Freeway Folly: The Speed of Anger

January 29, 2019

"If you are patient in one moment of anger,
you will escape a hundred days of sorrow."      

Chinese Proverb


That old adage came to my mind this morning as I sat in Waltham District Court to report on the separate arraignments of two guys who caused quite a stir on the Massachusetts Turnpike last Friday.  You very likely saw video of the crazy affair – the story and accompanying video made the news nationwide.    While a lot of aspects of the incident remain in dispute, as they often are, the facts of the case include a major argument over a minor accident, one driver climbing on the hood of another driver’s car, the other driver hitting speeds of up to 70 miles per hour as he drove three miles down the highway with his new hood ornament hanging on for dear life, and a Good Samaritan drawing a gun after finally getting that car to stop.


But among all the crazy details of this story, it was a more mundane one that jumped out at me: both participants, and the police, all agree that there was no damage to either vehicle as a result of the initial encounter between the two men that started the whole thing off.


That’s right: this confrontation that ended badly but which could have ended a whole lot worse was literally over nothing.


Anger is a lot like fire, in that the more it grows the hungrier it gets.  And many a conflagration begins with the smallest spark.  Let the freeway folly of two guys now facing big trouble, huge legal bills and national humiliation be a reminder to all of us to always be on the lookout for sparks of anger and smoldering resentments.  A little patience can go a long way to keeping us from getting consumed.

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