Help! I’m Being Followed by Angry, Angry Birds Is it a Sign?

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by Linda M. Potter

I was just notified through my Angry Birds software that I have now accumulated several achievement awards for such notable accomplishments as: smashing 500,000 blocks, busting 1,500 clouds, breaking open 2,000 cages, shredding 300 chocolate boxes, and snow- plowing down 1,500 ice blocks. Wow, I’ve been busy! All in the pursuit of the total annihilation of over 2,000 chubby little cartoon pigs that taunt me with their annoying squeals and rapid-blink eyes. Of course, I’m not really destroying anything — I’m simply assisting the snarly, vengeful birds out to take down the pork industry one little piggy at a time.

In case you’re living in a hut on a remote island in the Pacific where words like iPhone or apps haven’t yet made it into the vernacular, or you simply don’t have computer games on your radar, Angry Birds is a video game in which a flock of really mad birds dish out revenge on the greedy little pigs that stole their eggs. It’s also the #1 downloaded app in the country.

What is it about blowing up pretend pigs that brings out the Terminator in all of us? I’m pretty sure it’s not about the eggs — I have all of mine, for instance, safely tucked away in my “one basket” (but that’s another story). So, then, what is it? I must confess that my maiden name was Hamm, so in my case it’s possible that I’m trying to resolve some ( deep-seated family issues with my sling shot of mass destruction. Perhaps. But, more likely, I’m just venting by “virtually” annihilating things. It seems harmless enough and lets out a lot of pent up anger. It’s akin to pounding on pillows to release frustration, or screaming out the window of my second story bedroom, “If Only God Would Give Me a Sign!” to “voice” my disapproval of the way my life is going.

Maybe the fact that pigs are the target of my aggression is a sign that the Angry Bird in me is ready to release disempowering habits and behaviors that hog my time and keep me stuck in old familiar patterns – patterns that are beginning to feel more like cages than comfort zones. With a tap of the screen on my iPhone phone, I can summon my birds to liberate me; I can cheer them on as they gleefully blow up barriers and clear my path of stumbling blocks that are hogging my time and attention.

Hmmm… there may be more to be learned here than I first realized. For example, I also think it’s interesting that this game blows up a lot of bridges in the pursuit of pesky pigs. Although I am typically the first one to caution friends about “burning bridges” behind them as they move forward, sometimes destroying them is the only thing that makes sense. I, for one, have left an awful lot of heartache on the other side of some bridges, and I’d be mortified to discover that some of it has followed me across, lying in wait to sabotage my progress at some particularly vulnerable moment. I’m also not interested in enduring the taunts of the tired old trolls that tend to hang out under those old bridges. (Come to think of it—those roly poly pigs do remind me a little of trolls.)

There are lots of opportunities in everyday experiences to gain meaningful insight into our lives, get a sign from God, or have a simple “aha” moment – however you like to frame that. Video games may just be another example of God’s sense of humor, but learning to laugh is half the fun of being human. I do, however, have a few notes for Rovio (the creators of Angry Birds).

  1. Do the birds really have to be so angry? Maybe they can eliminate the hogs with a tad more grace. That wild cackling that goes on every time a pig is destroyed borders on the demonic.
  2. Can you tone down the destruction aspect just a little? Maybe instead of all those explosion noises, you could simply have a little message pop up on the screen every time you’ve eliminated a hog, like “Good for you!” or “One more obstacle out of your way!” or “Remember, this is just a game — revenge/aggression is not the answer!”
  3. Please include a warning label: “This game may be addictive. If it starts hogging all your time and attention, it can create an angry family, and be hazardous to your personal growth.”

Perhaps this new year is an invitation to a new perspective. Many consider 2012 to be a pivotal year of dramatic changes when old ways of being die, and new, more empowering ones are born.

Linda M. Potter is a spiritual counselor, a popular speaker and the author of If Only God Would Give Me a Sign! available at Barnes & Noble, independent book stores, through Amazon.com or at wordkeepersinc.com. You can contact her through her website www.lindampotter.com or at <lindampotter@comcast.net>.