After blocking my fourth (fifth?) person on Facebook today, I realized something.
My friend Rich posted something about how 9-11 was all a ploy by the American government to bring about the martial state of mind so we could invade Iraq and blah blah blah. Now, Rich and I go way back. We were best friends in high school, middle school. We were neighbors (albeit, in the country, so although I could see his house from mine, there was no direct way to get there unless I wanted to hike across a field and tree lines and a creek and another field all day...which I did at least once). We've been through a lot.
So Rich and I had this conversation where I told him he was probably loony for believing that. And after we were all done discussing it, this guy comes in. It's been more than a week. Closer to two, I think. And he starts calling names. Illegibly, mind you. Like...no punctuation, no spelling. It was sort of like being yelled at by a crazy hobo about something you and your friend were discussing on the street. Not only was it completely unwelcome, but also it was ridiculous.
So what's a literate man to do? I believe I said. "I'm the idiot? Whatever. Learn to use punctuation."
And then he comes back three days later with this TIRADE about how I'm one of the "sheeple" and our founding fathers were conspiracy theorists and how I should learn to question things and not be led to the slaughter.
Then he invited me to come to the border and help protect it. Or...at least that's what I gleaned from the ridiculous spelling and lack of punctuation.
And...I told him I wouldn't spend ten minutes with him. Then I blocked him.
Okay. So what did I realize?
Even after all these years, we still don't know how to communicate on the Internet. There's no way people are going to put in the time to figure out the dynamics of a conversation before they jump in and start calling names. He didn't know that Rich and I were best friends for a number of years. He had no idea what we'd been through together. And he didn't know the tone of the conversation we were having.
He just wanted to call some names. And I was an easy target.
Oh, and also, the Army needs to enforce basic literacy tests, I think. They won't let gays serve, but they'll let illiterate monsters in and assign them to keep us all safe. No wonder diplomacy has crumbled into namecalling.