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Breaking Things

The world is full of journal articles and talk shows dissecting the psychology behind aggressive behavior. Andy Allison just wants to talk about breaking things!

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by Andy Allison, for outsideleft.com
originally published: November, 2005
By the end of that week, we'd also trashed a dresser, his Papa San chair and a few other odds & ends.

The world is full of journal articles and talk shows dissecting the psychology behind aggressive behavior.  Fuck all that, I just want to talk about breaking things!


I've only recently rediscovered my passion for tearing things apart.  A pal of mine was getting rid of an old personal computer and said, "You know, I really just want to take a baseball bat to this."  I asked if he had one, and he said he didn't.  Oh, but he had a hammer!  So he put The Stooges' album Raw Power on the stereo and we proceeded to beat the absolute fuck out his ancient computer.  Whee!  Little chips and screws flying everywhere, man, it was quite exhilarating.


By the end of that week, we'd also trashed a dresser, his Papa San chair and a few other odds & ends.  Too much fun!  What was the emotional source of these delirious outbursts?  Was it deeply seated aggression, frustration with our work lives, or something else?  Who the fuck cares!  Sure is an enjoyable way to spend an evening.  Echoing that one miserable Limp Bizkit song's exhortation, I just say "Give me something to break!"


I think it's all about seeing the operation behind the curtain, word, just digging into the innards of objects and exploring the mechanization inside them.  No, really!  I mean, I know how a fucking dresser works, I'm not an idiot.  But watching the struts burst apart and the nails go flying, gosh, there's something indescribably methodical about it all.  It's the reversal of a great process, I say:  Assembly line to store to consumers to secondary consumers to trash.  Deconstruction and devolution, if you will.  Plus it's really cool to see a dresser explode into shards when you throw it into a dumpster!


As a teen many years ago, like other males my age, I liked to destroy things.  Teenagers are like that, all full of anger and misdirected energy.  Nowadays, I'm more into investigating inner workings.  Take the dual cassette deck I ripped apart a month ago, for example.  This machine had served me well, helping me make dozens of mix tapes for loved ones over the years.  But the motors started dying, and it was time to retire my old friend.  O, sweet cassette player, go gently into that good night.


But brace yourself, I wanted to say aloud, because I'm about to rip a motherfucker wide open!  And I did, let me tell you, holy cow.  I grabbed my toolbox and left that beloved deck in tattered shreds.  Lordy, I discovered, there are some damn nifty electrical components in modern stereo equipment!  When I was finished, I felt a whoosh of satisfaction come over me.  The journey was complete; I'd taken my cassette player back to the nothingness from whence it came.  Obviously, I kept the buttons.


Ooh, you know what's a real blast?  If you have a big, fancy recycling center in your town, the kind that accepts donations you can drop off, go there as soon as possible with a bag of glass bottles.  Few activities in life are more satisfying than breaking glass, and this is a safe and legal way to do it.  Mayonnaise bottles are especially good for this purpose.  They fit in your hand well, their shapes are aerodynamic, and they make a colossal crash when they shatter.  Boom!  Smash!  Wine bottles are a fine substitute, since their handles are ideal for flinging.  Interestingly, I first learned of this cathartic practice from my mother.  Thanks, Mom!


Wait, you were expecting a more scholarly dissertation on the element of violence?  Something about the nature of blah-blah and society's hoo-ha and contemporary movies portray a bunch of bibbity bobbity boo?  Whatever, motherfucker, shut up!  Give me that fucking thing you're holding, I don't care what it is, I'm about to break it into a million pieces, goddamn it!
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