If you have a blog, or read blogs, or participate in web forums, then you know about anonymous posters (sometimes known as trolls) - people who have violent opinions but don't have the courage to identify themselves, so they post anonymously. On one of the forums I frequent, someone posted a diatribe against anonymous posters. Since I had to ride the bus to work today, I had some free time, and I composed a response to that diatribe. And since it's been a slow week on here, I'm gracing you all by re-posting it here:
"Hi, my name is Fairywench, and I…I was a Guest poster.
The first time was an accident – I had signed in, but then when I clicked “submit”, somehow it posted me as “Guest”.
I didn’t like it at first. I felt shaky and sort of nauseated. But then I noticed a tingly feeling in my dainty bits…
I didn’t do it too often at first, and I posted on many different web forums so no one would suspect. I posted here on Ian’s forum, and over at American Idol. I made the occasional anonymous blog comment, or posted over at HGTV. But never, ever on My Space! I had standards, after all!
But then one day, it wasn’t enough any more. I took the next step, and started calling in anonymously to conservative radio talk shows. I quickly went out of control, and started making deliberately inflammatory remarks – “I read at Daily Kos that Dick Cheney wears lacy underthings!”, or “I hear your sister baby-sits for Karl Rove!”…things like that.
Those were heady times, but after a bit, even that wasn’t enough. Soon I was flying cross-country to sit in the audience of daytime TV talk shows. I started with Ricki Lake, moved on to Jenny Jones, and eventually made it to Jerry Springer, of course. And always, ALWAYS in disguise. I had to take a second job as a phone sex operator to pay for air fare and costumes.
Then one day, I made the fateful decision to go on Oprah. I carefully donned my outfit – a pink sweatsuit with a teddy bear on the front, and a bad perm. The flight to Chicago was harrowing. I had to keep fending off helpful flight attendants who were worried because I was hyperventilating with anticipation.
Finally, I arrived. Luck was with me that day – Oprah’s guest was Dr. Phil! I waited patiently and then, when it was time for audience questions, I stood up and yelled “You’re a fraud, Dr. Phil! A fraud! You couldn’t tell a Paranoid Schizophrenic from a Paranormal Experience!”
Then I bolted. I ran out of the studio and down the hall. I could see the exit sign glowing at the end of the hall, and I ran furiously toward it, exhilarated by the knowledge of what I had done.
I was reaching for the door knob when a hand grabbed my arm. A security guard! I found myself being hustled down a long hallway and locked into a small, brightly lit room. I don’t know how long I had been sitting there, maybe forty-five minutes, when the door opened, and in walked Oprah herself.
“I can help you!” she said, and took my hand.
For three days and nights we stayed in that room, Oprah and I, with Oprah asking probing questions about my childhood, and me muttering “What’s your User Name? What’s your User Name?” over and over – a kind of mantra to keep from thinking about what she was saying.
But then, Oprah hit a nerve. There in that little room, surrounded by three days worth of empty fried chicken buckets and red soda bottles, Oprah asked me about the Red Hat Ladies. You know them – those “over-fifty” women who run around wearing red hats and purple dresses, to celebrate the fact that they’ve finally realized that no one can live their lives but them.
“That’s it!”, I sobbed. “I hate them! They’re so…STUPID! Them, and those guys who paint their faces blue at sporting events, and people who circle the parking lot for twenty minutes looking for a spot right by the door, rather than walk fifty feet to the store, and people who don’t use their turn signals! I just couldn’t take it any more…” I dissolved into a helpless puddle of tears.
I won’t go into the rest of it, just suffice it to say that, with the help of Oprah’s on-site counselors, over the next six months I found the strength to stop. It wasn’t easy, and every day is still a struggle, but I just take it one step at a time.
Oprah saved my life. And when I asked her how I could repay her, she told me to just do my best to keep others from starting down the same evil path I had traveled.
“Remember,” she said, “Friends don’t let friends post anonymously!”
Truer words were never spoken."