Have you ever been driving along and witnessed (or been at the receiving end of) some truly bad driving? Like somebody weaving in and out of lanes without using their turn signal (which is there FOR A REASON), or following you WAY TOO CLOSE. These, my friends, are incidents that call for the Harpoon of Discontent.
What is this harpoon of which I speak? Well, it’s my imaginary defense system against all sorts of annoying behavior. In my head, I aim the harpoon at people who are violating the complex, nuanced, but deeply, deeply important codes of conduct by which society functions. Like people who suddenly pull out in front of me and then start driving reeeeeeeeally slow.
It doesn’t have to be restricted to bad driving; another example would be when the girl at the credit card company told me she could expedite my card and it would definitely get here before I left the country, and then I called back to see where in the heck it was and another person told me they don’t do that sort of thing anymore and it definitely WON’T be here in time. And she didn’t even say sorry! These, my friends, are incidents that call for The Harpoon of Discontent (though in fact this situation might be more appropriate for the Battleaxe of Dudgeon.)
I admit that I spend a lot of time in a state of mild annoyance. I’m sure this is why I fit in so well in Britain. The people of the United Kingdom have worked cheerful malcontentedness into a way of life (just ask somebody about the weather, or the state of public transportation). For the most part, though, I get the impression that a lot of people around me aren’t really aware of my internal umbrage factor. (The ones that don’t know me very well yet, anyway.) I suspect the Harpoon of Discontent helps me out here: by simply imagining that displeasing elements in the immediate environment have been pinned to the floor by a large sharp spike where they are no longer providing distress and distraction, it is easy to resist the twin traps of foul language and obscene gestures. The illusion of harmony is maintained.
Sometimes, though, an imaginary harpoon just isn’t enough. Which is why I’ve just bought a 122-decibel whistle.