Who Are You, and Why Should I Care?

I guess it’s a function of maturity, but I don’t care about internet trolls anymore. Back in 2011, a troll on twitter started up a fight with a physician whom I admire. The physician wasn’t paying attention to his crude remarks — including a photoshopped image of her — so he was lashing out in a very weird way. When I pointed out to him that he should cut it out, he focused on me like a laser. So I decided to care…


A few months later, after the troll in question made a huge ruckus, I had to scale back my online activities. I wasn’t allowed to state where I worked or what I did for a living, all because the troll scared my employers. He scared them into thinking that he was going to sue because — in his opinion — I was “attacking” him while at work. (I didn’t. I wrote the “mean” things I wrote about him while comfortably at home.)

At work, I only worked. Mostly.

Today, I would do things much differently, and not because of the way my job then reacted. Big, old institutions will always act defensively when someone waves around the word “lawsuit.” I would do things differently because I’ve come to not care in a personal way about people posting stuff online. I only care about what people I know personally have to say, and that’s pretty much it.

For example, there used to be a time when a certain “kid” would mouth-off about vaccines, and I had this urge to correct him. Then he revealed his true colors (misogyny, racism, and white nationalism), and it wasn’t fun anymore. It wasn’t scary, either. It was just kind of, blah. When someone says or writes something incredibly racist, what’s the point of pointing it out to them? They probably wrote/said it knowingly, either to get some sort of reaction or to just be a jerk. Nothing I say or do will change their minds, so why should I care?

This has been my approach to trolls lately. Yeah, I’ll exchange some opinions with some of them, but I generally stop engaging once we hit a point of no return. If they write something that is completely indefensible, the conversation ends. There’s just no point in arguing with someone who writes that there’s some global “reptilian” conspiracy or something just as stupid.

You just can’t argue with this.

I mean, I do like to engage in some tête–à–tête once in a while, but only if it’s worth it. Beyond that, I usually ask myself who these people, anonymous strangers online, are and whether or not a discussion with them is going to add anything to my life. If they won’t add anything to my life, then they’re not worth my time… And, man, do I wish more people felt that way (and acted on it).

In the end, the only way to take power away from the trolls and the bullies is to not pay any attention to them. They feed off getting attention for some weird reason. No attention, no problem. Sure, they might escalate things to get attention, but that usually backfires and ends up in criminal charges or civil penalties. Just don’t react, and the problem takes care of itself.

For the rest of you who are someone and who do mean something to me, don’t be jerks.

Rocky Gap Adventure Race, May 20, 2006 – PART TWO

One Thousand Feet, straight up. Well, it wasn’t exactly STRAIGHT up. But, when you factor the weight of the bikes, and the fact that the thousand feet came in about a quarter to a half a mile, then you have a very steep climb. This, my friends, was “The Great Equalizer”, “The Widow Maker”, “The Son of A Bitch!”

Being much lighter than his older brother, my younger brother was a ways ahead of me on the climb. He kept looking back, updating me on what was ahead. He kept encouraging me to keep going, and I did… But I was a little frustrated, as you can see…

I made a deal with God. If He got me over this climb, then I would give up Twinkies, and any junk food that comes out of a vending machine. That’s a heck of a promise, if you know me. Of course, I wasn’t going to be foolish enough to promise to give up cake. That’s crazy. But I can do without junk food in the form of processed candy (which are at least 30% fat by weight… Like me).

Still, at the top of the climb, I was feeling pretty spent. I had only had a modest breakfast before heading out to the park, so my sugar was probably low. The photographer, who took some great pictures you can see HERE, opened his backpack to reveal a bag of Chips Ahoy Cookies. The moment I put the first one in my mouth, Angels started singing. Remember my post about hunger? Yeah…

Thank you for the cookies, man! You really saved my life… Well, not really, but damn near close.

The rest of the race was also demanding, so much so that I forgot to take pictures. But here’s a rundown of what happened:

-The kid and I screamed our way to the bottom of the mountain we had just climbed, sometimes reaching 35 mph (as per my calculations).
-We did NOT skip checkpoint #7, like two teams did.
-We kayaked way better on the second leg of the kayaking… WAY better.
-We found checkpoint #10, so we did not have to take the 2hr time penalty, like a couple of teams did.
-We ate some cold pizza around checkpoint #11, like I wrote about. It really, truly was the best pizza ever.
-We reached the bikes again to finish the race (checkpoint #12), and my quads were cramping something awful.
-We finished strong, beating two teams, one solo, and about five teams and three solos that did not finish. Not bad for first-timers, huh?

I’d like to thank the folks at EX2 Adventure Racing, and Will Ramos Photography. And let’s not forget to thank my kid brother and that for being inspirations for this one fat guy (me) to attempt and complete this race…

“Done. Done. On to the next one. Done. I’m done, and I’m onto the next!” – Foo Fighters, All My Life

Rocky Gap Adventure Race, May 20, 2006 – PART ONE

A few weeks ago, a girl I fancy mentioned to me that she and a couple of friends were going to run an adventure race near where I live. I checked it out on the Internet, and it looked like a good way to kick-off the summer with my kid brother. So we signed up to run the race too. And we didn’t know what we were getting ourselves into…

But we were pretty confident before the race. The kid was all decked out in an adventure race backpack, cycling gloves, and our “team” shirts that read “MEXICO” on the front.

Of course, I was also confident, decked out in the similar gear, giving an “East Coast” sign.

And then there was the reason why I was running this… that girl. It’s not so much that I wanted to impress her, though I am sure that had something to do with what we were about to do. It’s just that I’ve been not “living” much because of school and work. I hoped this race would wake me up again from the slumber I’ve been, physically, since the Baltimore Marathon. And it did. I felt alive.

So the race got started, and the kid and I were way behind. We had never kayaked before, so we were flipping backwards in the water, and generally slow. You’ve all read the story about the water, so I’ll spare you the details again… And then there was the climb…

(Continued on PART II)