A Donkey On The Edge by
(62 Stories)

Prompted By Short Fuse

Loading Share Buttons...

/ Stories


A Donkey On The Edge

Okay let’s talk short fuses. Not the kind that light your Marlboro cigarettes on the Fourth of July (although, hey, if you do you – then boo hoo for you.). I’m talking about the human variety, the folks who walk around with tempers simmering just below the surface, like a pot of chili perpetually threatening to boil over. You know the type. The ones we have to tiptoe around, carefully enunciating every syllable like they are defusing a bomb with a thesaurus.

Let’s be honest, short fuses can be, well, a pain in the arse. Like that coworker who explodes over stapler theft: “Seriously, Brenda, it’s a communal stapler, let it go”. Or the family member who turns Thanksgiving dinner into a WWE Smackdown because someone dared to suggest cranberry sauce is an abomination. They yell, they slam doors, they make faces that would curdle milk. It’s enough to make you want to invest in a lifetime supply of earplugs and tension tamer stress balls.

But here’s the thing: there’s more to the short-fuse story than meets the eye. Sure, they might light up like a birthday sparkler at the slightest breeze, but there’s often a reason for their pyrotechnics. Maybe they’re wired differently, their neurons firing like hyperactive hummingbird wings. Maybe they’re passionate beings, feeling everything tenfold, the good, the bad, and the ugly sweater your aunt insists on wearing every year. Maybe they’ve got inner demons they’re battling, invisible wounds that make every interaction a potential landmine.

Who are we to judge, right? We all come with our own baggage, our own quirks, our own ways of navigating this messy, glorious, infuriating thing called life. And for some folks, that navigation system involves a big, red “ANGER” button that gets accidentally pressed a little too often.

So, next time you encounter a short fuse, try taking a step back. Instead of running for the hills, try a little empathy. Maybe offer a sympathetic ear, a non-judgmental shoulder to cry on. Or what the hell – just pass the damn cranberry sauce and let the fireworks fly. You might be surprised at what you find beneath the smoke and fury.

Because here’s the other thing about short fuses: they often burn bright. They’re the ones who stand up for what they believe in, even when it’s scary. They’re the ones who fight for the underdog, the ones who laugh the loudest, the ones who love the fiercest. They’re the human equivalent of a Roman candle, spitting sparks and flames, but illuminating the night sky with their intensity.

So, yeah, short fuses can be a handful. But let’s not forget, they’re also the ones who keep things interesting, if worrisome. They’re the ones who remind us that life is meant to be lived passionately, even if it means occasionally setting the tablecloth on fire. And who knows, maybe a little bit of that short-fuse energy is exactly what we all need to spice up our own lives, though just a dash – not a full-on inferno mind you.

So, raise a glass (or a fire extinguisher, whichever you have handy) to the short fuses among us. They may make us nervous, they may make us laugh, they may make us want to hide under the table, but one thing’s for sure: they never let us forget that life is anything but boring. And honestly, in this beige, lukewarm world, that’s something to be grateful for, even if it comes with a side of singed eyebrows.

Profile photo of Kevin Driscoll Kevin Driscoll
(Mostly) Vegetarian, Politically Progressive, Daily Runner, Spiritual, Helpful, Friendly, Kind, Warm Hearted and Forgiving. Resident of Braintree MA.

Characterizations: been there, funny, moving, right on!, well written


  1. Betsy Pfau says:

    You offer good advice about how to deal with that short fuse. Empathy is always good, but can be hard to come by when the fireworks are aimed at you. But I do try to deflect. I’m just not good at it…a new year’s resolution if ever there was one!

  2. Thanx Kevin. for you insights about the positive attributes of some short-fusers.
    I won’t mention names but I live with one who fits the description!

  3. Khati Hendry says:

    Thanks for your invitation to be understanding, and for your ever creative choice of words and sense of humor. And, as you mention, sometimes it is a good thing to be outraged in this world.

  4. “They stand up for what they.believe in.” I’d like to believe that, but it’s not my experience. The ones I’ve encountered are way too enmeshed in their own emotional issues to be the kind that can help us envision a better world. But here’s hoping, anyway. And thanks for the contrasting perspective.

  5. Jim Willis says:

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this with us, Kevin. Although I’m one of the many who feel uncomfortable around those with short fuses, there is an honesty that winds up getting expressed expeditiously. It’s the kind that is seen weekly on the sidelines of a football game when a coach blows up at a player — often fro a good reason. Anger can clear the air, but it does not always produce the same helpful results with everyone. So I tend toward self-controlled expressions when I can.

  6. Dave Ventre says:

    I am not sure if I’d give the fuse-challenged the out of being “passionate.” One can be passionate as hell without being a bully, and I think that angry outbursts are often a form of bullying, a way to get one’s way. I realized that one reason I used to get so upset about being contradicted was that I had my entire image of self wrapped around the concept of always being right. Disagreement thus became an existential crisis.

    “But I’m MUCH better now!” *

    * Name the actor and show!

  7. Laurie Levy says:

    Love your empathy and patience for those short fuses among us. You are right about channeling the anger to effect some positive change.

Leave a Reply