All the rage

Spring is in the air, and a young man's thoughts turn to rage.

With the arrival of warm weather, cities are plagued by a blossoming of orange barrels and blinking sawhorses as all streets are demolished and rebuilt. Everywhere you turn, signs say, "Seek Alternate Route" until you end up back where you started. Motorists spend all day sitting in hot vehicles stalled in traffic, becoming edgier and more aggressive until words or fender paint are exchanged. Some short-fuse guy starts screaming and swinging or, worse, shooting a gun.

Suddenly, detours are the least of the problem.

Road rage has gotten a lot of media attention in the past few years, and airline rage is becoming more common all the time. But many other forms of rage exist in our hectic world. These rage phenomena have been overlooked by the press and the government, but they represent a ticking bomb that could detonate any second into senseless violence and random bad vibes.

Rage can happen anywhere, anytime, but you can protect yourself by becoming familiar with the symptoms of impending furor and by avoiding places where rage likely will erupt. Post offices, for instance.

Here, then, are some types of rage to watch out for:

--Home Improvement Store Rage: A man who's making his fourth trip of the day to a hardware store is only one metric-sized nut away from true rage. These guys roam the warehouse aisles, holding a broken part, grumbling to themselves while desperately searching for the correct replacement. And nothing fits. They can't remember what the other thing was they were supposed to buy. And they have to keep dodging those beeping forklifts. Next thing you know, our aspiring Bob Vila has become Attila the Hun.

This form of rage is particularly dangerous because there are so many blunt instruments and lethal gizmos at hardware superstores. Think nail guns.

--Package Rage: This form usually occurs within the home and, fortunately, causes only brief outbursts. It's triggered when a person tries to open a box of cereal or other packaged good and finds the words "Open Other End." For the thousandth time.

--Jogger's Rage: Rarely makes the news because joggers usually are armed with nothing more dangerous than underwear and $200 sneakers. But, trust me, they're really angry. Joggers often are set off by more sensible people who are driving cars in air-conditioned comfort. Various road hazards also cause this rage. See: "Curb Your Dog Rage."

--Personal Computer Rage: There's a reason it's called a computer "crash."

--Gardening Rage: Often triggered by defenseless animals such as gophers and rabbits, this rage can be particularly dangerous to the gardener himself and to anyone sipping beer nearby, particularly if said gardener happens to be holding a rake at the time.

--Plumbing Rage: From the slow torture of drip, drip, drip to the barked knuckles to the eventual flood damage, plumbing is rife with potential rage. Every fitting has to be tight enough that not a molecule of water can escape. But not too tight or it won't work. This form of rage often manifests itself in anti-social behavior such as cursing and "plumber's cleavage."

--Lawn Sprinkler Rage: See "Plumbing Rage."

--Rave Rage: Most prevalent in fathers whose daughters stay out dancing until 4 a.m. Highly explosive.

--Phone Rage: A particularly virulent form of rage with a variety of triggers: telemarketers, poor reception, midnight wrong-number calls from mysterious guys named Guido. Cellular phones have introduced a whole new format -- phone rage mixed with the ever-popular road rage. Call for our new safety brochure: "Hang up and Drive, You Idiot."

--Age Rage: The feeling, every time you look in the mirror, that you want to spit. Sometimes results in bizarre behavior such as radical plastic surgery and the purchase of sports cars.

--Rage Against the Darkness and the Light: For people who are angry all the time.

Now that you're more informed about rage, take the proper steps to shield yourself from it. Forewarned is forearmed. Get forewarned enough, you'll have arms like Popeye.

Just kidding. I didn't mean you look like Popeye. Did not. Aw, come on. Gee, you don't have to get mad about it. Hey, put down that rake . . .

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