Please, don't feed the troll

Everyone should have a pet. I have a pet troll. I call it … Troll. What's a troll? 1. In fairy tales, it’s an unpleasant creature who lurks under a bridge and claims it owns it. 2. Online, it’s an unpleasant, self-important creature who lurks under a hidden identity to criticize and insult another. A troll presents opinion as fact, knowledge as wisdom, and argument as discussion. It is a parasite with no sense of humor. Troll loves attention. Like a fool I gave it some. I respectfully disagreed with it, but it just wanted to argue with me. So, I tried thanking it for it’s opinion, but it wasn’t done opinionating. I even tried agreeing with it. It just told me how wrong I was to agree with it. Then I started teasing it. Made it look like a fool. Now it won't go away. It’s my own personal nemesis. Whenever I write a column, Troll leaps on it with malicious glee. Incapable of seeing the big picture, it nitpicks irrelevant details. Sometimes right, often wrong, always contemptuous. Troll’s vendetta against me even extends to stalking my comments on other columns. Poisoning the well wherever I go. Having found a happy feeding ground, Troll now lies in wait for anybody who dares agree with me. It spews its bile on an unsuspecting guest with tiresome predictability. Frequently, Via Foura, the Great AI in the Cloud, decides Troll's cheap shots aren't worthy, even for a troll. But when Via Foura deactivates Troll's content, Troll always comes back with a surly rejoinder, a slightly less offensive version of what it just said. Sometimes, the omnipotent Power That Is banishes Troll for a time, but the Power always lets it back in. I don't know why. Having its content deactivated, even being banished for a while, has only taught Troll to be more devious. Being a troll, of course, it isn't capable of changing its ill-tempered nature. ADOLESCENT AND SOPHOMORIC Troll reminds me of myself when I was on my high school debate team. I was good. I could and would argue with anybody about anything whether they wanted to argue or not. I was quite obnoxious. It got to be where even I didn't like me. So, I quit. I don't think Troll is a happy creature, even if it thinks it is. In a way, I feel sorry for it. Nonetheless, Troll is a parasite sucking the life out of civil discourse on my column. Therefore, I have decided to stop replying to its puerile attempts to suck me into a black hole of pointless argument for argument’s sake. I also urge my readers not to respond to Troll's shrill cries for attention. It will say mean things designed to provoke you. It will say things so appallingly stupid that it will take great willpower not to point out how appallingly stupid what it said is. In desperation, it will make veiled threats against your home or your livelihood or imply you are a sexual deviant or even worse, a Democrat. Troll is a verbal streetfighter. Of course, Troll won’t go away. I’ve got it on a stretched-out reinforcement schedule (Psych 101). It’s used to being ignored for weeks and weeks only to be rewarded with a firefight or words with me now and then. I guess I’ll just have to keep dragging it around with me like a whiny, nagging child. After all, Troll is my most loyal reader. Troll will probably even argue with my obituary because it always insists on having the last word.
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Tom Durkin multimedia writer-editor-photographer

Please, don't feed the troll

Everyone should have a pet. I have a pet troll. I call it … Troll. What's a troll? 1. In fairy tales, it’s an unpleasant creature who lurks under a bridge and claims it owns it. 2. Online, it’s an unpleasant, self-important creature who lurks under a hidden identity to criticize and insult another. A troll presents opinion as fact, knowledge as wisdom, and argument as discussion. It is a parasite with no sense of humor. Troll loves attention. Like a fool I gave it some. I respectfully disagreed with it, but it just wanted to argue with me. So, I tried thanking it for it’s opinion, but it wasn’t done opinionating. I even tried agreeing with it. It just told me how wrong I was to agree with it. Then I started teasing it. Made it look like a fool. Now it won't go away. It’s my own personal nemesis. Whenever I write a column, Troll leaps on it with malicious glee. Incapable of seeing the big picture, it nitpicks irrelevant details. Sometimes right, often wrong, always contemptuous. Troll’s vendetta against me even extends to stalking my comments on other columns. Poisoning the well wherever I go. Having found a happy feeding ground, Troll now lies in wait for anybody who dares agree with me. It spews its bile on an unsuspecting guest with tiresome predictability. Frequently, Via Foura, the Great AI in the Cloud, decides Troll's cheap shots aren't worthy, even for a troll. But when Via Foura deactivates Troll's content, Troll always comes back with a surly rejoinder, a slightly less offensive version of what it just said. Sometimes, the omnipotent Power That Is banishes Troll for a time, but the Power always lets it back in. I don't know why. Having its content deactivated, even being banished for a while, has only taught Troll to be more devious. Being a troll, of course, it isn't capable of changing its ill- tempered nature. ADOLESCENT AND SOPHOMORIC Troll reminds me of myself when I was on my high school debate team. I was good. I could and would argue with anybody about anything whether they wanted to argue or not. I was quite obnoxious. It got to be where even I didn't like me. So, I quit. I don't think Troll is a happy creature, even if it thinks it is. In a way, I feel sorry for it. Nonetheless, Troll is a parasite sucking the life out of civil discourse on my column. Therefore, I have decided to stop replying to its puerile attempts to suck me into a black hole of pointless argument for argument’s sake. I also urge my readers not to respond to Troll's shrill cries for attention. It will say mean things designed to provoke you. It will say things so appallingly stupid that it will take great willpower not to point out how appallingly stupid what it said is. In desperation, it will make veiled threats against your home or your livelihood or imply you are a sexual deviant or even worse, a Democrat. Troll is a verbal streetfighter. Of course, Troll won’t go away. I’ve got it on a stretched- out reinforcement schedule (Psych 101). It’s used to being ignored for weeks and weeks only to be rewarded with a firefight or words with me now and then. I guess I’ll just have to keep dragging it around with me like a whiny, nagging child. After all, Troll is my most loyal reader. Troll will probably even argue with my obituary because it always insists on having the last word.
Tom Durkin
multimedia writer-editor-photographer