I remember one of my early days of Emergency Medicine when one of my fellow providers picked up the chart of yet another male patient who had slammed his fist into a wall during a verbal fight with his girlfriend or wife.
“What an idiot!” my colleague said in disgust.
To which I incredulously replied, “Haven’t you ever hit something out of anger”? Wondering how he could have so easily forgotten the stupidity of his youth.
“Hell no! Why would I hit a wall?” he said with righteous surprise.
Well, with that clear signal that sharing my stupidity would not be good, I kept quiet. But I have slammed walls several times and broken my hand twice. And with that conversation, I realized that apparently not all men shared my stupidity, my explosive anger, my reflex to strike. I was actually surprised.
Years later, in a similar discussion with another colleague, I decided to share that I too had hit walls before. He then asked me “Why did you hit the wall?”
To which I unhesitantly replied, “Because my father raised me correctly. He taught me never to hit a woman.” To which my colleague responded with shocked eyes.
We are all different from each other. Sometimes we mistakenly assume that our situations are uncommon, but sometimes we are right. It is always good to find out, but only when it feels safe.
On a positive note, after my second fracture, I learned to go outside to sprint or to pick up tree sticks and therapeutically smash them — I had to dump my testosterone somehow. And it has been greater than 15 years since I even needed to do that. Further, I am proud to say, I have never hit a woman — its almost shameful that such a statement should ever have to be made, eh?
Is my new found freedom from rage due to a fall in my testosterones levels or due to maturity and insight? Unfortunately, I’d bet on the former.
Questions for readers: How about you, have you ever hit a wall? What do you feel about wall-hitters?
Note: I have treated women who have done the same, of course, but they have been far and few between.