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Angry nation

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Another popular U.K. psychotherapist was bold enough to suggest that rage is nothing to be ashamed of, but rather an authentic emotion that self-actualized people have every right to resort to: "Being angry can be done in a seriously stylish, non-aggressive way," he said, "You just have to learn the techniques."

The basic premise behind this new age rage is that we all get angry sometimes, and that expressing that anger is a perfectly normal and healthy. Repressing emotions can lead to bigger problems, so it’s better to let them out rather than allow them to fester.

And just as some individuals tend to cry more, laugh more, or worry more than the average person, some people have a tendency to get angry. The sooner we accept this idea, the better we can all get along.

How scary is that premise?

I’m no psychologist, but I do have friends in the service industry who could probably think of a few good reasons why people should keep their rage bottled up the old fashioned way, choking it down until it either goes away or they can get to a safe area to let it out.

The last thing a resort town like Whistler needs is for people to feel self-righteous about their anger, and treat it is a legitimate response that they are entitled to. Who is going to want to work the front lines of the tourism industry if society encourages people to fly off the handle at the slightest provocation? You can only empathize with a customer so much before you want to put him or her in a choke hold. The problem with anger is that it’s contagious, and grumpy customers lead to grumpy employees.

I’m of the opinion that there is too much anger out there already, especially in Whistler.

I’ve watched angry visitors throw fits in bars, restaurants, retail stores, hotel lobbies. I’ve seen people get out of their cars in the parking lot to scream at other drivers. I’ve witnessed people getting into shouting matches on ski runs, lining up at the chairlifts, and waiting for cabs at the taxi loop. Sometimes, on a busy weekend night, the village feels like it’s on the verge of a riot.

It’s no great mystery. A study by the Whistler Chamber of Commerce found that the average visitor to the resort is overworked and time poor because they don’t have any time in their regular lives to wind down, and get less than two weeks of vacation a year. They’re stressed out and on edge.