I like to think that I have a thick skin. When your writing has been rejected hundreds of times, you learn to ignore ugly criticisms – otherwise, you’ll just end up quitting. Still, it hurts when someone makes a nasty comment on a Mr. Ass post, calling me a fool and a moron, and takes a swipe at the Nordic Warrior Queen besides, calling her a “helluva hellenic catch” for choosing to marry me.
According to the Bible, Jesus told his followers, “If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also.” These are wise words, certainly, and much smarter men than I have followed them – Martin Luther King, Gandhi, and Leo Tolstoy, to name a few; all adhered to the belief in a passive response to aggressive behavior.
Why then this urge to rant at the foolishness and ignorance of someone who doesn’t even know me? Someone who casts aspersion on others simply to make himself feel better, who can’t even punctuate a sentence properly, and mistakes the term Hellenic (which means Grecian, by the way) for Nordic?
I have his email address. The basest part of me wants to compose a blistering message, one that will knock this arrogant, illiterate asshole to kingdom come, make him think twice – and twice again – before posting unkind and false statements about people, and give him an unbearable stomachache of guilt and remorse. All I have to do is hit send, and then sit back, smugly vindicated.
But what good would it do, really? I might feel better for a few minutes. I might gain a small and fleeting sense of revenge, knowing that I’ve hurt him even more than he’s hurt me. Yet people like this never change. Worse, the whole thing could escalate. It could devolve into an ugly war of sticks and stones, wasting my valuable time for naught.
He could be the next Mark David Chapman, and one day I might hear a calm voice behind me call out, “Mr. Hanson,” just before the bullets tear into my spinal cord.
Stranger things have happened.
So that’s why I’m turning the other cheek. I’m going to ignore his small-minded remarks like I would the taunts from an elementary school bully, and practice nonviolent, love thy neighbor, Sermon on the Mount pacifism.
And then I’m going to head down to the public library, sign in using his email address, spend an hour or so creating accounts under his name on every spam-generating, popup-creating, adware-spawning Internet discussion forum I can find, and share what I imagine are his misguided opinions with every one of them.
The Bible also says, “An eye for an eye.” Apparently, even Jesus doesn’t put up with too much crap.