You Don’t Need Rage to Be a Badass

by Bill Brenner on October 2, 2012

When I was in my teens and early 20s, I let my rage flow freely in public. I’d drop f-bombs, flip people off and deliberately cut people off in traffic. That I couldn’t control myself was only part of it. In my young and stupid mind, I thought these attributes made me cool.

Mood music:


Funny thing about having a chip on your shoulder: It obstructs the flow of sanity and common sense to the brain, resulting in you act like an asshole. This is especially true when you’re young. Being seen as a badass is a long-sought-after goal among the youth. Hell, I still go for the badass vibe, and I’m 42 years old. I just try to restrict it to the glowering in my Facebook profile pics. Other than that, I’ve found that it’s better to treat people as you want to be treated — with kindness. For me, some days are better than others in that department.

I bring this up because I see the attitude I had in my teens and 20s in a lot of 30-somethings these days. Maybe it’s the Facebook phenomenon. People tend to act out more on Facebook because they have a captive audience. There are folks who complain about everyone who’s not like them. Folks who prattle on about how shitfaced they are, about how people with religious and political beliefs different from theirs are trash, and so on.

This kind of carrying on isn’t badass. It’s just being an ass.

You want badass? Here are some real examples:

  • The mom with the special-needs child who leaves the security of a crappy job and launches her own business in the monstrous face of risk, finding a way to balance the success of that business with the needs of everyone around her, including the special-needs child.
  • The hospital nurse who wipes the puke off your face and empties your bedpan without batting an eyelash, then goes home and cleans up the bodily fluids their babies toss around.
  • The 50-something musician who never made it big but continues to play to half-empty bars because they’re happy as long as just one person gets something from it.
  • The person who got hit by two different cars over the course of a few days, sustaining serious injuries, and who started documenting not only their own recovery process but also those of others, showing the world that nothing is impossible.
  • The congresswoman who survived a gunshot to the head and became a national hero capable of attaining higher office but who chose to leave the limelight and focus on her physical and spiritual growth instead.
  • The guy who put down the bottle and pills and rebuilt his life.
  • The cancer patient who who tells you everything they’re grateful for and tells a few jokes when they could be sulking and despairing.

I could go on, but you get the point.

If you’re dissatisfied with your life and compensate by trying to be a badass through trolling, insults and braggery about how fucked up you got the night before, you’re doing it wrong.

Pretty Badass

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Dyrewulf October 2, 2012 at 9:26 am

Well said – it took me twenty years, at least, to find a good balance of ‘let it out’ vs. ‘rechannel the rage.’ Now I have a website (small) a book published (I think I’ve sold 3, maybe 4), and a good life with a good wife and more pets than a sane person could want.


Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: