I was still in bed this morning, struggling through an extended nightmare about not being prepared for Thanksgiving dinner, when the little guitar riff that tells me I've got a text message went off. I woke up, grabbed my phone, slid the ring up to unlock it, clicked on my texts and read this: "I'm glad we became friends. Just wanted you to know that." I'll admit a tear slid down my temple and into my ear.
A dozen unexpected words on my little Droid screen that probably took him less than 30 seconds to key into his phone .... a dozen words. A gift that stuck with me the rest of the day.
I should have stopped there and done something useful like vacuuming or sweeping up glass in the alley. The next thing I read was a couple of comments on a friend's Facebook status from a guy who called me stupid and a fool. Several times a fool. It was surprisingly aggressive.
Once again, it couldn't have taken him long to fling his cruel words at me, a stranger. Maybe 30 seconds and those words, his intention to body-slam me in public, were there for a lot of people to see. Oh, he really showed me!
It's so easy to be an asshole, isn't it? This guy doesn't know me, and he never will. Yet somehow he found time in his precious day to insult me several times.
I don't engage with that kind of shit though. I wrote something witty and cutting .... then I deleted it and the rest of my comments and moved on. Some people like anonymous word wars. I don't. I prefer to remember I'm dealing with a real person, not just some letters on a screen.
The worse insult though is that this guy wasn't even clever. There's no fun to be had in trading insults with a rhetortard who has nothing in his bowl of Alphabits except a couple of tired ad hominem attacks.
The truth is, this guy didn't bother me all that much, and it's because I didn't engage. If I had, I might have had a funny couple of screen shots to share here along with some bitterly amusing sarcasm, but I'd rather floss my teeth or mow the lawn or masturbate with a carrot.
A while later, I saw a third message -- a passive aggressive, drive-by punch in the gut. Again, it probably took less than a minute to write, and then quite a bit longer to gloat over.
Again, it's the kind of message I neither understand nor want to engage with, so I won't do it here. When somebody tosses razor blades out to see if any will stick instead of engaging in honest communication in private, it's best to doctor your own wounds and move on.
Three different messages in a short period of time. None of them took much physical effort or time to write. Only one of them inspired me. Only one of them reminded me what I want to offer to the people I care about, and to the people I want to care about me. Only one was important.
It takes the same amount of time to put a tear in a friend's ear smile on a friend's face as it does to jab at someone. This post is to remind me how powerful words can be. If I have 30 seconds*, this is what I want to write in that time:
I'm glad we became friends too. Thank you.
*If I have a minute or longer, I'll probably write about vaginas. Or cookies. Just being honest.
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By Laurel Regan