As many of you know, I’ve been having computer problems of late, which made writing and posting both my column and my blog an “adventure” (why, yes, those are air quotes, thanks for asking!).
I finally ended up having to buy a new computer—because obviously I hadn’t had enough unexpected expenses this year—and have spent the last few days setting the new one up and deciding what I must salvage from my old laptop. And then there’s all that catching up on feeds.
While I don’t really participate in social media much beyond my blog posts, I do follow several bloggers, many of whom, if they weren’t already, have become friends. Since all I had at home was a mini-tablet with limited memory, I was more or less cut off from updates.
Getting back online was an eye-opening experience. My WordPress feed was no surprise except for some of the developments in online friends’ lives. The Google+ feed, on the other hand …
I only check Google+ a couple of times a week at most because once you get started reading comments on some posts (generally anything on politics or from CERN or NASA), you’re down the rabbit hole … and with no cute baby bunnies to make you feel better.
Trolls abound, as well as hard-line ideologues who brook no disagreement and spout an endless stream of beyond-tired talking points and insults (drinking the Kool-Aid, Rethuglicon, libtard) at anyone who displeases them. Sure, some of it is highly entertaining, but more often, it’s just sad, especially when the “debate” devolves into “did nots,” “did toos,” “moron,” or “idiot” … or starts out that way.
I’ll admit I do find it amusing every time I read partisans’ descriptions of the other side, especially from those who pronounce absolutes that, from a realistic perspective, well … have no relation to reality. Well, at least no reality any sane person wants to be a part of …
A few things I’ve learned:
- Some people just don’t get sarcasm and will always take it the wrong way. And their reactions usually are not funny, unlike when Sheldon is confused by it on Big Bang Theory.
- For hard-core partisans, “far-left” or “far-right” is anybody even slightly left or right of their position. The more oblivious among them actually believe that the other side is never described in such terms by their side. Um … yeah, they are … even moderate liberals are often called, if not far-left, then “leftist,” “socialist,” “Marxist,” or “communist”; on the right, there’s “Teapublican,” “fascist,” “Teavangelical,” etc. It brings to mind that admonition about removing the plank from your own eye before trying to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.
- Science is cool, exciting, mysterious, political, conspiratorial, heretical, dangerous, bunk, apocalyptic, etc. … at least judging from the comments generally left on the NASA and (especially) CERN feeds. It makes me truly sad for the state of science education. For that matter, English/grammar education is in bad shape too, judging from the ubiquitous spelling and other errors. Then there’s math, history, civics …
- Fear of various conspiracies (New World Order, ISIS invading through Mexico, Building 7, fluoride, etc.) is epidemic … and a lot of these people apparently can neither take a joke, nor understand how CapsLock works. And no, it’s not a good idea to present evidence disproving said conspiracies … they won’t believe you’re not a government plant. Besides, all that “evidence” is obviously fake anyway.
- An awful lot of people out there must have terrible peripheral vision, what with those blinders they have for everything that falls outside their realms of belief. That might explain a lot of traffic accidents, ya know. There are at least a few writers I suspect of having to drive in circles simply because they can’t turn left, or maybe have their shoes specially made so they don’t have to wear a “left” shoe, which is, of course, in league with the devil.
- Cats (especially mine) are adorable and hilarious. But you knew that. And so are baby bunnies, and baby ducks, and …
If you’ll excuse me, I think I’ll go see if the bird-chasing baby bunny (yes, seriously) in my backyard has returned. I need a dose of cute.
And now, let me be serious for a moment. Like probably most of you, I have family members who were in the military, and I always think of them on Memorial Day. Most were lucky to serve in peacetime, but my maternal granddad’s time in the Navy was during World War II, on a hospital ship. While he was at sea, my grandma, mom and uncle lived in California.
Grover Pinkney Terrell was stationed on the USS Hope in the Pacific (although a handwritten ledger of crew members records him as C.P., rather than G.P. Terrell), but like many veterans from that era, he wasn’t given to talking much about his experiences on the ship. A few years after he died in 2003, my brothers and I found a small notebook in a cache of foreign bills and coins Grandpa had saved from various ports. In that notebook, we found a short, spare accounting of events on the ship; even with those few words, though, it felt like he was there with us. It made me miss him all the more.
Hug a veteran on Monday. Heck, hug one every day.