My husband spent two days with his best friend, hunting and making homemade sausage and beer. During that short time I managed to get bored enough with life to get into my first official online cockfight with several completely insane total strangers. This all played out in the Comments Section of an article about mountain lions in South Dakota. Why did I do it? Why didn’t I know better? I should have realized that everything I wrote, no matter how factual or rational, was going to be used against me by bat-shit crazy people, because that is the Law of the Comment Section. But, like I said, I got bored, I had nothing better to do, and I just…couldn’t…resist the Comment Section!
Two things we MUST take from this story: 1) you will rarely walk away from Comment Sections feeling good about yourself, unless you are a psychopath, and 2) I have a serious problem with cat people, and they with me.
While I was at work I received a text from my husband asking if I wanted to meet him for lunch, and I responded “yes!” because after two days, I felt like I hadn’t seen him in forever, and I kind of wanted to tell him about the mountain lion argument. I was a little embarrassed about it being out there on the Internet, but not ashamed about sticking to my beliefs. It was the first time I had been publicly and personally attacked by absolute strangers who also happened to be absolute jackasses, but it likely wouldn’t be the last. I will have to get used to this if I want to continue blogging, especially about issues that are controversial. The problem is that stupid people might be my Achilles Heel when it comes to tackling those controversies.
When we slid into the booth at the restaurant my husband looked at me with a slight smile and said, “So I saw that crazy discussion thread about the mountain lions this morning.” I stared at him. The dude never looks up anything on Google+. Then he really blew my mind: “I read your blog too.” Oh crap.
“What, my ranting in my last post?” I asked feebly. I really didn’t want him to start reading my blog during a particularly bitchy time in my life…
“No, I just looked at your photos of the snow in South Dakota. They are nice, except they are not all from the same snowfall. One is from a later snowfall, maybe in February.”
“Oh, okay. I was going to write a post about how you are my biggest fan but you never read my blog. I guess it still counts if you just looked at the pictures.”
“Yeah, I like them. I also really liked how you handled those ‘whack-a-doos’ on that discussion thread though. They were wicked and condescending to you but you held your own and you held the higher ground! And you told them too! That was some funny shit!”
So dealing with the nightmare of the Comment Section aside (that may be a separate post — seriously, communication is whirling down the toilet because we can’t have respectful, intelligent discussions online) you may be asking why my husband doesn’t read my blog. You may be thinking that he is kind of mean for not supporting me by logging in religiously and then patting me on the back every time I post something, or for not jumping in and helping me fight crazy whack jobs online. The opposite is actually true. He is so supportive of me that he stays out of my business — out of my blog — and lets me do my thing. And that is the best way for him to be a fan.
When I first mentioned that I wanted to blog I was worried how he would react. I was more afraid that he just wouldn’t care. Instead he told me that I have talent and that I should do what makes me happy. When I started writing stories featuring him, I wondered if he might get insulted because I was making fun of how crazy our family can act. Hey, the truth is pretty damn funny. I was even more worried that he might become a bit of a back seat driver, always asking me why I had chosen to write something a certain way instead of how he had imagined that I should have written the story. Or he might feel obligated to always read and love every bit of shit that I produced, even the especially shitty stuff. Let’s face it folks, this is no Hemingway. In all, I was scared that my blog might make us both feel encumbered by obligations to be a certain way to each other instead of just being ourselves. But, honesty won the day! I told him I did not need constant reassurance; he told me he probably wouldn’t read the blog every day. And he has given me the best advice about my writing that I could EVER ask of anyone.
Two weeks into my blogging he asked, “Have you made any money yet?” And I said “No honey, it really doesn’t work that way. On WordPress I don’t get to make money, and I have like, ten people reading my blog right now, so I practically don’t exist.”
A month went by and he asked “When can you make money for your writing?” And I laughed, “I wish I could make money for this! Remember what I told you?”
“Yes,” he grumbled, “but you really should get paid for what you write.”
See why he is my Number One Fan? While I was being eaten alive by the mountain lion lovers (kind of ironic because I had a feeling most of them were vegan) he was the only one who was out there wanting to stick up for me, but he held back because it was my battle. I told him today that I learned an important lesson, which I should have remembered anyway. No matter how neutral you try to be, you can’t post in a Comment Section and expect NOT to be attacked by a hypocrite. Even when you are not looking for a fight, when you are only trying to state an idea or support something you believe, you WILL be attacked on a personal level. You will be cruelly judged by strangers, and it doesn’t matter what you say to defend yourself. Any further comments made in defense of yourself will only make the attacks worse. You just have to expect it in this day and age.
“But, I also learned this today;” I told my husband as we left a tip on the table before exiting the restaurant, “I don’t have to explain myself to anyone, especially not to total strangers in some random Comment Section. If I know who I am, that is good enough!”
Remember that people.