You'd think, judging from the way people react, that a good old-fashioned screaming at the top of one's lungs in the middle of the supermarket is some sort of breach of etiquette. These days, even something as innocuous as yelling, "Holy shit! They raised the price on the friggin' Fruity Oh's again?" to no one in particular is liable to get you tossed out of the Safeway.
That's the message our uptight, repressive society sends: The mere act of expressing yourself with a good, healthy holler is bad, an impulse that should be stifled. Well, I'm sorry, but freedom of speech is one of the basic principles of our democracy, and what is yelling but a fun, high-volume form of speaking?
If I live to be 110, I'll never understand why people get so upset about my little hobby. You'd think they never heard a blood-curdling shriek in their lives. Excuse me for living, all you tiptoeing church mice, but yelling is an enjoyable and exciting part of my day!
Why in the world would I want to meekly intone, "Pardon me, could you please direct me to housewares?" in a measured, modulated tone, when I could instead let out a hearty cry of, "Hey lady! Where the hell can a guy find a box of vacuum cleaner bags in this dump? Yeah, I'm talking to you! Who the fuck else would I be asking?" See how much more enjoyable it is when you allow yourself to put a little enthusiasm into the exchange?
Pardon me for trying to inject a little excitement into people's dreary, workaday lives. I mean, walking around on eggshells all the time, worried that your voice might accidentally carry a few extra hundred yards–what kind of a life is that? Only when you let loose with a roaring bellow from across the street at someone you've never met do you really start to feel alive.
You only go around on this crazy merry-go-round once, and I want to be noticed. I want to make a mark while I can. And I'll be damned if any police officer, psychiatric professional, or state-appointed social worker is going to tell me I'm not allowed to make myself heard.
Take waiting in line at the bank. Pretty dull, eh? Well, for most people it is. But for a "go-for-the-gusto" type like myself, even something as mundane as that can be an adventure. And it can be for you, too! Next time you're stuck in some long line at the bank, don't just stand there like a dumb post. Shout, "Come on! What's the hold-up, you assholes? I don't have all goddamn day!" Believe me, you'll be glad you did.
All it takes is the courage to overcome that initial shyness. Once you do, you'll realize there are all sorts of perfectly good reasons to scream. And in practically no time, you'll develop an extensive repertoire of interesting and enjoyable things to yell. Here's one: "Bastards! Die, you fucking bastards! I hope you burn in hell!" That one's good for all kinds of situations. Here's another "evergreen" that never goes out of style: "I'll eat your hearts on sticks, you ignorant swine!" I could go on and on.
If people just gave recreational yelling a chance, I bet they'd find they enjoy it as much as I do. Imagine the next time your kid is running around like a maniac at McDonald's. Why walk over to him and discipline him in a "mature," "responsible" manner when you can scream, "Michael! I told you to shut up and get over here, boy!" from all the way across the room, entertaining all of the other customers in the process?
Or, say you arrive late for a dinner reservation, and the hostess has already given your table to another patron. Sure, you could nicely ask for the next available table, but why do that when you could generate so much more drama and attention by loudly demanding to see the manager and insisting that the hostess lose her job, letting loose in a near-psychotic outburst of blistering vitriol?
You know, I'm not the only person who enjoys yelling: Lots of people do it all the time. I've seen it! And whenever they do, I make sure to gawk and stare, giving them the public attention they so obviously crave. I know they'd do the same for me if I were the one doing the yelling.
And you don't even need to yell actual words. A well-timed burst of moans and cries can work just as well as any coherent sentences you might think up. After all, it's not every day someone walks through an empty, acoustically perfect parking ramp in the middle of the night and suddenly, out of nowhere, hears an incomprehensible cross between a cat in heat and a dying walrus echoing all around them at maximum volume. It's an experience that person isn't likely to soon forget.
So the next time you feel the urge to raise your voice beyond a level considered acceptable in decent society, don't hesitate: Start yelling away. Yell at the cat, the neighbors' kids, the jetliners soaring across the sky 35,000 feet overhead. Who cares if the passengers can't hear you? The important thing is that you know who's yelling. I really enjoy yelling things and, believe me, you can, too. I'm sure if more people yelled unnecessarily every now and then, we'd all be the louder for it.