…it’s that whole, “If you can’t say something nice, shut up!” thing.
When this is piled on top of that and it’s all wrapped up in oodles of some other crisis with a bit of panic-inducing whatever it is sprinkled on for spice, it’s easy to just scream until you run out of air.
But that doesn’t accomplish much. It probably won’t even help you release tension. Feels like more of a positive feedback loop, the adult version of letting a baby cry itself to sleep. (Wait, I can get to sleep if I do that?)
I think it was somewhere in Tom Wolfe’s “The Right Stuff” that I heard a description of the ideal test pilot on a flight where EVERYTHING is going wrong and a horrible, fiery, painful death is just seconds away. The guys with the right stuff never had a change in their tone of voice. To try to save the day (and live) they would try “plan A” – that didn’t work – “plan B” – that didn’t work – “plan C” – nope – moving on to “plan D” – nothing – next we’ll try…
Never any panic. Just trying to figure out what the next step was as efficiently and quickly as possible before either fixed it and saved your ass or you were the first to arrive at the scene of the crash.
That’s what it is that causes the screaming. Panic is not knowing what the next step is, or not being able to take that step, or just lashing out blindly in the hope that something you might do completely randomly and unpredictably will turn out to be the one in a million thing that works.
We’re not there yet. Still trying to keep working through that alphabet of plans. Still trying to keep that tone of voice in that flat, steady, West Texas drawl.
But I am starting to worry that the smoking hole in the desert is getting close. For all of us.