07th Sep2009

How Was I Supposed To Know She Was A Minor?

by Will

Give a man a fish, he’ll eat for a day. Teach a man to fish, he’ll eat for life. Give an octopus nunchucks, and no-one’s eating fish ever again.” – @FunnyJoker

So, I’m finding that I’m having a hard time getting back into the whole “web” thing. It’s not a matter of material, but rather “netiquette”, so to speak. Case in point: As I said last post, I took a cybbatical from social networking. Well, upon my return, I found that I had several new friend requests on facebook. One of those that I accepted was a friend from high school. In this situation, “friend” is defined as someone I knew in drama productions and at one point we were both really close to members of a particular family. In any case, this was someone that I knew, so I had no issue accepting the request.

OK, fast forward about 2 weeks. Her status update read “I made a 13 yr old girl scream today and it was AWESOME!” OK, if you’ve ever read anything on this site, you know I have a dark sense of humor. So, I commented on this status update, something along the lines of “I had a friend who did that. You might’ve seen it on Dateline. He’s in jail now.” OK, anyone who has seen Dateline in the past 4 years understands that reference. Keep in mind there’s no context given for her update. Here was my thought process: I’m not sure if I wrote about it, but my cousin had a neighborhood moon bounce party for her birthday. There was this little asshole who forced me to shoot him in the eye with a Super Soaker. Yes, he was 7, but trust me – he had it coming. And he cried. And it was glorious. So, when I read the status, I kinda imagined some scenario like that, assuming that the girl deserved it. Little did I know what was to come.

About 2 days later, I wake up to this manifesto that the person had sent me, telling me that she couldn’t believe I would joke about such a thing, and about how they’ve worked with abused kids for the past 3 years, and my remark was like I was shitting all over everything they’d been doing. Apparently, she’s a leader at some kind of camp and this was a therapy thing. Then, there was some more about how the high school version of me would never have said such a thing (yeah, he would have – he just didn’t have his own website then, natch!). That Will was someone that she thought was caring and compassionate, but I no longer appeared to be that person, so she couldn’t continue a friendship, “even one as superficial as facebook”. Well, damn. Hold. The. Phone. There was NO context! How was I to know? This is someone I hadn’t heard from/spoken to in about 8 years. Last I heard, she was dumpster diving & squatting in abandoned buildings ’cause it was the thing all the cool edgy kids did in college! I didn’t know they were out saving abused teens. It’s not like it’s something you put in your “Interests” column! Let’s see : “Puppies, laughing, The Office, Daily Show, helping young girls overcome sexual abuse through some weird form out shout therapy”. Nope, sorry. Didn’t see that. So, I’m the asshole. Yup. She made good on her promise, and that facebook friendship was voided. Hell, she may have even blocked me. I sent an apology, explaining my stance, and the fact that I certainly wasn’t meaning to trivialize the good work that she had been doing. Regardless, she wasn’t having it. Oh well, I guess I gave her something to scream about!

So, what did I learn from this? Basically, the fact that just because you “know” someone on facebook, Twitter, etc, it doesn’t mean that you know them. A lot of people look to these sites as tools to reconnect with people with whom you’ve lost touch, but it’s also a good way to find out that some people clearly don’t need to be in each others’ lives. And that’s one to grow on.