When I first started working in LA, somebody asked me if I could fax something for them. Of course, I have no idea how to properly work a fax machine and I guess I ended up sending it upside down. The guy I’d done the favor for lost it. He started pacing back and forth and cursing. Someone came up and tried to explain but he was just inconsolable. Nevermind the fact that all the person had to do was flip it 180 degrees when it came through the machine.

He went back into his office. When he came out hours later, he turned it back on, muttering and shaking his head so everyone could see he was still mad. That he was a Big Swinging Dick. That he was angry and that we ought to know.

I remember being struck with how incredibly pathetic it was. He is throwing a temper tantrum. A grown man. I didn’t want to be like that.

Driving in LA is awful. Especially for me, near Korea Town. And so I will catch myself ranting about how horrible someone is in front of me. I’ll realize that I’m the only one in the car. I’m hoping for the attention of a non-existent audience. Sometimes, when I’m writing I’ll throw a chair because my computer is glitching for no reason or I’ll slam my arm down against the table. When I settle down, it’s strikes me that there is nothing lamer than trying to use physical intimidation on inanimate objects. I guess in retrospect I can laugh a little bit for screaming at the automated DMV phone operator “to listen up you stupid piece of shit, I already repeated my number six fucking times” but more comically sad than anything else.

There is that Marcus line about “not turning this into something” but I think it’s more than that. The saddest part of that Bill O’Reilly video is the end where he gets up and tries to rip off his microphone. The camera pulls away right as he’s doing it and we can see how frantic and ridiculous and insignificant he looks. All that ego, all that money and he’s still five years old trying to fling his jacket off so it knows who’s boss.

It’s about who you want to be. Animals can get angry and snarl and bite at the wind. That’s easy. One of the things I respect most about my girlfriend is how she can reprimand my puppy calmly, as it’s biting her. Me, I have to react emotionally or pull away. To be in control – to know what you want and not indulge – that’s hard. That’s worthy of distinction. If you could pull away and look at yourself, what would you rather see? I know I don’t like seeing the guy screaming to himself in the car, stupid enough to think it makes a difference.

Written by Ryan Holiday
Ryan Holiday is the bestselling author of Trust Me, I’m Lying, The Obstacle Is The Way, Ego Is The Enemy, and other books about marketing, culture, and the human condition. His work has been translated into thirty languages and has appeared everywhere from the Columbia Journalism Review to Fast Company. His company, Brass Check, has advised companies such as Google, TASER, and Complex, as well as Grammy Award winning musicians and some of the biggest authors in the world. He lives in Austin, Texas.