Watch Your Words

He yells at the pencil, curses it with a stream of outrage. He glares at it with actual hate.

He sits tensely on the chair, his eyes wide, his lips trembling. He shakes with frenzied wrath; it sprays his insides with acid.

He quivers as he yells. And he wonders, deep in the self-isolated recesses of his mind whether he is killing himself with anger, whether he is destroying his system with fury.

The man is mollified. The systematic juices leave off bubbling, the fires sink, the coals are scattered.

But the anger is still there, apart. Energy is never lost; a primal law.

From “Mad House” A short story by Richard Matheson

If you had walked in while I was reading the last few pages of this short story, you’d have seen me holding the book away from my face and wincing as if I didn’t want to look directly at it. I knew what was going to happen from the outset. I’d seen a similar story on The Twilight Zone. “Why don’t you get out of here, Finchley!” And yet, my skin crawled and my heart raced as I finished it. I sighed a deep breath of relief as I put the bookmark back and closed the book.

I could see myself as this character. And I could see the author himself, using the frustration of writing combined with a quick temper to create a horror story, a “what if” kind of thing.

Lately, I’ve read a lot about watching my words, especially words I use to myself. Our thoughts create words that create our feelings. I’ve been learning new ways to help myself out of depression episodes and create more happiness and contentment in my life. And then this story comes up. I swear the universe does it on purpose to mess with my head.

When I grumble and complain, even to myself, my heart matches my feelings to my thinking, and I create a feedback loop of negativity for myself. What if those thoughts put power into inanimate objects and they fought back? Scared the crap out of me so much, I found myself being a little nicer to my stupid Chromebook when it started acting up again!

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