Hay’s Daze: Room for rage isn’t a necessity

Have you ever been so angry, you just wanted to smash something?

Would you pay somebody to let you smash stuff? Have you ever heard of a rage room?

If you answered “yes,” or even “maybe” to any of those questions, then you may be part of a growing trend.

Invented in 2008 in Japan, so-called rage rooms are now all over the world, including Edmonton and Calgary.

There may even be one in our fair city; but I haven’t been angry enough to seek one out. Yet.

Thing is, if you want to safely throw an adult tantrum in a special room, you don’t have to go far. For $25, you can bring a box of your own stuff – say, a nice framed photo of an ex-partner, some dishes you really don’t like, an old laptop, etc., and you get a small, private room, a hard hat and safety glasses and a couple of smashing weapons, such as a baseball bat or a sledge hammer. And you have at it.

For upwards of a couple of hundred hard-earned dollars, you can have your choice of several packages, with appropriate names, such as, Get Smashed, Date Night, Super Smash or Overkill, which provides you with a variety of attractive smashable items.

You have 30 to 45 minutes to whack, crack, thrash, stomp and destroy TVs, computer printers, coffee makers, dishes, bottles and anything else that will let you blow off some pent-up steam, or just “have a little fun with an interesting date idea.”

And the thing is, rage rooms were reporting hundreds of customers each month before the pandemic. Boy, what’s it going to be like after people are fully released from stir-crazy isolation?

And if you are picturing a gaggle of angry dudes cackling insanely and thrashing around in a room full of rubble, get this: a typical rage room called The House of Purge reports that up to 95 per cent of their customers are women.

Hell hath no fury like a woman, I guess.

I don’t think I’ve ever been quite that peeved to warrant a smash room. Once, when I was a teenager, my brother-in-law, as a joke, held me down and cut off a snip of my longish hair that I was desperately trying to grow, so I could be like one of The Beatles.

I was so mad, I stomped out of the house and ran away from home.

I got to the end of the block, sat under the Parkvale footbridge for a long time, until I cooled off, got hungry, came back home and decided to grow my hair even faster and longer.

It probably would have been excellent if there’d been a rage room nearby.

Thing is, the owners and customers of these rooms say it’s usually not really about rage. They say it’s “more about stress relief than anger management.”

And I guess that’s a good thing, in that people who have legit rage issues need much more help than a room to flail around in.

Still, isn’t it interesting that some humans need gentle yoga and meditation to relieve stress, and others need to obliterate inanimate objects in a frenzy of fruitless fury?

These days, the only time I really lose my temper is when I stub my toe or hit my knee on the pointy corner of our coffee table, both of which happen on a surprisingly regular basis.

But I don’t really need a rage room. That’s what couch pillows are for.

Harley Hay is a Red Deer author and filmmaker.

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