With all the grim financial news, a lot of people seem to have given in to rampant paranoia and rabid resentment. Some of them have good reason to be angry, and some just seem to enjoy ranting. In either case, listening to their grievances reminds me of a therapeutic assignment I used to give clients who were trapped in fear and anger and grief. They were to set aside an hour a day for resentment. The rest of the time, they tried to be as productive and creative and positive as they could. If fear or shame or rage crept into their minds, they pushed it out until its assigned hour. When the hour came, they ran a hot bath and cried in it, or stood naked in front of a full length mirror and grieved their scars and stretch marks, or howled at all the ways they’d been betrayed. Most people found that an hour became too long and boring, or they ended up laughing at their own extremism, but the resentment hour was theirs to use any way they chose.
I propose a national Resentment Day. Instead of letting our resentments suck our strength on a daily basis, we could save them for one day a year. We could observe Resentment Day the way we observe our other national holidays. Families and friends would get together over a big meal and take turns voicing all their resentments. Nobody would be allowed to tell anybody else to just suck it up, either, they would all have to listen and be respectful. The meals would feature foods that were sour or bitter. If wines were served, they’d have to be some that had turned vinegary. Bitter green salads would probably be popular, and green persimmon pie served with chicory coffee might become a traditional Resentment Day dessert. For the rest of the year, we’d concentrate on being productive and creative and positive. And if a group observing Resentment Day ended up laughing at how they were all trying to top one another’s stories, nobody would think the observation had been in vain. I’m not sure what the date might be. Anybody have an idea?