There are days when I really empathize with Armando Benitez. Days when all of the forces of nature align to absolutely test me, to push every last button until I just want to snap and lash out in a childish and destructive manner. Of course, when Armando lost his cool, he expressed it by firing a 100 MPH fastball directly at a relatively defenseless batter. On one notorious occasion in May of 1998, his plunking of New York first baseman Tino Martinez incited a prolonged ugly brawl between the Orioles and the Yankees. After having surrendered a game-breaking three-run home run to outfielder Bernie Williams, Benitez reared back and let it fly. As soon as the ball left his hand, he must have known that he'd done something wrong. He could have seriously injured Martinez. Yet when Tino's teammates jumped to their feet in the home dugout, the O's pitcher tossed his hands out defiantly, urging two dozen angry enemies to rush the field and take him on. Through his hasty actions, Armando Benitez had let his frustration get the best of him and had made a bad day so much worse.
Today was one of those days for me. I woke up with my right eye bloodshot and irritated; my seasonal allergies are in full bloom. I'm sure my stubborn insistence upon wearing my contact lenses didn't help much. Despite getting home late after an outing to Baltimore last night, I decided to forgo an extra 30-60 minutes of sleep and got out of bed in time to make my usual train. Of course the train was delayed for about an hour because an earlier train had broken down. I spent that hour standing out in the unseasonably cold and rainy weather.
Once I got to work, things just snowballed. Without getting into specifics, I logged most of my day scrambling to identify and correct multiple errors with the software that is quite necessary for the purposes of doing my job. At one point, things got so bogged down that I attempted to restart my computer and found myself unable to log back in for roughly one hour. It almost goes without saying that my boss is out of town on vacation for the week, causing even more responsibility to fall upon me. Knowing that I'd still be dealing with the same difficulties tomorrow compounded my irritability; I nearly threw a stapler across my cubicle in one rage-filled instant.
Once I finally made it to my homebound train, I settled down with a book and read until my eyelids drooped, then settled back for a power nap. Soon I realized that we had stopped moving. The conductor came over the P.A. and announced that a fallen tree had obstructed the path. He assured us that someone was coming with a chainsaw to cut it up and remove it from the tracks, and they would arrive in approximately one hour. The masterstroke at the end of a supremely crummy day. I attempted to settle back into a state of quasi-sleep, to no avail. I went back to the book, but I haven't exactly taken a liking to it and my heightened ire wasn't helping. Finally, I picked up the phone and called my sister to complain. It couldn't have been much fun for her, and I don't know how much better it made me feel. But at least I didn't instigate a bench-clearing brawl and get myself suspended for eight games.