Unless you are an invertebrate, also known as a spineless humanoid or a politician, we all reach those moments in our lives when enough is enough.

What is your redline? What makes you put your foot down (whether on an irritating person’s neck or posterior or an intolerable situation) and say “Stop”? What prompts you to join our cartoon hero, Popeye, in stating “That’s all I can stands because I can’t stands n’ more”?

In the experience of this writer, the answer varies with the circumstances.

For example, pain can bring some to the red line because the tolerance for pain differs with each person. Contrary to the misogynistic and mistaken belief of some folks, gender is not a factor in a person’s tolerance for pain. In other words, a muscular behemoth of the male persuasion is as likely as some females to “squeal like a girl” when pain is involved. On the other hand, some women and men can tolerate pain to superhuman levels.

My father was a strong person in many ways and overcame a great many difficulties in his life, but when it came to dealing with pain, he was a big baby. If he was hurting, he was quite vocal about it. And from his perspective, the pain he dealt with was far more excruciating than anyone else experienced. In light of this mindset, perhaps it was a poetic slap-down from the gods that he often dealt with the agony of kidney stones.

To the family’s disappointment, father’s doctor compared the passing of kidney stones for a male on par with the pain women endure in childbirth. In father’s mind, that questionable explanation was a vindication. He could darn well suffer loud and long if he chose to do so, and he did.

Are you aware that the tolerance for pain increases with the amount of pain one must endure? It is the case not only with adults but with children as well. In the throes of pain, perhaps the mind protects itself by subconsciously rating the pain level. So, instead of increasing the volume of our protests, we may think, “That was bad, but not as bad as it was the first time or as bad as I expected.”

In the end, a person’s level of pain endurance determines his or her personal red line “to scream or not to scream.”

Some other redline examples are geni-ass drivers, anything to do with politicians, and stupidity. It may only be a coincidence, but the last item performs double or even triple duty. It is not only the one most likely to push your redline button but is an intrinsic part of the first two mentioned as well.

One area that pushes the red line of rage almost at the speed of light is traffic and the troglodytes allowed to get and hold a driver’s license. It seems recklessness and the endangerment of others are the primary goals of impatient folks.  When a drive races on the highway shoulder or in the passing lane just to pass a few cars, the driver’s stupid gene is working overtime.

The politicians wield the sword of power with reckless abandon because they hold themselves and their desires above the law. Are they incapable or just too stupid to engage the brain and represent the people? The answer may be a little bit of both. They expect their constituents to line up for their quadrennial lobotomy and elect or re-elect them to a job they do not perform. The lemming behavior of the voters is guaranteed to hit the red line for those who did not and will never line up for the mass lobotomy.

The red line for some folks is a moveable thing, quite similar to the Slinky. The Slinky’s movements are precision in motion, but it may come to a lumbering halt at any time. At such indecisive slinky moments, some folks contemplate their navel lint, while others hold the red line fast and shout “Stop!”

Our country’s forefathers stayed true and held the red line and this great nation was born. Can we keep it?

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