I could also call this post I’m a Competitive Nut-job but the idea of a Rage Monster was just too compelling.
I imagine that mine would be truly ferocious, a jumble of claws, fangs, spikes and leathery, crocodile skin. It would have the mythical creepiness of Cthulhu, the strength of a bull and the explosiveness of ACDC.
My Rage Monster is unfortunately not a reclusive creature. Even when I do manage to subdue it, it goes on a rampage inside me, tearing up my internal organs and giving me an ulcer.
Sometimes it is awakened by circumstances beyond my control, like when inconsiderate jerk drivers do inconsiderate jerk-like things such as a tailgating or merging at the last second. Other times, I only have myself to blame, because I am competitive nut-job.
A desire to win + An inability to win = UNLEASH THE HOUNDS – I MEAN RAGE MONSTER!
Case in point is a fundraising trivia night I attended last month. Right from the start, I was fixated on winning, envisioning the victorious Facebook status I would post:
Trivia night domination. We schooled these fools!
Alongside me were the smartest people I knew, with interests spanning sports, history, cooking, geography, technology, literature, movies, biology and travel. How could we go wrong?
Then the trivia night actually started.
Citizens of which city are known as Cariocas?
In 1954 at Oxford, who became the first man to run a mile in under 4 minutes?
Erik Weisz was the birth name of which famous performer?
As the night progressed, it became apparent that my Rage Monster was in its element. Trivia nights are frustrating, y’all. Frustrating when you don’t know the answers to questions, frustrating when you have a kind of inkling of what the answer is but can’t put your finger on it and frustrating when you had the right answer but went with something else.
The worst is when you are clearly the most invested player on your team. Barely able to mask your competitiveness, you are conflicted between the desire to Go Hard or Go Home and the knowledge that you should be thinking, It’s Just a Game. This internal tug-of-war – or internal combustion as it feels – only feeds your Rage Monster more. It’s like telling a really angry person to calm down. Not smart people.
In the end, after many gut-wrenching rounds, our team finished in third place, earning us a few consolatory prizes and a sworn oath that we would be avenged. We also took the time to put things in perspective. After all, we WERE one of the smallest teams, were all under the age of 30 and were 83% female. Third place was pretty darn good, really. Don’t you think?