Mending My Virtual Fences

Troll While Trolling. 4”x 4”, dx Martin watercolor and gesso, 2008

Being a shut-in can be a blessing. No one expects anything of you, and people are genuinely surprised if you show up for anything. Borrowing from my experience as a contemporary hermit, I can assure you that people like me have found their collective voice on social media.

I broke up with three guys on Facebook immediately after November 8th, 2016. When I complained to my husband about how my ex-boyfriend from college had written something rude about something on his most recent post, I asked if he (my husband) would please read my second to last post from the day before regarding misogyny so that he could figure out if he thought that it was, from the ex-boyfriend, a secret slam against me. What was my ex-boyfriend implying? Wasn’t that rude? Didn’t he agree?

In the way only a life partner of thirty years can draw attention to the obvious, my husband shed light on some possibly unhealthy attachments I’d been harboring toward men I’d known thirty-plus years prior. He would say in passing, ‘How did Dave respond when you commented on his comment on your thread about global warming? Or was it the article on human cloning? Maybe it was Devin I’m thinking of?’ He’d scratch his chin. ‘Which one is the fly fisherman? I can’t keep up.’

The hate feels boundless and primal on the worldwide web, so, like any responsible adult, I send it right back. I should add here that it has been suggested by some who are ‘concerned’ about my emotional health that I’m not actually engaged in ‘debates’, and have recommended I refer to practitioners of Eastern Religion, as they are an insightful group with long life spans. They think I should consider joining in on all the sacred calmness they’re having. I’d like to highlight here that getting my point across and winning an argument is also something sacred- to me.

Continuing on the topic of religion, that brings me to a funny little thing. I’d gotten into an online tussle by someone who went by the handle, TooTightInJersey. I’m no Bible thumper by any means, but I decided to comment on an image someone had posted depicting Jesus in the manger with glowing red eyes and horns. The little scamp was even sporting fangs. I wrote, ‘I don’t think this is right. Baby Jesus means something to a lot of people and you should respect that.’ TooTight disagreed. TooTight replied, ‘Why don’t you pull that pole out of your ass and eat shit.’ I certainly didn’t take it personally. Listen, we all have bad days, and in the spirit of intellectual debate, TooTight is allowed to share a few thought-provoking perspectives. In turn, I’d like to believe that TooTight, while exercising such profound wisdom, would recognize my stance on the subject. Even as I type this, TooTight is probably writing his dissertation after volunteering at a soup kitchen. Wherever TooTight hangs his hat, I’m sure he’s penning another auspicious diatribe he’ll soon post for the ages.

Thank goodness I’m applying the two college degrees I’ve earned toward the greater good. Throwing down with Reddit users in a Battle of the Wits is just how I figured my life would turn out. It’s hard not to brag.

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