Strangers Radiating Kindness
I am still wobbling, even tottering, from my diametrically opposite experiences with the Net yesterday, within a very short period of time. I will start with the negative, because it occurred first. Among my new pursuits, pertaining to technology, is a penchant for visiting sfgiants.com. I only began visiting this site a year ago, after the Giants had won their first World Series in 56 years.
So yesterday morning there was an article about Freddy Sanchez, our second baseman, who dislocated his shoulder and had season-ending surgery last June. The article was upbeat, and I thanked the author and wrote a positive comment about how important Freddy is, and how much the Giants need him. A person responded directly to me with a one word response, “PUKE!!!!!” his caps and his exclamation points.
I responded immediately, “Thank you for sharing,” and decided I had better things to do with my time than have that particularly insightful kind of comment directed at me. However, I kept the exchange on the back burner all day, and finally decided that a response was in order. This was the pithy message I drafted and posted.
“Open letter to all posters: I started adding my posts recently, because I am fairly new to the world of technology, and only accessed this site a year ago. Whereas I enjoy the lively discussions that pertain to baseball, the uncouth behavior sure gets old fast. This morning, when my comment was greeted with a one word response, "PUKE!!!!!" I said, "Thank you for sharing," but I didn't deserve the derogatory message in the first place. All I did was thank Chris for the post and add support to Freddy in his effort to return.
I have seen this bullying approach many times, primarily on the middle school campus where I taught. Bullies come in all shapes and sizes, and it's so much easier to bully from behind a computer monitor. So knock yourself out, belvin_perry, and others who are all eyes, with little sight, not so much brain, as ear wax. Your responses indicate who and what you are.”
Then, along came Judy’s post, so well-timed, and all was well with the world. I may be a stranger in a strange land, when it comes to posting, but not when it comes to being able to conduct myself with a modicum of respect and dignity. But strangers radiating kindness is such a startling contrast, than that which I had just encountered, that it piqued my interest, and warmed the cockles of my soul.
People who read the comments on Major League Baseball, can either respond directly to posters, or they can indicate that they “like” something by clicking on the like button of the post being read. Immediately after I posted the above comment I got a “like” and a simple response: “Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Mark,” then a second “like,” with the comment, “Yes, there are a few morons who respond like that, but most of us would not,” and then finally a third “like” and a comment that said, “Yes, I have seen your posts, and remember when you came on board.”
Altogether, I received five likes, along with a second “PUKE!” from belvin_perry, with only one exclamation point this time. I guess he lost some of the wind from his sails, and I can only be grateful for that.
From my seat here, in front of Terra Jean, I navigate the Net in the most amateur of fashions, interacting with “strangers” every day. I have a fairly thick skin these days, so the two-legged turkeys out there, are far less likely to rock my world, than they might have in the past. However, I do find it exhilarating to have such a negative scene, so immediately addressed, in such a way as to remove the sting from the one zinger, and embrace the salve of the other.
Timing is everything, tick, tock, so thanks Judy, for having my back. You accomplished the very thing that had been so effectively obliterated by the rude poster on sfgiants.com. People reap what they sow, and the rude poster will get his comeuppances when the universe determines it’s time. Until then, maybe he should just keep a bucket handy, so that when his self-fulfilling prophecy comes true, he’ll have something to direct his invective into, instead of posting it on the airwaves, for everyone to have to dodge. Dodgeball is old school, thank you; this is baseball territory, and I’ll leave dodging to the hated Dodgers, who at least conduct business on the field, with their bats and not their pens.
Besides, a pen has to do better than four letters, and five exclamation points, to get a rise out of me.