Saturday, April 25, 2009

A Big Hiatus Headache

I thought that taking a hiatus would be a help to me, that I would have time off, that I would be able to reflect, then recharge and renew myself. Isn't that what a break's supposed to do? I go to the grocery store and I hear the checkout people saying, "I'm going to take my break," and the entire grocery store doesn't go out of business over such a heinous offense.

But the "friends" you meet on the internet are less forgiving than customers in a grocery store. The customers in the grocery store may indeed hate the checkout people's guts for taking breaks, but because of hunger, their need for groceries, they keep their mouth shut. I know I think the same way, essentially; I hear the checkout person saying they're going on their break -- the other day I actually heard one say, "I'm going to take my last break" [my emphasis] -- and I think, "Oh, that's real helpful to me, the paying customer." But when I think about letting the store know what I think and taking a stand, I quickly lose my courage, because I know I'm going to need groceries very soon. And that's the biggest reason you never see anyone picketing a grocery store.

It's not like that out here on the internet. No, the internet is like the Wild West of Shunning. Because it's just one big nameless, faceless blob, you can lose your "friends" and "followers" just like that. State an opinion that doesn't match up with the blob's prejudices and you'll have the blob all over you. Take a hiatus and you're dirt under their feet. It starts in small ways, a few curse words directed your way. But because the blob is a blob, it adds to and supplements its rolling girth, weight, and heft rather quickly. Emails fly at lightning speed, advancing, mutating, and pretty soon you're not just garbage, you're the scourge of the world! Every word is twisted in such a way that you yourself question your intent, then your worth.

I know about the blob because I've done it too; everyone has. You hear a crazy news story about a principal in another state who expels a kid for, say, being too smart, who made all the stupid kids feel inferior. The principal had a good defense, that budget cuts didn't allow a separate class for the smart kid. And telling the stupid kids' parents that their kids were inferior was out of the question, because there's more of them than there are of the smart kids. Naturally you have to sacrifice the smart kid. But by the time it gets to the internet, to feed the blob, the principal has done something very, very wrong. The hotheads take over! And she gets a ton of emails including a few death threats and quite a few cuss words. How great it feels for us to email this poor principal, cajoling and threatening her simply for doing her job.

But if you can, put yourself on the receiving end. That's where I've been the last couple weeks. I completely lost all my so-called "friends." Each and every one of my so-called "followers" has vacated the site. Why? Because I merely wanted to do what everyone wants to do once in a while, have some rest and relaxation and time for myself. Was that so dishonorable? Apparently so! The grocery store girl can get away with it, but not me. Because, as has become very obvious to me, people need groceries, but they don't need what I give. What I provide here is considered a luxury, the ideas and ideals that could help you in life. But when I'm not here, they fall back to their jungle morals and skin alive any leader who seems to have more than they do yet fails to hover over their highchair like Mommy Dearest to shove each spoonful of pablum in their darling little mouth.

How the mighty have fallen! I know the taunt. I know the drill. Put it on a sign and march around my house, it'll last longer! Sheesh. What did I do that was so bad? Didn't feed The Almighty Blob! Well, here, feed on this for a while! There you are! Nuzzle in good and close! Oh, wait, you didn't kiss me goodbye. Here you go, kiss this! That's it! A feast for the eyes as well as the lips!

As for me, I'm going to lock my door and take a nap, thank you very much. And just in case you get ideas, I'll be sleeping with about five guns. And should I ever break this hiatus and come back -- and at this point I'm feeling newly emboldened not to -- you, my dear "friend" will be the last person I'll invite back. Keep your distance. You're not wanted in these parts. None of you are!

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