I’ve known exactly what I was going to call this post for several years. Obviously what follows wasn’t delivered by an unexpected lightning bolt from clear blue skies. It’s been simmering for years. Some weeks hotter than others.
As I've said maybe a dozen times by now, something was very, very wrong as far back as 2010. That May, I took an abrupt cyber-sabbatical when the splinter gnawing my core became acutely painful. It didn’t last. The avatar fought back. He won. That’s too bad. I couldn’t understand it then, but have a very good idea why now. For a man who talks about it so often, the ego is strong in this one! Again to be fair, while that was written in 2010 for the blog, the effects stemmed from and were intensified largely (though not exclusively) by Facebook. Aside from toothless stalking threats, I had little idea of what else I was dealing with: my avatar and the Dopamine Drip. In retrospect this was the first significant twitch in what’s become social media grand mals.
The Mea Culpa
I've been struggling with where to begin and how to put this into its proper context. But, this afternoon it seems pretty clear that only one thing matters. Fuck most of the context. I'll get to it later.
This is what matters: whether people deserved it or not, and whether the attacks were targeted at people or their avatars, I’ve treated many people like shit over the last nine years. Some purposely. Many, if not most, unintentionally with the shrapnel of my exploding, and unsolicited, “thoughts” and “opinions”. Ah yes! “Keeping it real!” “Tellin’ it like it is!” “Droppin’ truth bombs!™”
Remember? Yep. Me too.
Thanks in large part to the aftermath of Moonbeam’s unprovoked and preemptive liberal scripture “bomb”, I’ve finally been able to cement an important idea (especially moving into next year): those cliches were horseshit then and they’re horseshit now. I used various versions to excuse simply being a wildly swinging, obnoxiously “outspoken”, asshole in mixed virtual company. In earshot thanks to your “newsfeed”? Well, you were hit by it. Interested or not. While I was far from alone in this behavior, for my part, to you, the collateral damage, I apologize. To say I was oblivious would be a lie. So would saying it was “only some righteous truth”. It would also be a lie to say it was right. It was most certainly wrong.
There is one other thing in particular for which I need to correct. I cut contact with several people I genuinely like and respect. There were various reasons; many as benign as simply not wanting to subject them to my opinions. (Yeah! As opposed to just stifling the opinions themselves! This may be the fourth time I said that “more on opinions” are coming.) In doing so, without reaching out before or after, I essentially severed ties with people while often giving the impression that I no longer wanted anything to do with them thanks to my previous, often ambiguous, talk of “purge now! purge often!” In other cases, as my need to disconnect grew I grew weary of reading your friends and families commentary via your profiles. I never offered the courtesy of individual explanation. I should have and wish I had. In my struggle to find what’s proven to be a non-existent Facebook balance, I tossed several gems out with the trash without taking into account how the act was perceived.
The numbers aren’t high but I’ve begun reaching out to some of you; messages, emails, texts, etc.; to make sure that you know the line is still open. At least on my end.
Before fully deactivating everything but Messenger in August, most of The Purged didn’t fall into the above categories. The vast majority fell victim to the ideological religion guillotine which I hand-sharpened with the forthcoming Dennis Doctrine over the last year. In the spirit of the previous two posts, most of the rest were simply returned to their pre-Facebook relationship status: none.
Almost all of this was executed without feelings of dislike or disgust…although there were cases of that; usually Trumpbots, Berniecrat extremists, conspiracy nutters, incessant woe is me whiners, and Moonbeamers. They know who they are. And they’ll never read this. And they certainly won’t read what’s to follow! I’ll try to get by. Thoughts and prayers? Please? #OldTimesSake
If you need to wonder if I just described you, I didn’t. And I want you to understand that for over a year I’ve known Facebook was going away. It was a process rather than cold turkey and through that process I concluded that either you or I wouldn’t stand the friendship-requiring-effort test. You know I was right, too! Because, umm, we didn’t make that cut before! It’s okay. I honestly wish you well.
I hate that I’m even typing this, but one of AA’s steps is taking a “personal inventory”; dabbling with uncomfortable self-awareness. I try to do that regularly but managed to avoid this part of it for a very long time. I’ve had a good idea that this day was coming for more than seven years. I suppose it’s better late than never but I would have preferred inflicting less carnage. I can’t even hope to begin writing a comprehensive list of names so I suppose I’ll close with a short public statement. That’s what politicians do when they send dick pics to teenagers, right? I suppose it’s good enough for this.
<Looks solidly into the camera>
<But not “too” solidly>
<Yes. I’m procrastinating>
<Humility’s a bitch>
<Trump’s tactic is FAR easier!>
<Fine! Here we go…>
“I haven’t acted properly toward many of my friends and acquaintances over much of the last decade. There are reasons. But not excuses. I’ll get to them. For now, the causes are irrelevant and will remain detached from what is a very simple and authentic heartfelt apology. The person you’ve seen stalking the Facebook Cave isn’t an accurate representation of who I am as a human being. (Well…unless you feed me whiskey. Then? Yeah. Just don’t do that.) I’ll do my best to retire the Toddzilla avatar permanently. If you were caught in his crossfire, I’m sorry.”
I genuinely mean that.
Seeing this as a sudden opening or sign of weakness? Well, that would be…in error. Now then. Onward and forward. If you’ve made it this far, you’re most certainly invited to come along. Be warned: rough seas ahead.