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The Internet Has Boundary Issues, and People Are Assholes. So What?

In: Hard Stuff, Pet Peeves,

So I block this girl on Facebook the other day.

Actually, it wasn’t so much a block as it was a ban (if only I could do this to people in real life?) because Little Miss Hot Pants thought she would be cute and tell me how much of a shithead I am on the TMF Facebook page.

Granted, I am a shithead – especially if there’s no cream for the coffee – but that doesn’t mean I need to listen to you blather on about it, you know? We can all be more productive. I mean, how am I suppose to think happy thoughts and do yoga (or something) when I’ve got this moron over here yap, yap, yapppppppping?

So, I do what any card-carrying blogger does: I ban her! Because, alas, I am a shithead.

Anyway, I go about my day – likely humming some gangster rap – when my cell phone makes one of those god damn ding sounds. Lo and behold, I have an email.


Now, I know she probably didn’t have her Wheaties that day, as evidenced by the brilliant grammatical error she began this noble email with, but I’m really disappointed she stopped there. I was really kind of hoping she might include some step-by-step instructions to electrocute myself, or perhaps attach a pattern of some balls I could cut out and tape to my face. Or, even better, she should have sent over an ebook about it! Or maybe a manifesto. I hear manifestos are still in. Where’s my manifesto? I’m starting to feel really neglected here. WHERE’S MY FREE GIFT? Didn’t I win a prize? Or was this email it? Let’s all make shirts that say, “I’m a coward, plain and simple, and all I got was this lousy email.”

I will say, the quality of humans lately is awfully unsatisfying. One thing I never understood are those creatures that think it’s appropriate to hit reply to my blog posts and write me their thoughts. Here’s a fan favorite from the holidays:


And here’s another more recent gem:


You know, I just don’t get it. You’ve opted into my emails, but at what point did I opt in to yours? Are you spamming me? Is this spam? Should I just start hitting the “spam” button? Or is that cowardly, too? What a conundrum, you guys. How will I sleep at night?

I tell you. Humans. They’re always…alive.

I’ve got to be honest, though: We should probably put the kibosh on this whole “I’m entitled to harass you because I read your blog and that gives me some kind of right” charade. Maybe I’ll start reporting these people to the police. Or maybe, as the internet grows, we’ll get our very own internet police! That would be a trip. You thought banning you from my Facebook page was offensive? Just wait until I call Officer Ruth. Because her name is definitely going to be Ruth. And she is not going to be very nice to you. Officer Ruth has shoulders, you guys. Maybe there can be internet jail, too, and the offender’s website goes into a holding cell for 24 hours. And then they pay their bail with Apple Pay. I like how this is shaping up. Maybe I’ll run for mayor of the internet and get this thing started. I will have a policy that reads, “You can be a shithead, but don’t be an asshole.” And I’ll also ban PCs. Yessssssss. *drums fingers*

But really, you guys. The internet has boundary issues. And I’m going to start putting my foot down. Or in my mouth. One or the other.

You should picture me standing boldly at a podium right now, pointing my pointer finger into the sky and looking menacingly into the sun, as I take a stand on behalf of writers everywhere. Because just because you’re Tommy Tough Nuts behind a computer screen doesn’t mean we won’t harass you back. In fact, I rather like the idea. Once, I looked up the phone number of some email scholar and called him right up on the telephone. I understand you wanted to have a discussion about what a shitty writer I am! I thought it would be better if we did it in person. Email is so 2002, you know? So, tell me – what are your insights? Have you done any further research? Do we have an exact count of the number of times I’ve started a sentence with a dangling modifier? Do tell, professor. Your work here is riveting. Thank you so much for your contribution to society.

Officer Ruth approves of my plan. I just hope my friend Jennifer does, too. I’m looking forward to another sitcom in my inbox anyyyyy minute. Unless maybe I can ban her there, too! That would really get her goat. As we know, I’m all about goats.

I just hope she’ll take my suggestion seriously, you know? Attach those instructions. Hook me up with an eBook or something. Maybe a little diagram. That would be handy.

After all, I think I’ve held up my end of the bargain, here. The general complaint was that I didn’t confront her, I reckon. Perhaps this will be sufficient and I’ll be exonerated. Then again, I suppose this is just one more instance of me being nasty to other women. Damned if you do, damned if you don’t.

Fortunately, I have an entire population of perfect strangers on the internet who will tell me exactly what I should do.

Because strangers are the future, you guys. Forget children. It’s all about people you don’t know and you’ve never met and never will. And we should really do a better job at placating them. I mean, truly. How dare you live your life without taking a population of 7 billion strangers into consideration? That’s a lot of nerve, right there.

You should absolutely be worried if a stranger thinks something of you. In fact, you should probably let their voice murder yours. Absolutely! While you’re at it, be sure to let all the strangers trample over your spirit, too. You wouldn’t want to ignore them, you know. That would be a terrible idea. Whatever the stranger says, goes. You should really start living like this. Writing your blog posts like this. Running your business like this.

Be very afraid. There are strangers everywhere. And the risk of offending one is far too high. Don’t do it, I tell you. They’re a dangerous breed, those strangers. Instead, you should put all of your effort into miming, from now on. Much safer that way. Learn some sign language, for good measure. (But be careful. They are watching.) And then, when you finally get to the point where you’ve been stripped of your own wicked opinions–leaving no viewpoint of your own behind–you can Google those electrocution instructions.

Because a man without his opinion isn’t a man–he’s a mockingbird.

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5 thoughts on "The Internet Has Boundary Issues, and People Are Assholes. So What?"

  1. Bob Caples says:

    Great site, except it’s taken me a while to figure out what you guys do. You asked me what you could do for me, and I had no idea, and I’m still not sure. Your personal story is what hooked me, especially where you break it up with those big, one-word subheads.

    Copywriter, here. Since about 1983. I could use mo’ better business, higher fees, bigger royalties, so I could work less and sail into retirement. Strangely, my wife has been talking about our moving to Costa Rica, and I see that you already have. I’m always looking for ways to make my copy ping more, but I fear what I write is not up your alley quite. Long, 24-page letters that sell people on subscribing to financial newsletters. And, unfortunately, on the right-wing, libertarian side of things.

    I like your design here. My only suggestion would be to make the column width less wide. It makes it hard to read (for me). Four inches and bigger type.

    1. Bryce Katz says:

      **Wonders if Bob sees the irony in his comment**

      1. Bob Caples says:

        Where so, Bryce?

  2. Ziggy says:

    When people upset or anger me, before reacting, I assess:

    (1) Is this person somebody I care about, have a connection with, or would like to have a meaningful friendship/business relationship with?

    (2) Is this some random shmuck who I don’t particularly care about our want to have a friendship/relationship with? Am I ok with this person passing over me and moving on out of my life?

    If it’s (1), I reach out to confront that person. If it’s (2), I ignore them and move on with my life.

    You did the right thing, Ash. She subscribes to your site, not the other way around. Some people are bitches. Yawn. They aren’t worth your time.

    And it makes sense that you have no balls. You’re a woman, so far as I can tell.

    Kudos to you and your ovaries!

    1. Bryce Katz says:

      Where did I put that quote? Right. Here it is:

      “Why do people say “grow some balls”? Balls are
      weak and sensitive. If you wanna be tough, grow a vagina. Those things
      can take a pounding.” (Often attributed to Betty White)