Well, that’s just splendiferous

Each of us has a monster down deep inside.

It’s made of fangs, talons and shadow, and it glories in blood, fire and pain.

It’s been part of us since before we climbed down out of the trees, wrapped around our hind brains; it is there today, and it will be there as long as humans are human.

It is, after all, one of those things that makes humans, human.

Some will argue that it is our intelligence that makes us human. Well, no doubt. Other will point out opposable thumbs, and they probably have a point.

However, Gentle Reader, I put it to you that the ability to take a bit of rock, a stick and some vine, and see what it may become in our minds is no more important than that monster lurking in our bones and blood.

Yes, to take those items and turn them into a spear is important — but what use is the spear without being able to walk up and stick it into the cave bear, or lion, or raiding Neandertal, or any of the thousands upon thousands of other bogeymen waiting to make early H. Sapiens into a brief diorama in some other species Museum of Natural History?

Opposable thumbs enable us — as a species — to write sonnets, turn gears, build wondrous structures, sow, weave, paint and everything else that makes us … Us.

Before that, though, the monsters that live inside of us used those thumbs to pick up stone axes, walk into caves and Put Out The Cat so that our mates and our progeny could not only live, but thrive without becoming Kitty Kibbles.

It’s there. That monster is in good people, bad people, smart people, stupid people, big people, little people, brave ones and cowards. If you are human, it’s there.

Part of walking the warrior path involves reaching inside, grabbing your monster and hauling it out to take a good, hard look at it; because denial doesn’t make your monster go away. Denial only ensures that if your monster ever does try to slip its chain, you’ll not know what to do about it, or even what it is.

That’s the thing: those people who swear they don’t have a monster — when theirs gets loose, they don’t have a clue. Their monster runs them — and that’s a recipe for an unpleasantness.

Man should always control his monster. It’s when the monster control man that things get nasty. And you can’t control your monster with denial or ignorance.

You can’t control your monster unless you know it. Unless you know what it looks like, what it feels like, what it feeds off of … and what it can do.

I once engaged in a debate with a young lass who swore that my assertions regarding the monster that lives in each of us were totally mistaken. Not everyone, said she, had a monster. Surely I didn’t think that she had a monster.

In response I asked if she had a child, or if there was a young child in her immediate family? There, indeed, was. A niece, of whom she was very fond. I then asked her to engage in a creative articulation with me. I asked her to imagine that she and her niece were in a room, and that the room was empty of everything except one other person.

She said that she could, and then I told her that the other person was Jeffrey Dahmer.

There was a long pause, and then she stated that she’d obviously call the police. I responded that Jeffrey Dahmer was bigger than she was, stronger, faster — and, of course, a serial killer.

I asked her how much she cared for the niece, then I mentioned that there was a hammer in the room, and asked her to think honestly about her response.

She looked at me for a long time, then I said: “Hey, look. Monster.”

When she told me to go to hell, I figured that I had gotten my point across.


Today, we had a young man come to jail for burglary. Not only is he a long-term substance abuser, but he has almost mechanically-perfect scars up the inside of both forearms from wrist to elbow.

I spoke to him gently — he was obviously still under the effect of whatever the current recreational pharmaceutical du jour is, but was coherent enough to assure me that he had thrown away any blade that he kept around for the purpose of cutting himself. He told me several times that he wasn’t stupid enough to keep a weapon about his person while committing a burglary, and seemed somewhat aggrieved that I would ask him such a thing.

When the razor blade used by a self-mutilating, substance-abusing critter to carve multiple dozens of lacerations into the flesh of both his forearms slid through my nitrile glove and several millimetres into my right index finger I knew exactly what that electric burn meant.

My monster roared up out of my hind brain, fueled by such things as “HIV”, “Hepatitis”, “LIAR”, and for a brief instant my monster filled my mind with visions of rage and blood, of crushing fury and punishing pain.

Only for that briefest of instants, though.

I ordered the critter not to move, informed the other officers that I’d been injured by a blade in his pocket, waited until they had secured the blade and walked to the nurse’s station, blood dripping off my finger every step of the way.

Later, the arresting officer sought me out to apologise for missing the razor blade in the critter’s pocket during his frisk, and stated, “Man, I don’t know how you did it. If that would have been me stuck by that nasty razor, I would have smashed him!”

Kid, I’m a man. I control my monster — always. My monster doesn’t control me — ever. Period. Full stop. End of story.

And that’s something you might just want to think long and hard about.


A simple question
Somebody alert Tallahassee from Zombieland.

79 thoughts on “Well, that’s just splendiferous”

  1. I got a good look at my monster long, long ago. The person I was talking with at the time must have got a glimpse too, as he turned and ran.

    We've since had a long discussion, monster and I. It's a very tight leash indeed.

  2. Beautiful…and a wonderful demonstration of a clear, concise thought process. The monster you speak of is always present and it takes self awareness to know how to control it.

  3. Oh, yes. The monster and I are more than nodding acquaintances, as you and I have discussed on several occasions.

    BTW, hope you don't suffer any complications from the cut. BTDT, and – after treatment – had long and earnest discussions with the critters who carried them.

  4. So, true. So, very true. Too many people live in the dream world inhabited by people such as the lady you describe. Chances are, they have seen their inner monster, and; instead of facing it and bringing it into submission, they deny its existence in the vain hopes that it will go away.

  5. 1. You are fortunate to have learned to control your temper.
    2. Lack of that control, has, in the narrowest sense, saved my life on several occasions, in my previous profession.
    3. OTOH, it has cost me numerous opportunities, virtually every friendship I ever had and added its destructive effects to many situations.
    4. I'm sure there is a useful compromise: you seem to have found one.
    5. Never did and live in fear of it reappearing -especially in this new era with its much tighter social and legal controls.
    6. Good exemplar.
    V/R JWest

  6. I remain amazed by how many other women think that they, by virtue of two X chromosomes, do not carry that monster. I know that I do. It is an ugly monster, and as Carteach says, it is on a tight leash.


  7. Knowing and embracing that monster has saved my butt more than once. So far, no one has been so stupid or drug addled as to ignore the bared teeth that monster can show. The malcontents have been able to see that the monster is more than willing if unleashed and have managed to change the course of their actions to avoid the unleashing.

  8. Well said, Dawg. I sure hope you will not suffer any ill effects of the cut.


  9. Excellent post. Thank you for posting that, and I hope you dodge a bullet on any possible infections from that blade.

  10. Now THAT is the the kind of writting that keeps me checking this blog every day. Pure truth, factual stuff written in such a way as to make you laugh at life's little gotchas here in the land of Obsurdistan, and seriously ponder the important shit any competant individual must deal with in LIFE. Seriously, Dawg, consider scribbling a book. I'll buy it….hell, publish it on-line. Still will buy it.

  11. My monster had a few years to run on a long leash. It takes a while to retame them once they get a taste for running around. I've gotten him back in his cage but I know what he looks like, what he can do, and most importantly that he exists.

  12. Amen.

    Also "Amen" to Little Red 1. Women tend not to recognize our Monsters as monsters, because we are kept safe from most of the consequences of unleashing our Monsters. Men tend to learn early on that the Monster is a force to be reckoned with, one way or another.

  13. I've known of my own monster,since I was young. I keep it well masked, but it is there.

    Side question – LawDog do you attend any Con's during the year?

  14. Very thoughtfully written.

    I have been described as aristocratic, ladylike, mousy, quiet, and sweet. Cruelty is my antithesis. But, I know the monster of whom you speak.

    I hope you do not suffer any ill effects from the cut.

  15. I had mine under control for a long time. However, I was in a coma for a week or so recently and whatever was going on in my brain had 'evil' ones' after my daughter. My monster ripped out the main line, and stood up after 7 surgeries on my leg. I also fell on my face and tried to crawl out of the ICU room.

    Sometimes the monsters change when life changes around you.

  16. Eeeeesh, Lawdog…

    Glad you're (mostly) OK after that. Methinks it's about time for officers to review their arrestee search procedures.

    One of my favorite writers on the web does not need any more scars!

  17. Shortly after the neodymium magnets came out I was talking to a friend, Deputy in the southwesternmost US county, about the way ladies of the night around there carried razor blades secreted about their person, or, in their hair. We rigged up a magnet on a stick to aid in the search for such.

    My first encounter with my monster came about as I wrestled with a fellow who wanted to shoot me with his rifle. He did manage to get one shot off, but my hand was on the muzzle of the gun, so the round went upward, after passing through the meaty part of my hand. Having been raised as a Quaker, the monster surprized me when he appeared, but I was very thankful he woke up.

    Wishes and prayers for your continued health, Sir. – Pops

  18. I've been reading for a short time…my brother sent me to your "firing line" stories.

    I'm a little barely over five foot, generally considered sweet and mild mannered girl. I do not doubt that I have a "monster," though there has never been an occasion of it's dominance.

    However, I disagree as to the monster being the defining feature of humanity. Man was created in the image of God. That is the defining feature. Man fell, and now every human has a sin nature–a monster–as well.

    But then, based on my theology, I have to disagree on that monster as well. Not all rage is monster. There is a righteous anger. It comes to the defense of right, justice, and others. In fallen man, this righteous rage will always be tainted by the monster.

    To borrow Grossman's terminology, there is a difference between the sheepdog and the wolf, though they both use violence.

    May you find freedom from the fallen monster,
    Anonymous because of monsters,

    Postscript: I recommend finding an ARBCA church for sorting out the theological details if you are curious. I believe there are a few in TX.

  19. Funny how this post came the morning after I had a long, quiet conversation with a dear friend about our respective Monsters.

    I differ with Little Red 1 on one thing, though: it's not that women think they don't have a Monster simply by virtue of having 2 X chromosomes; rather, most females in America are carefully and thoroughly taught from childhood that we don't have a Monster. I know that I was, and when I came face-to face with it the first time, in my early 30's, it took me several weeks to get it to go back in its cave.

    But now I know its face, and I know its name, and I know what I will be turning loose if I ever choose to open the door I installed on that cave.

  20. "If captured, don't let them give you to the Women" Yah, Women got monsters.

  21. I've referred to mine as a Dragon, rather than a monster. Either works, as both a difficult to control.

    Excellent post. As usual.


  22. To DM I'd say that Jesus was pretty tapped in to his monster when he threw the money changers out of the temple. I'll bet he was knee-wobblingly fierce. God was pretty fierce in the Old Testament, too, so I think he's got a megamonster of his own on tap, too.

    The important thing about LawDog's monster is that he keeps it in reserve, and is its master, and that way he can trot the bad mofo out when it is called for. Bad guys are always ready to go there. The sheepdogs among us (may they ever be blessed) need to be as ready, willing and able to choose their moment to channel that energy in an appropriate direction. Between my Dad, Himself and Charles Bronson, I'd say the scariest monsters are the righteous ones. Again: may they be ever blessed.

  23. "A gentleman always controls his temper. Sometimes, he may find it necessary to choose to let it run free, and live with the consequences."

    One wishes there were more gentlemen about, observing the the emotional incontinence so often on display in today's world.

  24. Got a good look at mine while still in my teens. Scared the crap out of with what I almost managed to do. There have been a few times when I was very glad that I had him on a leash and let it out a bit.As Carteach said the other person saw it and decided that discretion was the better part of valor. My wife is one of the kindest gentlest people I know but threaten her family and she will end you. Best wishes with the cut healing without complication.

  25. My monster is mine, as in being in my possession, and my control. I bring it out if I need it, and it comes out only then. It is a great power I have, in my monster. I don't deny what it is, or that I have it. I do know how to use it, but it never gets to use me. I have seen others see my monster, and their reactions. Their fear has been profound, and with good reason, though not necessarily justification.

  26. Lawdog, I'd like to add my best wishes and hope for no complications from the cut to those already posted.
    I'm female and have known my monster since I was kid and known the necessity of controlling it. To be honest, it can be very scary. Anyone who thinks that they don't have a monster within do not know themselves (I've seen too much to believe otherwise).
    Great to see a new post.

  27. My monster came out to play about fifteen years ago.I have since been able to keep him under control

  28. Good post, and yes they DO exist in all of us… Sorry that you got cut and glad you controlled yours…

  29. I am reminded of Sir Terry Pratchett's Discworld character Samuel Vimes, Duke of Anhk-Morpork and Commander of the City Watch and his occasional references to "The Beast".

    I know my monster. And I have a pretty fair idea of it's triggers.

    I will admit to giving it a longer leash at times when it proved useful. And I collected the penalty minutes to show for it.

    Fingers crossed for you on your encounter with the sharps.


  30. On behalf of myself and V/R JWest…

    Any advice on those of us who are lacking in the monster-control department?

    When something gets me right into an unholy rage, one thing is certain: an object dies. Usually it's a fifty-cent glass candle holder or something that's (relatively) worthless, but it always happens (except not usually in public! Hmm, might there be some self-control there?), and seems unstoppable.

    The wife would really like to see it stopped, as would I… it hasn't touched her or hurt any people (yet), but it needs to be controlled.

    Despite this, I'm a Christian… and that doesn't seem to be the end-all of the problem. Any advice / resources?

    Please don't say "anger management counselor" because I lost faith in those a while back. I'd rather see some good books / etc.

  31. I hates it I do. If I get tired, low sleep, my facade of niceness slips and I start getting real gripey,some of this is do to medical conditions but…, I have thrown things. As a youth I would snap and cold punch people. I can't deal with people except for short intervals anymore.
    A woman once told me that short women tend to be meaner than tall ones and nothing was more dangerous than a short woman protecting her kids. She once lost it an climbed a guy messing with her kid like a tree and almost took his eyes out.

  32. 1. LawDog, I hope & pray that nothing ever harms you, especially that blade with which you tangled. I dance away from sharp, possibly contaminated, things as fast as I would from a Komodo Dragon.

    2. Isn't it the ones who one doesn't suspect of anything who are the most dangerous?

    Ulises from CA

  33. Yup.

    Good post, and descriptive of something I've sort of understood for a while.

    I had met my monster before that, but don't remember much about the time he was let out by himself, behind a bar when I was about 20. Apparently there is something less than mystical about they Norse berserker legends, and the monster remembers how. It must be in the DNA. Friends tell me he was pretty convincing, to the tune of beating down 4 or 5 guys that thought that a few college boys would be easy marks for a little fun.

    Many years of martial arts help to keep him caged and leashed now. Not a fan of what might happen if he were to run loose again!

  34. Miller beat me to it: Watch Commander Vimes' thoughts about what lurks back there, waiting.

    And it does, doesn't it?

  35. More good wishes about not getting the grue from the razor.

    I also have to agree about the PTerry's take on a good guy letting the monster free.

    "If you have to look along the shaft of an arrow from the wrong end, if a man has you entirely at his mercy, then hope like hell that man is an evil man. Because the evil like power… they will talk, they will gloat. So hope like hell your captor is an evil man. A good man will kill you with hardly a word."

  36. DM, I don't hold a lot of truck with God these days (not critical of those that do, but I'm not going to sing a song just because I know the words), but I've got a fair bit of observation of humans.

    I have confronted my own monster, and those that live in others. I think that my monster is average, with a pretty average doorbell to trigger him. But I've got a somewhat stronger-than-average will to push him back down.

    When I say "nature" you can, if you choose, substitute "God." It is the nature of living things to, when filled with certainty of assault (think cornered animal) or shocked attack on them them or their family, go into an autonomic response.

    You're a fan of Grossman? Good. Saw him myself. And what's one of his take-aways? That you can and must try to control that autonomic response. Combat breathing is one of the simplist and most effective methods. But the first thing to do is to set rule for yourself about lines that you don't cross. Thus there are times when controlling your monster means focusing so that you don't kill a person, or focusing so that you only kill the person who needs killing.

    The monster isn't just a defining feature of humanity– it's a defining feature of any level of sentience.

  37. LawDog,

    Excellent Lesson.

    And best wishes for no lingering "gifts" from the cut, from someone who's been needlestuck by the same critters' implements (hapiy with no ill effects other than watching my life flash before my eyes, and the newfound realization that contemplating field amputation after such an occurence is an entirely reasonable course of thought).

    Pleased take this as a sincere query, and not one whit of two-bit Monday morning quarterbacking: In a situation where you're indoors, and as the new opening on your finger attests, officer safety is very much in question, why on earth doesn't the unnamed agency adopt the use of simple metal-detecting wands prior to pocket fishing expeditions, or allowing for official obtuseness, why not purchase and use same your ownself, for less than half the price of decent shooting iron or a really good pair of boots? If there's a space and budget for a box of gloves, there's gotta be room for a simple Garrett handheld. Especially when every "beep" saves a potential "Awshit!" Your colleagues would probably even subsidize the purchase in order to share in the boon. Under the heading of "Shank me once, shame one you; shank me twice…

    That way you can save the Monster for special occasions like mechanical clowns and pink gorilla suits, which makes everyone including you happier, and you specifically funnier.

    A rapid and uncomplicated recovery to you,

  38. Anonymous, speaking as one who has used metal detectors and done a fair number of pat searches, I can say one reason may be that many trousers have metal zippers and the wand will not tell you if it just found the zipper or a blade. The wands are great for some areas, but because pockets, front ones anyhoo, tend to be close to the fly, the wands aren't so great for the parts thereabouts. Good thought though. It may be a shade too sensible for your average bureaucrat.

  39. I wonder what is harder, controlling a monster within or trying to reawakening one? I wonder which is more valuable? I often wish my monster would rise up and fight.

    I understand you point and as always it's a good one, but for me, suppressing that monster has been all to easy.

  40. LawDog,

    I can't even begin to wrap my head around how great this post is.

    The monster is precisely the reason I did not follow my father and grandfather into police work.

    Under the best of circumstances, I struggle to keep my monster in check. He and I have a Jeckyl and Hyde-type relationship, and he has both saved my bacon on occasion as well as costing me dearly, as well.

    I suspect we'll have some stories to share in Houston…

    Here's hoping for no lasting repercussions on the cut. I'm guessing a superficial cut on a distal extremity that bled profusely shouldn't pose too much danger, but I'll still put in good words and thoughts with The Big Guy…

  41. I actually disagree with characterizing it as a "monster".

    My view is this: under extreme stress we are capable of going into one of two very different states: Berserker Rage, and what Jerry Pournelle calls "Overdrive".

    The Berserker state is driven by anger, and is dangerous as hell to all concerned including (and especially) the "rager". The deliberate creation of soldiers in the thrall of a Berserker state is a criminal act but one that happens all too often. Iran deliberately induced rage-states in their own poorly-trained and often underage troops in the Iran/Iraq war – I have spoken to Iranian "veterans" about this.

    Overdrive is triggered by concern for human life. There is strong evidence that the Greeks valued it in war, as do our own troops today. It is easier to trigger it out of concern for somebody else's life but can engage out of concern for your own. It leaves you emotionally flat but capable of thinking logically at VERY high speeds, and radically boosts strength…in a best-case scenario, without interfering with fine motor control.

    I hit the Berserk state once, at age 12. It is without question what Lawdog calls "The Monster". I have never allowed myself to hit it again, and I'm 46.

    I have hit Overdrive eight times now. The first yet again at age 12, saving my own neck from a natural disaster. Five of the rest were issues involving motorcycle wrecks or near-wrecks :). Two were in anything that can be called "battle" – I defended somebody else from four homicidal lunatics armed with hammers with my hand on a knife, and drove two large dogs away from a victim (yet again at knife-point). I had no legal or moral problems from either incident and I have absolutely no regrets.

    I trust Overdrive, I know how to welcome it and I have even developed a fair degree of tolerance over the years for the after-effects (basically "mental and physical crash" afterwards). I know for sure that I can still make moral judgments in Overdrive I block Berserker states and the preliminaries (extreme rage) fully.

    In this model of how our minds work, there's no "monster" – there is a capability for both states inherent in every human being, male or female.

    OR…another way of putting it is…there's two different "superhuman entities" inside us…call them "white wolf and black wolf" or whatever you want. We can choose which to use.

  42. @Agirl:

    One of the problems with letting the monster out, even on a leash, is *keeping* it on said leash.

    I'd say it's probably worse for women. Women are not wired to fight out a difference and be friends later, like guys are, so it's much harder for them to learn how to take the monster out for a walk and then put it back in the kennel.

    When a woman is fighting, it's Mama Bear time. The little ones are in danger, and whatever is threatening them is going to CEASE. Full Stop. That usually means "cease breathing," but if whoever roused Mama Bear is lucky, it's cease whatever (Mama Bear thinks) is causing harm to the little ones.

    Once Mama Bear wakes up, it's really hard to convince her that she can go back to sleep, that nothing out there is going after her little ones. I'd bet that two weeks is the minimum.

    I know you had a close call, and your Mama Bear didn't quite wake up. I'd be willing to bet (not that I want it to happen) that if another incident happened, your Mama Bear would wake up. You've changed the way you think and react to situations, which is part of learning to control Mama Bear. It'd most likely be controlled, but heaven help whatever roused your Mama Bear.

    Ask Lawdog or AD about the Domestic Disturbance calls they've responded to, the Female is the more dangerous of the species.

  43. Re-posting…

    Any advice on those of us who are lacking in the monster-control department?

    When something gets me right into an unholy rage, one thing is certain: an object dies. Usually it's a fifty-cent glass candle holder or something that's (relatively) worthless, but it always happens (except not usually in public! Hmm, might there be some self-control there?), and seems unstoppable.

    The wife would really like to see it stopped, as would I… it hasn't touched her or hurt any people (yet), but it needs to be controlled.

    Despite this, I'm a Christian… and that doesn't seem to be the end-all of the problem. Any advice / resources?

    Please don't say "anger management counselor" because I lost faith in those a while back. I'd rather see some good books / etc.

  44. Anon from 11:04 PM,

    I find deep circular breathing helps calm me down. Inhale deeply though the nose until your lungs are as full as possible. Exhale slowly & completely, visualizing your stress leaving with the exhaled air. Seems to work for the day-to-day stuff.

  45. At a recent employee development day, we learned that we had access to free psychotherapy and counseling. Lessons in anger management are also available to us, for a small fee, due to the length of the program – a 6 month course for men, and just 3 months for women.

    I laughed right out loud.

  46. A rare earth magnet glued on the end of a plastic wand or wooden dowel seems like a more discriminating blade/razor detector than a magnetometer, because it could be swept through each pocket like a swab, hanging onto anything ferrous. Then a finger could be used to search for anything else.

    In fact, I think I just had a patentable idea that law enforcement would buy. But in repayment for the many pleasant blog posts I have enjoyed here, I hereby forego all royalty claims on this idea and leave it available for public use.

  47. I learned how to control my monster by learning how to fight.

    The better I got at hand to hand, the more control I had. My dad taught me boxing and later got me into martial arts. Took a while, but now I can be in a bad spot and smile because I know I'm in control of it.

  48. This, (as JayG said) is why I never went into law enforcement.

    Frankly, my monster scares me, so I keep him locked up in a bank vault. He doesn't have a throttle — it's just a toggle switch.

    As I found when I was working as a rentacop for beer money, and found myself in a scuffle where my choices were, A) continue ineffectively engaging WAY outside my weight class with woefully inadequate "restrain and contain" scuffle skills, or B) sprout hair, fangs, and howl at the moon.

    I decided that I wasn't willing to get all hairy and kill or cripple over something that started as a petty (stupidly petty) theft, and only escalated to felony status because Sumdood suddenly decided he didn't want a free car ride and a couple of weekends picking up trash in an orange jumpsuit.

    I don't even bear him ill-will. He was resisting not really fighting (even when he popped me a few times). he ended up leaving with his expensive leather jacket all scuffed up and a couple of bucks of merch, I ended up with one half of a brand new $90 pair of sneakers and an indelible memory of a Cadillac hubcap going right past my nose at 50 mph.

    The monster has come out a few times, in life or death situations. The problem is that he, like Weber's treecats, has only two categories of enemies — the dead, and those we haven't gotten around to yet. So, a life in a profession where there exists a middle category, "people we will forcibly take, but want as undented as possible" is a poor risk for society.

  49. Hello again.

    Coming back to make an apology. I made a stupid mistake: misunderstanding based on definitions. I was always a fairy tale kind of girl, so "monster" means something inherently evil to me. Precisely because of those OT and NT examples given, I can't accept what you called a "monster" as inherently evil.

    And once I see the definition difference, I don't see anything to disagree with.

    Sorry for my sloppy thinking, and speaking before properly thinking,

  50. To: myself and V/R JWest concerning controling monster as a Christian,

    Prayer is the only thing that really works. Reading books and going to counseling will only go so far. I am 6'5" and am now over 350 lbs. When my "monster" gets loose, it is like the Hulk going off. Fortunately, it has been afairly long time since he has done more than growl. Mostly, when unleashed, it has been on the side of doing good – as in protecting those smaller than myself. My family knows that my life is for them and that I would gladly lay it down for them – as Christ intends for each of us to do. Hang in there, pray and give the Holy Spirit time to work. God bless each of you.

  51. My monster is a very evil, comical, laughing monster. I don't let him out often. The last time involved some burly mechanics and policemen holding me down, until the intended -wife beating- prey was hustled off into protective custody. I also have a sub monster that comes out when I drink too much! Everyone mistakes that for my main monster and thinks that I'm easy. My best friend tells folks how I held a conversation and sparred with a guy about 120 degrees away. Apparently I wasn't even looking. I wish I had been there to see it. Blackout Sucks!

  52. It has a purpose. Some people can't access it. We call them sheep.

    @Jim March: They're the same state, just accessed differently. Going berserk is the way to get there.

    Been a long time since I've gone berserk. Neighborhood bully backed off right quick when I threw something at him he didn't think I could even lift. I try very hard to avoid fights.

  53. I vaguely remember an officer who had one of the collapse-able batons with rubber around the tip (in theory would prevent impact cuts) would stick it into a suspects pocket, give it a twist, and then pull the pocket inside our.
    I hope the testing comes up negative for the possible nasty's.

  54. Ouch. Hoping your critter didn't "share" anything extra with you.

    It took me a good long while to learn how to master my own monster. She's a doozy, that one…

  55. I've said for a long time, the only thing I'm afraid of is me. I guess I should update that to my Monster.

    My own monster was out early, certainly by the time I was ten. Luckily, I think faster than I move and couldn't punch for crap back then. By the time I could punch (age sixteen or so and after some martial arts training, helped some)I carried a knife. Because my fists could fly before I could think. However, if I had a knife my Monster would use it, and in the time the hand took to get there I could intercept control. Now it's reflex to stop that initial Monster reaction. Still happens all the time, but I block it before it gets momentum. The monster moves first, lizard brain KILL, before monkey brain knows it. But, in that moment of going for the weapon, higher brain can take back control.

    Except when that's not a good idea. I have it on good authority by multiple witnesses i have crossed a room faster than they could follow me. I don't know. One moment I was sitting down, blink, fifteen feet behind the chair I was in and accelerating up the stairs after the guy. If someone ahead of me hadn't stopped and blocked me (allowing monkey brain to catch up)…well, i'm pretty sure it would have been ugly. Still can't remember what it was that tripped that switch either.

    As for advice on control: practice. My first real accomplishment was in controlling that first reaction that lead to things getting punched really fast (I wasn't a thrower). The first step in that was making myself lock up, just fraction of a second, before reacting. Yes, that did slow reactions in some stressful situations (that I usually caused) but also kept some very inappropriate reactions from happening. In that moment of lockup others have seen It coming, sometimes, and that has been enough to change their mind. Once that first step is blocked by habit I use a lot of visualization (call it meditating or self hypnosis if you like) that set my internal conditions for not blocking that reaction. For instance, no amount of talking can set me off. You wave a knife at me, however, and I've seen myself snatch it from their hands (afterwards, at the time *I* was not at the wheel).

    I suggest defining an object and target that the Monster gets to have (saves on random objects). For instance: big hammer and junk computer. Sometimes it goes for that because you won't stop it completely. I punched furniture, especially a heavy wooden dresser that could take it. (side note, martial arts training probably saved me multiple broken hands because I could punch correctly) Then you practice stopping it quickly. Pulling the choke chain, so to speak. It can be ridden, that's important to know.

  56. Civilized behavior is a very thin veneer over the wild animal that ALL humans are. The 'monster', as you have called it, isn't. It is what is required for our existence to continue, as we have to kill something to eat to live (or so it's been for the last 65,000 years or so, since we've left the neanderthal behind… yeah we COULD eat lettuce, but we'd have to kill that anyway), we have 'tribes' that we are members of, (and if someone went crazy they were cast out of the tribe into the wilderness (to be killed by the wild things there)) who will protect us from them (members of a different tribe. Every border on the planet from prehistory till now and beyond has us/them issues. Yeah it seems I'm meandering, but that 'kill the bastard lizard brained response' isn't a monster, it's who we are as a species.
    Sorry for multiple nestings, but this minirant should be a full blown website.
    Anyway, Yeah, since we've tried,in the last couple of centuries, to breed the monster out of our constitution (pun intended) it does seem that the killer instinct is a monster. Just you get between and mother and her children and try to cause them some harm… Go ahead. Let me know how ya make out there sport.

    Rich in NC

  57. My monster had control in my early life. Luckily we moved just before Jr. High. It gave me a new set of kids/enemies who didn't know the buttons to push. I was able to not only chain it but nail it to the wall with spikes. That kept me out of juvie and/or jail.

    I must say that I kept it too controlled for a while. I think that I have a better solution now. I've partnered with it. I figured out what it wanted: survival. I convinced it that I want survival too. It trusts me. When it comes out, it isn't Mr. Hyde. It's a teammate with a different skill set that then takes point. I still call the big picture shots but let the monster handle the details. And if a life or death situation occurs (I drive in and around L.A., it gets frequent practice) it takes over long enough to save my life and those in the vehicle with me and then backs down.

    The monster has learned that I am the best suited for survival in most modern day situations and is quite happy to leave me to it. I suspect it gets bored. However, it is always there and I am confident that *we* can handle most situations.

    For the Anonymous who is trying to control his monster:

    First thing: When she's asleep (just to keep from freaking her out), stare at her and *know* that you can't live without her. Practice that and just that until you are sure that your monster will never allow harm to come to her.

    Then it is time to get subtle. Reacting violently when you are not in physical danger puts your life at risk. It will put you in jail and you will die in jail. You have to practice *knowing* that.

    Your monster somehow learned that frustrations are a threat to your life. You have to retrain it to recognize actual threats.

  58. My monster reared his head today.
    He felt pain and anger. He roared in frustration that there was no action he could take.

    In thinking about our monsters Earl Harbinger from Larry Corriea's MHI comes to mind. He lives with a foul beast in his blood yet he controls it and harnesses it for good. I believe the character is a great example of learning to control the monster within.

  59. Staring down the Lioness (my name for the monster) is as important to the path of the shaman as that of the warrior. I no longer use a leash for her; she walks a step behind and a step beside, ready to come forward if the guiding intellegence calls for her. Because I know what she can do, I'm not afraid of her. And woe betide the one who threatens one of my Household!

  60. Goodness, I certainly hope nothing bad happens to you as the result of the idiot child.

    Any woman that thinks she does not have a monster, is deluding herself. I know I have a monster. Fortunately, it has little occasion to come out, which is a very good thing because where it to come out, I'm not sure that I could control it completely or that I would want to.

    For the Christian looking to control the beast, prayer. You MUST put yourself in the Lord's hands. Find a minister at a local church and speak with him or her. The head minister at my church, before I moved, was ALWAYS happy to talk with anyone about whatever.

    You can not control the beast by yourself. Really you can't.

  61. Oh yes indeed women have monsters.

    Mine has come out three times, twice in reaction to the same person, a friend's boy friend, who I truly believe to have been a psychopath. Once at a flat-warming party (mine) when he convinced another friend that it would be great crack to dump me in a water-filled bath tub, and I fought back hard enough that I nearly bit off someone else's finger (which convinced that friend that I didn't think it was all great fun), and once a week later at the pub after evensong when he made some crack about how I was over-reacting to a dislocated sacro-iliac joint (the result of the bath tub incident), and I found myself about six inches from his throat with my claws. I think I was also baring my teeth, and there may have been some growling.

    Other choir members were suitably impressed, and Ronan, the SOB, also got the message.

    I've also caught myself baring my teeth, growling, and with raised hackles, while crossing TCD's front square when Bernadette Devlin was addressing some rally.

    That woman, as was Ronan, is/was truly evil, and I think of my monster more as a protective animal, and if it is rousing, there is something I need to be paying attention to.

    I can scream and throw things with the best, but that doesn't feel anywhere near as primal, is much more related to depression, and doesn't scare people including me anywhere near as much.

  62. Mine must be buried really deep. He growled once, but never came out. I was at the BassPro in Grapevine, TX a couple of days after it opened. There was a kid at the gun counter. I asked him if they sold black powder. He went blank for a moment and finally said, "All our powder is over there, but I don't know what color it is."

    Monster growled. Kind of a stupid thing to get him riled up though.

    Anyway, I told monster to shut up, and I walked away.

    Pulp, SASS#28310
    aka Terry

  63. Well-said, sir.

    Each of us has our own monster — keeping it controlled is the mark of a man, or woman.

  64. Once upon a time, out in the Dark-and-Scary, I could let my Monster out, to run free. Since then, keeping it leashed is one of my Prime Directives. But the monster is always there, and if I let it loose, even for a moment, it's not gonna be pretty. But I have dear friends who don't believe in the monster, and when their's lets loose, I don't want to be there.

  65. Once upon a time, someone asked the Darlin' Daughter the following question: I'm 6-foot-2, have two black belts and I'm a CCW permit holder. So why are you scarier than I am?" The 5-foot-nothing Daughter replied "Cause I'm a mom." He said "why should that make you scarier than me?" She said "F**k with my kids and find out."

  66. I had a good, long look at my monster a while back when some kid stole my cellphone and bashed me about the temples when I tried to get it back. There were times when I wished I had stabbed him in the back after he pocketed that cellphone, which is considered murder by local state laws. Now, I give great thought to the idea of how I will fight back in situations and try to impose some serious boundaries. I've also taken some martial arts courses to better confront that monster.

  67. Ah nutbunnies. I burned my musings on monsters on the previous post before I read this one… Eh, I'll go and double-post.

  68. I have had occasions that my monster came out.
    I have learned to keep him under control.
    Bu there have been a couple of time he almost got out again.

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