What makes your dad angry? Obviously: foreign nurses coming over here, offering to heal him for free. But angrier than that. Obviously: the lawn care routines of his immediate neighbours. Your dad raging about it. "Has he even heard of a strimmer?" No: angrier than that. The entire concept of the show Loose Women, undoubtedly, makes him angry ("If it was a male version," he says, setting a series link download on another repeated season of Top Gear that he already has saved to the Sky+ Box, twice, "if it was an all-male chat show, about male things, that'd be sexist, wouldn't it"), but no.
Think angrier. You're not thinking angry enough. Your dad used to be vital and now he feels his power is waning. He used to be a tower of masculinity. He forged you out of spunk and sheer force of will. He made a human and protected it and cared for it and worked for it, and now you have a student loan and live in a flatshare with three other people and laugh at him for having the resolution all big on his iPhone, and he feels his power waning, his domain over you dissolved.
What makes your dad angry, angrier than everything, angrier than it all put together?
Someone trying to reverse their car at the same time he is trying to reverse his car. Observe:
This, for the uninitiated, is BBC producer Fergus Beeley absolutely losing his chips during a now-viral video filmed yesterday afternoon. It is also, crucially, two-minutes-twenty of the purest and most focused dad-rage ever committed to film. Let us swim deep within it, let us bathe our bodies in its water, let us come up out of it, cleansed:
1. THAT BIT WHERE THE SATNAV GOES OFF AT STATISTICALLY THE WORST TIME IT IS POSSIBLE FOR IT TO GO OFF
I know, in the grand scheme of what is to come, this is a not-even-nominally top five funny moment, but I just think there's something charming about it: the man driving the car, who I am going to call Placid Dad, doesn't know his son's phone passcode with which to call the police, and he is doing the Car Twist (the Car Twist is a special move you can only do in car driver and passenger seats, where you have to contort the entire top half of your body just to mildly speak to the person sat behind you), and he's saying, "Josh, what's your passcode?" and all the county mums are clucking away and Fergus Beeley is probably an 8/10 on the lava hot anger scale, about to escalate to a 15/10, the angriest anyone has ever been, and in all that chatter, oblivious technology: TURN LEFT TOWARDS CHARLES WATT'S WAY.
Within chaos, there is always art.
2. THAT BIT WHERE HE TRIES TO ARREST AN 11-YEAR-OLD BOY BY JUST POINTING TOWARDS HIM AND YELLING
Listen, I'm no expert in criminal law, but a brief and cursory Google of the rules of it say:
It does not say, like, "you can citizen's arrest someone while calling them an old slut" or, for example, "you can arrest children just because you feel like it", or, crucially, "you cannot citizen's arrest someone for a lesser crime than assault while literally screaming at them and pushing them around on camera", but then I don't write the rules, do I.
(What I like about this, I suppose, is that dads love the law, don't they; they hold it absolutely holy, anyone who breaks it is a "thug" or "scum thug"; anyone who does not adhere exactly to it should be put in prison for life – apart from all their banker mates called Don who dodge tax, that's fine – and then they respect and love and want to fuck the law with the last five of their natural erections until someone they dislike mildly breaks it, at which point they go full radge and try to issue them with the death sentence in a motorway layby.)
3. THAT BIT WHERE HIS ANGER TRANSCENDS ITSELF
Nobody really knows how to be angry, is the thing. Nobody really knows how to harness rage. Anger is some proper reptile brain shit: it comes at us as this huge, overwhelming, hormonal swell, and it makes us say and do things faster than our actual brain – our rational brain – can handle. Undoubtedly, anger is the most embarrassing emotion. A complete abandonment of control. A complete surrendering of sense to the giddy spirit of emotion. How angry is the angriest you have ever been? How angry do you think you could get, right now, if I asked you to? Do you think in all your life – in all your tantrums, in all your rages, in all your meltdowns – do you think in all your life you could do anything as embarrassing as roaring "YOU DESERVE IT, YOU OLD SLUT. YOU BIG SLUT" at a car full of non-indicating mums?
In Britain, we have two main kinds of rage, both of which have been perfectly exhibited in viral videos this week: Dad Rage and Goth Rage.
First you have Dad Rage, which your boy Fergus Beeley is the new exemplar of: Dad Rage is a 0–10 rage escalation that happens at anything, about anything, but normally something very innocuous and related to a minor driving infraction, and ends with this sort of world-against-me PC-has-gone-mad-,-actually-! nutter rage that ends up with trying to arrest an 11-year-old. Dad Rage is very quick trigger and can be set off by anything: the dog doing a shit, someone using the last of "the good butter", a live sports broadcast running over and messing with the otherwise resolute and immovable TV schedules.
Goth Rage, meanwhile, as demonstrated by this mime breaking type and yelling "FUCK OFF!" a lot in the background of a BBC News report this week, is different: Goth Rage always happens after months or years of eroding at the patience of the person who breaks, and is named after that goth kid who went to every single sixth form – you all had one! Don't pretend you didn't have a goth! – who, after two years of being called "gothlord" or "fucking goth" or "Trent Reznor's wanksock", finally snapped and ended up kicking someone down the stairs with their New Rocks. Do not pretend this did not happen at your school. This happened at every school.
So here Fergus does something very rare, actually, which is he straddles the rage spectrum: he is exhibiting at once Dad Rage and Goth Rage, something I'm not sure has ever happened before. The exact moment this happens can be pretty clearly marked – he crosses the divide from Goth to Dad the exact moment he tries to angrily tug a car door open and yanks his shoulder socket half-out against the strain of the lock, and suddenly his mental walls just crumble, and what was just a fun set-to about an undertaking manoeuvre (Dad Rage) suddenly amplifies, and he's trying to put a bloke's arms on the car and arrest everyone in sight, and he's saying things like:
"You said you want us dead" "I do want you dead!"
[ while trying to arrest a remarkable placid man] "you bIG SLOB!"
"Get back in your car… BEFORE YOU DIE!"
Which are all very Goth Rage, and all very embarrassing, for a grown man, to say, and he tries to arrest an 11-year-old, which is also in the great pantheon of history one of the most embarrassing things to ever happen. The Curse of Goth Rage. It strikes once more.
4. THIS, THE EXACT MOMENT HE KNOWS HE HAS FUCKED IT
I suppose the beauty of anger as an expression and an art form is the cooling down period where you stop trying to Incredible Hulk someone into jail and you actually take a moment to distance yourself and step back from your own quick-fire emotion and analyse what you hath done, and I think this – when the car full of people are asking an extremely sober, sane woman if they can bear witness to the events and she says that yes, she can, and also you can't chop someone's arms to a vehicle when you are arresting them, dipshit – it's at that exact moment that Fergus suddenly comes to and zooms out and reviews that last 100 or so seconds of his life – the seconds where he marched, pointing, around a car, threatening to arrest and/or kill everyone in it, that a video of him calling someone's mum a wanker is almost certainly going to go viral, that he tried to put an 11-year-old in prison, that his heart has ran at such excess over the last minute-and-a-half that he's taken about a dozen years off his life expectancy, and all that hits him like a train, hits him like a come up. Take that moment when you wake up after a big drunken night out and realise with horror you have texted multiple people you fancy in your phone book; take that feeling, hold it near to you, multiply it by a thousand, and that is what Fergus Beeley is feeling at— this— exact— moment— here—
5. QUESTION: IS THIS THE MOST TRIGGERED ANYONE HAS EVER BEEN IN HISTORY?
ANSWER: Yeah, sorry, it absolutely is! This man is history's most triggered snowflake! And it's funny because I just highly suspect this dude has a millennials-are-lazy-and-they-want-it-all-on-a-plate rant in him after two ales down his local, and at every family party he's been to for the past three years, "'Ooh,'" he says (he is doing that high-and-fancy "millennials" voice he does), "'Ooh, I went to university and now I want a job and a decent chance at a home.' GROW UP! Work harder, you bloody wet muppets!" Only now he's going cunt-wild in a services carpark because a Mondeo went a bit close to him on a Sunday afternoon drive.
And it's funny, I suppose, because the words "PUT YOUR HANDS ON THE CAR AND PREPARE TO DIE" make up possibly the most metal sentence I have ever heard, and if they weren't coming out of the shaved face of The Most Puce Man In Southampton then it'd actually be an incredibly gnarly thing to say directly before murdering someone, but instead it just sounds like someone edging himself two weeks closer to a heart attack because the voice recognition robot that acts as a gatekeeper to his telephone car insurance won't acknowledge his increasingly loud requests for assistance.
So I suppose, in many ways, "PUT YOUR HANDS ON THE CAR AND PREPARE TO DIE" acts as a sort of final rallying cry from a slowly fading and dying generation. I mean, yes, they won the Brexit vote – well done, dickheads, we'll never have a future now – and yes, in their swathes they just about edged a Conservative government in for power again. But look deep in Fergus Beeley's eyes and know that all Road Rage Dads are nearing the end of their relevance. They don't know how this technology works, all around them, and they don't know how citizen's arrests work, even at the most basic root of the concept, and they don't know about cameraphones or going viral. All they know is their own primal, urgent rage, and how it is important to them, now. I'm pouring one out for you, Fergus Beeley, and I'm pouring one out for all of your kind.
Enjoy your Sunday drives out in the Audi, lads, and next time you click that little button that opens the garage door, and you put your leather driving gloves on, and you inhale the dusty air in this room mixing with the fresher, leaf-strewn air outside it, and you hear that little squick of oil in the engine and the slow rumbling purr of power beneath it, when you squeeze your suede driving shoes down on the accelerator and smoothly move into gear, put them at 10 and two and remember these words:
Put your hands on the car and prepare to die.