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No, I didn’t forget to disengage the caps lock. How else should RANT CLUB be written, but in all caps? It looks appropriate. It feels appropriate. I’m going with it.

Why the pretty, peaceful, pic? Well, mostly for the contrast, I admit…but it also represents my ideal, tranquil state of mind after a proper rant. Besides, in the pic I can see a few choice little nooks to rant in before stepping back out into the sunshine.

What exactly is RANT CLUB, you ask? While I’m not personally aware of any formal, physical, organized clubs, that to which I am referring is a more personal practice.

Forming one’s very own RANT CLUB can be tricky, especially given its often spontaneous nature. Mistakes may be made in selecting members and locations…which could possibly result in a slew of unintended and often rather unpleasant consequences. We’ll get to those later. The importance of the function it can serve, however, often outweighs the potential dangers…and keeps my good friends from having to spend that bail money they have so graciously promised to supply if need be.

Allow me to elaborate. In a previous post I imagined myself as a Garbage Fish of sorts, trying to absorb enough of life’s toxins in my home “tank” to keep the kids going in the right direction, while gradually increasing their tolerance and ability to deal on their own. In order to be more effective, I try to participate in my own, fun, stress-releasing activities and to find different spaces where I can let off some steam in healthy and productive ways. Yes, tennis IS productive…because I said so. That said, as a mostly stay-at-home mom, with a few side gigs, I am finding that there can be a lot to absorb and it can prove difficult to strike a balance. As the kids get older, the amount of outside toxin to which they are exposed increases exponentially…add that to the toxins to which we ourselves are exposed and a mommy garbage fish can find herself gasping more and more for air and find herself on the verge of going full on puffer fish and blowing up at inconvenient and inappropriate times, if she’s not careful. I can feel the pressure building…I know I need to blow-off steam…and, at times, a good old-fashioned rant is just what the doctor ordered.

Though I find that ranting in front of the mirror, to the animals, or simply doing it while standing in the middle of a room in complete and total solitude is the safest way and can be somewhat satisfying, the validation and understanding that can come from an audience of one’s peers brings that satisfaction to a different, and depending on the audience, more satisfying level.

The pitfalls and risks of incorrectly forming one’s personal RANT CLUB, however, can be many. For example (an exaggerated humorous example), think of that scene in “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation” where Clark discovers that he is not getting a holiday bonus and follows the discovery with a long, angry, oddly specific, rant to his family about what he would like to do to his boss. Most of the members of his spontaneously formed RANT CLUB get that he is blowing off steam and listen sympathetically, but not Cousin Eddie!

If you have not seen the movie, my point is that the members of your RANT CLUB have to understand that the point of the exercise is the actual ranting…not necessarily acting on the rant. We all want to help our friends with their problems, but sometimes the best help that we can give is to simply be there, to listen, and to understand that they need to vent. It may seem like a small thing, but it is not.

This is RANT CLUB I am talking about, after all, and not Problem Solving Club or Planning and Plotting Club. Those are down the proverbial road a few blocks away…in a more rational looking building. RANT CLUB is best held in an abandoned and decaying warehouse with awesome bellowing acoustic capability, or a dark little corner table in a restaurant or cafe (if the surrounding volume is high enough and the rant low enough)…or in the privacy of one’s home.

Yes, the best place to hold RANT CLUB is most definitely NOT in a quiet, reserved, public venue. I know sometimes we cannot help it, and rant-like comments may loudly escape us in a public setting, much like a surprise belch, a hiccup, or the always embarrassing stomach growl, but I find that out-right RANTS are best limited to friendly and, more importantly, understanding ears. Besides, that is really not the reputation I want. You may feel like you are being discreet, but when people start crossing the street to avoid the risk of getting too close for fear of being sideswiped and struck down by a stream of searing, cutting, stomach-upsetting rhetoric…you may come to realize that your voice is a little louder than you imagined. I am talking to you, lady in the coffee house, whose verbal intensity almost made the milk in my cappuccino curdle.

This brings me to another important factor in RANT CLUB. I only rant by text if the person on the receiving end happens to be of particular trust… and almost never do I rant via email. The whole point of me ranting is to cleanse. It’s to get that rant out of my system so that I can find my balance again and move on. For heaven’s sake, I don’t want it floating around out there in written form where it could possibly come back, jump out, and kick my butt at some point in the future! I prefer to be sitting with a group of friends sharing rants and laughs…perhaps over a glass of wine. Coffee is great, too…but when I am worked up enough to rant, I am most likely NOT in need of caffeine.

Which brings me to my preferred rant frequency. I joke around and make snide comments quite often. I try to go into Crazy Scary Mom mode as infrequently as possible (knowing that I have about as much choice in that as David Banner has at not becoming the Hulk). When it comes to rants, I do my best to reserve them for the rare occasions when pounding a tennis ball for two hours just doesn’t cut it. I much prefer hashing things out and discussing them in a calm and reasonable manner. In other words, I see ranting as kind of a last resort.

My last important personal ranting guideline involves subject mater. When a rant is inevitable I try, as much as possible, to limit any personal information and angles and to stick to the event or events inspiring the rant. After all, it is most often the situation I find infuriating. I may like or even adore the person who has set off the rant. Perhaps I find myself married to that person…ahem. Anyhow, the point of the rant is to let the immediate raw steam off, so that more rational thinking can follow…not to make everyone despise the subject of the rant.

Who knows, with enough steam let off, perhaps a progression to Problem Solving Club could even occur. In any case, as a member of RANT CLUB, I strive to be an even better rant receiver than executer. So, BRING IT ON! Besides, being on the receiving end of a rant (not as the subject, obviously, but as a friendly ear) may even shed light on one’s own problems.

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