Blog: Online Tough Guys

(originally written 2/19/12)

How sweet would it be if even a fraction of our population possessed the same bravery in public as they do behind the safety of their computer screens.
 
We'd be treated to news stories about people wrestling tigers, ripping guns from robbers and pistol-whipping them, standing up fiercely to their crummy bosses and demanding proper treatment. There'd be missions to wipe out terrorists by people who aren't even in the Armed Forces.
 
Police and fire departments? Wouldn't need 'em, not even to rescue cats from trees—housewives would simply bust out the trampoline and get Felix themselves (forgive me, that was the best cat name I could think of). Police would do little more than emergency traffic direction and the occasional riot squash. 
 
Ah, if only.
 
On the Internet, regardless of the forum, everyone is a chiseled 6'4", 250 lbs, with an MBA in everything and uninformed of nothing. They mince no words. They turn everything into a religious or political attack. They often resort to threats. They do these things fully aware the promise of $100,000 could not elicit a similar response to a live, breathing person—the mere idea of such a confrontation likely triggering lanes of perspiration down their stained shirts.
 
These asinine arguments can, and do, start over absolutely nothing. Readers: if polled, wouldn't you agree that the least likely affair to trigger a profanity-laced argument would be a PBS Kids program? Least likely, perhaps, but not exempt, as this writer learned while showing his daughter an innocent Sesame Street YouTube video. Yes, two Internet tough guys managed to infiltrate the peaceful, uplifting safe haven that is Elmo's World. 
 
Bert and Ernie inciting a squabble would be less surprising—though not less depressing—because of the ongoing speculation about their "relationship" and society's refusal to just leave...other...people...be. But Elmo? How could anyone old enough to type get that angry about Elmo? (Not even I could get that mad, and I used to break entire video game consoles in rages as a kid. Not here to talk about the past, though.)
 
At that point, I vowed to never subject myself to that troubling aspect of humankind ever again.
With the exception of my own blogs, nary again would these eyes view another Internet comment—although even that one contingency needs review now that my amateur writing career is underway.
 
Through three articles, even my excellent work hasn't been immune to the cyber "bad asses"—three different very critical comments have appeared so far, clearly written by people who either didn't read the article in its' entirety, or were too stupid to grasp the point I was making. I told myself these were probably ADHD-stricken teens who need to feel big, and resisted every urge to sink to their level.
 
Instead, I shot down their "points" so concisely and logically, they slinked away, including this idiot:
 
"It's been a long time since I read a good article on the Warriors...and I still haven't. If you think Stephen Curry is better than Monta Ellis you obviously are not watching the games."
 
My response to his "clever" remark:
 
"Please show me in the article where I said Curry is better than Ellis."
 
The clown took two minutes, ostensibly to search, then promptly deleted his comment. 
I can only assume he's gonna stick to watching Elmo's World from now on...