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Have you ever been fired-up mad over something or someone?

I mean to the point when you’re mad — really mad — and you feel like your heart is going to pound right through your chest, or your feet are pacing back and forth and you’re about to wear a path in the floor.

I can think of more than a few things that have made me that mad — even within the past week.

My dog Cleo, for instance, got sprayed by a skunk and this isn’t the first time. You’d think she’d know better by now, but she doesn’t. Whenever I try to do anything with her, some of the scent rubs off onto my hands, and I fear it will never leave her entirely.

She smells the very worst on wet, rainy days, and have we ever had our share of those!

Doom and gloom

Every weekend or evening that I want to get some work done at my home in Wooster, Ohio, it rains. When I want to cut firewood, it rains, and when I want to go for a walk, it rains.

My losses pale in comparison to those of you who crop farm, and are losing valuable planting and tillage time each day.

But they still matter to me. And it isn’t just the weather.

On Tuesday, when I received an email about the embargoed animal rights video not to be released until the next day, I about had a fit.

“Here we go again,” I thought. Another smear attack against livestock farming by a group of people who don’t believe in eating meat or drinking milk in the first place.

And they wanted the reporters and others to keep mum about it, until the activists were able to setup for their staged press appearances and push their film and vegan-call across the nation.

Were the actions on film wrong? You bet they were. Is that how livestock farming is? Not at all.

No more taxes

On Wednesday, I opened a letter that said I owe several hundred dollars more for my property taxes, per half, because my mortgage lender miscalculated how much they would be.

I muttered more than a few choice words — raspberry ripple, fudge, Cracker Jack and even some others. Especially when I realized how it happened — the banker based my property tax escrow on what the previous homeowner paid, who was an older man who qualified for the homestead tax exemption.

While I have done some aging, especially from matters like this, I think at 27 my lender should see a big difference in me and someone who is 65 and qualifies for an exemption.

Managing anger

There’s a lot of things people can do to manage their frustration. And there’s a lot of advice out there for anger management.

I think some of it is kind of cheesy, and I don’t get angry that often, but when I do, I find the best thing is to get away. To put down whatever I’m doing — for a while — and do something else.

If you’ve ever worked on a tractor or a piece of farm machinery, you can relate. When a rusted up nut or a bolt isn’t cooperating, you spray it with WD-40 and walk away for a while — maybe even a few hours.

And when you go back — if you’re lucky — the bolt frees up with ease.

Have patience

If you’re working with cattle that won’t move — trying to load them onto a trailer or move them to a new pen — you sometimes just have to give them a little rest, and yourself the same.

I’ve helped load steers onto livestock trailers that just did not want to move. And I’d push, and push, and yell at them, and twist their tails.

But if I just calmed down and gave them a few minutes, so they could see inside the trailer or over into the next pen, they often adjusted and hopped right in.

I don’t know a farmer out there who doesn’t lose his temper from time to time — some more than others. But so often, it seems like a lot can be averted by just stepping away — even if it’s enough time to collect your thoughts.

What do you think? How do you handle your anger, or do you just never get that way?

Chris Kick lives in Wooster, Ohio. An American FFA Degree recipient, he holds a bachelor’s in creative writing from Ashland University. He spends his free time on his grandparents’ farms in Wayne and Holmes counties.
Chris Kick
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