I dunno, smashing stuff seems over the top. The stuff didn't anything wrong.

    I think I'm more sad about it all than angry. No one expected such a melt down - and very few were prepared for one if it did occur.

    I find myself mostly thinking about how to rearrange my life and efforts to be in synch with what ever comes next.

  2. I totally agree that smashing dishes is more productive than, let's say--road rage. But like Bill, I do not feel anger, I feel immense sadness.

  3. I don't think I'd go to a smash it room, I couldn't bring myself to purposely break things, I have been known to slam a door or two though. I love that quote at the end, what a simple way to make a profound statement.

  4. I don't know that I would visit a smash shack but I have had smashing moments. In fact, one I participated in recently probably deserves a post at some time but then again it might give away some of my Pat Conroy family tendencies.

    Your evolving we page is looking wonderful these days!

  5. There is a school of thought that smashing stuff, beating a pillow, etc... can allow us to vent thereby getting our angry emotions out of our system.

    I am of the belief that these types of behavior actually do more harm than good. I have never found that the times I have raged have done much good in the long run. It feels good for a while until the endorphins fade which is what I think convinced some researcher that it helps.

    Breaking or beating on things fuels the mindset that rage is a way to get over things. This can be a dangerous road to travel.

    We will do more for ourselves to let the emotions leave in a more natural way. Emotions come and if we give them a chance, they will also fade away. How often do we look back at our actions and wonder what the fuss was all about?

    I have to hand it to this Sarah for thinking of a way to profit from the anger the world feels, especially during these troubled times. I don't agree but it is enterprising.


  6. Well now, according to Holly, when you get the mean reds, the only thing to do is jump into a cab and go to Tiffany's. Calms you down right away.

    Seriously, a smash shack seems extreme, and capitalizing on a sad situation. I don't think that's the answer. It seems more like the answer has to start with a whole new mindset in society. I'm not sure we're there yet.

  7. It seems particularly American (not in a good way) to pay for a means to vent your anger.

    Years ago when I was extremely annoyed about something (which I can't remember at all now), my husband suggested that I go outside and throw eggs at a tree. I smashed a few (satisfying,) missed a few more (annoying,) and then realized how silly, as well as wasteful of eggs, this exercise was.

    I don't like Demolition Derbies either.

  8. Joanne, yes! I think a trip to Tiffany's is in order!

  9. Hey - that isn't one of your favourite mugs is it? It looks familiar... :(

    I used to throw things... (books! eek, can you believe it!) Now I go for a long walk and pound my anger into the pavement.

  10. BPG, it's one of my Boleslawiec bowls. :( But I didn't throw it. It was accidentally dropped on the ceramic tile, by some one else...teehee...I won't name any names. No, I'm not a thrower, personally.

  11. By the way, I keep all my broken dishes. I want to do something creative with them, like a mosaic wall!

  12. Hello Willow,
    I saw a piece on the TV where in Japan a 'smashing' van drives around the city and business people can pay to do the same thing.

    Anger is known as a secondary emotion, meaning that there is always another layer of emotion hidden underneath. While the smashing may relieve pent up tension the underlying issue still needs to be addressed, whether it is hurt, fear....

  13. I don't think smashing things is something I would choose to do. Too violent somehow. And messy. A long walk by myself, or perhaps a nap in a quiet house usually does the trick for me. But then again, rage is not a feeling I am acquainted with. Especially not since Nov. 4th.

  14. No, i would not. But i do have an anger thing--but i was raised to thin that the Italian way of dealing with things --to let it all out--was in fact best rather than hold it in. i don't smash or hit things though and never cuss but , boy, i can get cross.

  15. I wouldn't visit one, but I know exactly what you mean by bottling everything and then breaking. Lately I've been feeling that BIG TIME, and I know I'm at my limit. I'm thinking about going on a vacation----alone; try to sort things out. Some days I want to call my best friends and cry, but I can't. Weird, ay? Maybe it's just me getting older and being more mature... .Who knows!

    Hope you're well!!!



  16. I keep all my broken dishes too! I'm going to make something fabulous with them as soon as I figure out what. No, I didn't break them. The kids did. I handle my anger by praying as I do housecleaning or walking at mach speed.

  17. I saw these smash rooms on the news a while back. Not really my style. It takes a lot to make me angry but I can't imagine smashing things would make be feel better.
    Venting to someone really helps!
    And I like the Tiffany's idea...or maybe a full body massage! ha-ha.

  18. I'm with the Buddhist Conservative. I've felt my share of rage, done my share of acting out, and all it ever did was make me feel angrier. I find some peace when I remember that whatever anger, even rage, I am feeling will pass, as everything passes, and that my wisest course of action is to stand back and watch it go by. The tricky part is the remembering!

  19. Well, I'm a Libra, too, Willow, (as you know,) and I had to ponder that one. If I DID smash dishes (God, and also being a Libra, a lover of beautiful things, I love dishes, so that alone would send me into a tizzy) I'd probably then have to take the damn broken pieces and make a mosaic something out of them, to assuage my guilt. I'm just sayin.' ;D

  20. I have never found it constructive to vent anger, it seems to make it grow. I think I kind of subliminate it, and then do something practical.

  21. The smash shack, eh? Seems like a wild idea, but yeah, ultimately a bit sad + wasteful. I personally can usually benefit from a long run.

    At my school we have a tradition called "Primal Scream" during dead week (the week before finals) where, every night at midnight, everyone all over school screams out the window. The whole campus (which is huge...) echoes with screams for about a minute. It can be very cathartic!

  22. Back when I worked in a Dansk Factory Outlet, we had the breakage shelf, and under that the breakage box. You put dishes, glasses, cookware, etc. that had gotten broken on the shelf, and after you had looged it on a sheet, information from which would be fed into the computer when the sheet was filled, you put the broken objects in the box. But before the box was sealed and taken to be thrown into the dumpster out back, everything had to be smashed into unusability; experience having taught that people would find chipped or cracked but still whole dinnerware, etc., and return it to the stores for a refund (yes, there really are scumbags out there in the world who operate like that). And as anyone who has ever worked in retail knows, the world of shoppers is not always one of sweet reason. So at the end of a particularly stressful day, it was a pleasure to "do the breakage box"; it really did reduce a lot of stress and tension. I wouldn't pay to do that, though; that kind of defeats the purpose.

  23. I'm a Libra too - and I usually have a calm demeanor, but from time to time need to let out some rage.

    Breaking things probably isn't the best way to deal with ones anger. My father-in-law is THEE most even keeled man on the planet. I have no idea how he stays so calm.

    I guess I should ask him his insight. Very good post.

  24. Hi there, wandered into your blog from judith's over at santa fe...and what an interesting post! I'm like you...I can take a lot and then something tips me over the edge and I'll have a short burst and it'll be gone. I wouldn't visit a smash shack unless it was to collect the china the other people had smashed and bring it home for an art I think the money would be better spent on some nice wine, yummy food and a good laugh with friends...

  25. Reacting to anger in that way is a violent act. More productive ways of overcoming angry feelings might be to exercise and release the stress in the body, or sit with paper and pen and write out your feelings. It might also be good to figure out what is behind your anger, which would be hurt, fear. When you examine the feelings it may reduce the anger. And I just yesterday wrote about the power of thoughts on one of my Blogs. Thoughts are things and have energy. What kind of energy do I choose to put out into the universe? For me, it won’t be smashing dishes.

  26. I don't like the idea of smashing things out of anger. I am the mellow pisces. I rarely get angry and even when I feel the slightest bit of anger I shrug it off in minutes. I am guilty of getting extremely sad rather than anger. I usually go for a stroll and come back happier.

  27. Actually, I rather like the idea, providing the smashed junk gets recycled into some fabulous mosaics. In with the bad, out with something new. I can imagine artists lining up at the back door carting the stuff away.

    There's nothing wrong with anger as long as it's a temporary state of mind and nobody gets hurt. I can remember stabbing an eternally clogged rapidiograph pen into my desktop. Felt good. Hated that pen.

  28. How interesting!! Sounds like a great way to blow off steam. I'm a libra too... and I must say, yelling about what's bothering me is a great release. (not always ladylike, tho) But, I'd do the smashing too... mostly 'cos of the broken china. I'd love to use it all for mosaic! :)

  29. Oops! I thought those shards looked familiar. I save broken china too. I once saw a beautiful table top made from "decoupage" bits and pieces and it looked absolutely exquisite.

    I tend to get very quiet when I am truly angry. In my older years I try to acknowledge the hurt, and then move on... I am sometimes more successful than others :)

  30. I don't know about a smash shack but if there were a pie throwing shack...

  31. I tend to bottle it up. And then one day the bottle is full and it explodes. Then we go back to the filling business...

  32. Willow,
    Anger is like pepper; a little goes a long way.
    Love is like sugar; can't get enough of it.

  33. Well, surely your first paragrapph was the equivalent of the smack shack for you, dear. My, oh my! I would never like to be at the receiving end of your anger. And I think that your outburst was mild ;-)!

    But completely justified.

    I, too, seethed with rage when I heard that AIG was still going to pay hefty bonuses to its executives. The shame of it!

    Me, when I am feeling really angry, about to snap, put on my running shoes and do my ten-mile circuit. In fact, I do it twice a week and it works wonders. After that, a lot of stretching where I incorporate yoga and Pilates exercises and presto! My anger is gone!

    Many thanks for such a... a... a... passionate post :-)

    Greetings from London.

  34. Hello Willow,

    If I get angry I often want to SHOUT! But I can also be quite menacing if I stay quiet! Throwing one item might be OK but I don't think I would want/need a big pile.

  35. They have shown that story a few times out here. The reporters who do the story have seemed to really have fun doing it. I am not always sure if the people are doing it out of anger or just doing it to be part of something. I know that after I have done or said things out of anger, that I feel worse. I try to just move on and take a 'whatever' attitude about things. Although hubby tries to push my buttons sometimes, I try to ignore him. It does not always work, but I am thankful when it does. Anger is such a wasted emotion.

    God bless.

    PS...they do donate the broken dishes to the local artists in the area, so it is not a total waste. The artists say they love it cause they are basically getting free art supplies.

  36. I'm a bit like you-- I have a pretty long fuse, but it does blow sometimes. I had more of a problem with it when younger-- less so now. It seems to me that the "break room" idea would just sort of "water" the rage....

  37. my mum used to keep chipped china in a special cupboard and then when she felt full of angst she would go and smash it in the garden - think of all that clearing up though.

  38. Smashing things that aren't broken already seems a bit depressing.
    If the angry person was near a beach he/she could build a large castle and pelt it with stones and no harm done.
    I think everyone has had the impulse to spoil something when really angry but should probably try to stifle their impulses........
    I just cry when really angry!!!

  39. Ha! No smash shack for me. I cant' believe someone actually opened one....

  40. I knew a woman who was suffering anger and who did this. She got dishes from thrift stores and smashed them in her garage. Once or twice in my life I felt anger and I took a teapot or something and smashed it. Not a whole bunch of things though. And that was years ago before I studied yoga/mediation etc. I think there are better ways to handle ones anger, one being reframing the issue you are angry about. Of course there are always those times when, as you describe, the kettle is just to boil and out comes the steam. anger can hurt others, angry words, angry voice tones. Anger can also be a fuel to make changes in our lives and/or a fuel to be creative and paint or write something.

  41. a little addendum to breaking things that the Dansk comment brought to mind. In college I was in the theatre and built sets, acted, did costumes and lights, everything. One of the funnest things was taking the set apart when the play was finished. ripping and tearing and destroying the illusion that had been created just weeks before. I found this somehow quite satisfying and was one of the few in the theatre group who volunteered to do it. Hmmm, wonder what that means about me? I too am a Libra by the by.

  42. nah..wouldn't do the smash shack. but i have been known to throw things.. yeah, that doesn't usually end well. for some reason it seems to almost always be the tv remote! lol i am also a libra... and you and i seemed to handle our frustrations similarly. i take it.. and take it... until i finally lose it! if only for a few seconds..


  43. Had to figures that kind of business would pop up in my hometown. I agree that it's enterprising and that's one of the things I miss most about living in a big city...the feeling of endless opportunity, the energy that's generated by so many people.

    But energy isn't always of a positive nature. I have to agree with many others that I would not choose to participate in such a venting exercise. I have done lots of different types of exploration with how to deal with emotions constructivey, and I must say that I'm firmly in the Law of Attraction camp. Venting in such a way for me has had only a very short term release and does nothing to change the situation or make me feel better about it long term.

    Better, it seems to me, to find a constructive way of dealing with life's stressors...exercise, for one.

    I do wonder, though, what do they do with the broken dishes??? Seems like a great opportunity for a mosaic artist....

  44. hmmm...i let it all out at once...but as i get older i try to count to 10, take deep breaths and not react as quickly as i might have done in my early's good--it gives time for compassion to seep in...(wow--i sound pretty buddhistic...)

  45. Hi Willow,

    It is necessary sometimes to storm out so everything clears and then you make a fresh start.It's good you can balance it for a while.Me I try but I have a bad temper,the mediterranean blood thingy too I guess,hot blood,lol.I don't smash things but I throw things on people,lol..not dangerous things though.But to talk freely,when I have a fight with my boyfriend,I try to let go that anger somewhere,you

  46. Since learning stress causes me to have hives/welts/itching I have tried to not let things make me crazy ... but its not working ... I had a very stressful weekend and Monday .. Tuesday I had a root canal 're-done' ..dont get me started on what I would like to do to the inept dentist who did the original root canal ... but I thought I handled the day well .. clearly my body didnt think so .. I have been hived and itching since waking on Weds. So maybe that breaking china idea is a good thing ... or maybe a Xanax would be faster

  47. I haven't had a headache in decades and I haven't been angry that long too. I get the feeling the two are related.

  48. I agree! Long term anger can make a person physcially ill.

  49. While on a visit to Greece one time, a colleague of my bf at the time, told us about just such a smash shop. It was full of pure white dishes, you paid a small fee and were encouraged to smash them all against a brick wall. I was intimadated at first, but then I realized that everyone there was having the time of their life. No one was smashing dishes in anger, they were smashing in fun, so I joined in and smashed quite a pile myself, laughing all the time. So I think it comes down to WHY you go to a smash shop.

    Having said that, I've never been a smasher of anything in my own home, especially in anger, because guess who is going to have to clean it up?

  50. You know this was a very appropriate post today. I have had quite the morning and it was very insightful to read your post.


    I would love a smash shack! But I think it would do more harm than good. :)

  51. Every day, I read that you're drinking tea out of that Bolieslawic (sp?) mug and when I opened the post, I gasped! OMG! I thought you had broken your favourite.
    I was relieved to read that I was mistaken.
    I am heartbroken if I break a piece of pottery or china. (You know, if you ever DO happen to break it - God forbid, but if you do, keep the pieces and use them in a mosaic to line a birdbath.)

    As for my anger, I'm afraid, being the product of two Arians rubbed off on me and not even my Cancerian on the Gemini cusp can save me or anyone in my path. The Irish/Welsh/French rears up and well--think of The Wizard of Oz before he is exposed and you get somewhat of an approximation). What? Meek little me? Don't say I didn't warn you.


  52. For the longest time, smashing stuff was a great release. Especially as it is the inanimate object that frustrates me more than anything. Now i tend to verbalize or write about it. You have to get it out someway or it will just boil over.

  53. Whether you feel anger, sadness or some other emotion depends, I suppose, on where your focus is. I feel anger when I think of the greedy ones who made it all possible, but sadness when I think of the next few generations, for example.

  54. I don't think smashing things would work for me...too controlled, too setup.
    The current times hurts me more than it produces disappointing and so much to clean-up and make right again.
    Personally, I have been known to have a harsh tongue but as I get older it doesn't have the appeal to lash out...I still speak my mind but not with the wild fire of words.

  55. I'm a Libra too, and I find more release in resolving an issue than by throwing a fit. Smashing things doesn't appeal to me at all -- it doesn't solve anything. I've never been violent; I'd much rather find a solution. Smashing things seems immature and counter-productive.

  56. I'm a Libra too, I'd better not to express my opinion about smash shacks or the people who needs them... :-)

  57. Anger is a reality. There are some days that you just feel angry and indignant. For me talking lomng walks helps. But there are times when I just explode. I'm also a Libra and try to maintain balance and harmony. But when I detect injustice I tend to go ballistic. With the years I try to control myself and choose my own battles so to speak. The best thing anger does for me is to wake me up and take action about a particular situation. It is a blessing in disguise. Very well disguised, I must add.

  58. The pisces that I am seeks water to let the steam out. When something goes wrong, and I remember doing this even as a kid, I put my hands. Nowadays, I even go for a good shower or a good walk without a set destination. As I shower, I can feel all the bad stuff being washed away and as I walk in nature, I can feel the weight in the heart being replaced by the lightness of this feeling of being alive and capable.
    Does that make sense?

  59. Isabel, yes it makes total sense. Water is very therapeutic, but for me it is especially air! A glorious fresh cool breeze in my face and hair can blow away all the nasties.

  60. I'm familiar with your Libran scale, Willow. My scale seems to follow the same sort of arc. Those little (or big) explosions of frustration used to be a bigger problem than they are now. I used to throw things though...I was a mechanic and I threw a lot of tools. It usually just made me more angry. Now I run. I'm not a runner and I hate running...really...but it's the only thing that exhausts my anger when it happens.

    As for this EC, I'm actually taken with Bill and Yoli's claim of great sadness. I suppose I have a unique perspective on the whole thing. There are many things wrong with the corporate, industrial, social, and regional structures of the country. No one seems to know how to fix any of it, definitively. The monster of complexity has made everything like pulling teeth and government appears to be going the way of the military...slow death by bureaucratic inefficiency.

    Human beings generally view decimation in a negative light because of the inherent change and pain involved. Before we build a brand new building to replace the old one, we're smart enough to tear down the old one first but no one's brave enough to do that with systems or social structures any more.

    It is sad what's happening...and I'm actually relieved to hear someone say that. I suppose I think it's necessary though in order for better and brighter things to come along. It seems natural laws apply to social cycles as well. But that's another story...

  61. I'm not thinking I'd visit the smashing place. Mark Twain is very right here. I don't get angry like that very much.

  62. Good question Wills,
    I've learned to handle my anger more effectively. It takes self-reflection, practice, and more practice.

  63. I heard of that smashing place quite sometime ago....wasn't sure if it was going to make it long term or not....guess it was a good idea!

    My concern is that your broken piece on your post is Boleslaweic!!!!!!! What happened?

    As for anger, I am just like you...but I am a Leo. Patient, patient, calm, calm..... and then WHAMMY!!! It happens about twice a year....maybe once. But Whammy it is and it lasts on and off for about half an hour. I have a great memory of all the things I kept patient about. :)

    Really appreciate Mark Twains words. Beautifully said.

  64. Yes, by all means we must guard against doing anything to cause someone to lose their self esteem, or to be threatened by our behavior. I personally get great relief by waiting in the grocery store parking lot until someone leaves a buggy behind an adjacent car because they are too lazy to walk 10 feet to place it in the corral. I then take the cart and wait until they back out. When they have entered the exit lane, I charge them with the empty cart. The amount of relief I get is proportionate to the amount of damage I'm able to inflict on their car. Just kidding. Pappy

  65. I'm a slow boil, but when I get hot I blow up. People never forget or let me forget it if they've ever been there when I reach my boiling point.

    The thought that I will have to clean it up has kept me from smashing anything before. But, I've sure slammed some doors.

  66. Hi there!

    We have our own version of smashing things here in our country when somebody's angry. People go to this place where they can smash plates, just throwing them in the wall while cussing!

    I'm like you, I don't stay very mad for an hour. Usually just goes under half an hour. I forget things easily.

    Much Love,

  67. I have slammed a few doors but the best way to calm down for me is quiet time alone carving. Thinking about it.... I am not often enraged and I don't think I've ever thrown a plate though the thought has crossed my mind.

  68. I would have to go a long way to find a smash shack here - probably easy to have a smash attack in my own shack! Have a wonderful weekend - what are you cooking? Love your recipes, xv.

  69. yeah... not sure if I would smash something... but I agree the anger (if any) should go somewhere. but would be great if it could be put in something productive rather than destructive. I really love the quote, a beautiful way of commenting about it.

  70. i can't stand the idea of all the dishes being destroyed even if they are extremely cheap or cast-offs. i pretty much abhor violence -- avoid it in movies and television and also in my every day life. so, no i would not visit the smash shack. and i do believe that violence begets violence.i would think a long walk on the beach would be much more therapeutic.

  71. No, I wouldn't visit a smash shack. I've never known an anger that wasn't abated by time spent mucking stalls and pulling briars from my horse's tail.

  72. oh dear...this new business sounds a bit extreme to me..
    i actually smashed one plate last year and i'm glad it happened only once in many years!
    otherwise when i'm angry, i just explode verbally and then feel really good.

    Have a wonderful....peaceful sunday !!

  73. Somehow that Anger Smash takes all the spontaneity out of ... ahem ... *giggle*

    I once actually contemplated of throwing a stack of plates onto the floor, but then I relented, walked over to the kitchen counter and let all six of them plates fall into the kitchen sink. From a height of about three feet. Wonderfully liberating. And very little cleanup! ;-)

  74. Willow - that Twain quote says it all. I tend to bottle it up, and I know that's not good.

    The thing about this story that really cracks me up is the entrepeneurial angle. Americans will make a business venture out of just about anything!

  75. i am not so sure about the ' smash shack'.

    i am always concerned anytime several ANGRY PEOPLE ORGANIZE (like all showing up at the 'smash shack'or anywhere else).

    in this economy, i am sure sarah will have customers.
    angry people who are not afraid of 'organized angry people' will definately show up.

    i'll stay home.
    and break my own dishes, like i did just last night ( by accident )


Inject a few raisins of conversation into the tasteless dough of existence.
― O. Henry (and me)