Much has been written the past few years about the anonymity of the internet and how it tends to bring out the worst in people. Of course, anyone who’s ever read an online article about a squirrel and a stray dog becoming best friends, then saw the 100 comments below it saying how squirrels are just like liberals sucking at the teet of the welfare state and the dog is like a typical Republican crawling with fleas, knows that to be true. I’m fully convinced there isn’t a topic left on earth that trolls can’t politicize. And I’m not just saying that because last year I saw a picture of a little girl who dropped her ice cream cone in the park and the first five commenters blamed it on Obamacare and the price of oil.
Of course, I’ve never really had the freedom of being anonymous online because I started this blog with my real name. Oh, how I sometimes wish I hadn’t done that and could instead hide behind a moniker like “Mommy Needs Panties” or “Our Lady O’Stretch Marks.” And, yes, I know I could start an account using a pseudonym, but considering it just took me 10 tries to spell “pseudonym,” it would probably prove way too complicated for me, anyway.
But using my real name is both a good and a bad thing, I think. Good because it stops me from leaving a comment in anger, then having another angry commenter look me up, find my address online and show up at my door ready to settle the score with their nunchucks and laissez-faire attitude toward authority. No, thank you. I’m far too busy giving my dog his 10th bath of the day to fend off an attack. Plus, my upper arm strength has really declined ever since my gym raised their monthly rate to $150 and I had to choose between Pilates and feeding my children.
But not being anonymous online is also a bad thing because it stops me from having a lot of fun. Like, A LOT of fun. For example, my neighborhood has a Facebook swap group where people post things they have for sale. And they post everything. Mattresses, jeans, shoes, designer purses—it’s like these people have never heard of throwing crap in your driveway and selling it all for a nickle and a can of pop.
There are also the occasional people-who-are-too-dumb-to-figure-out-Google posts in this group like, “Is there an Italian restaurant in our area?” or “What kind of snake is this wrapped around my leg? (see pic)” or “Where’s the nearest hospital? Please answer ASAP!!” Anyway, when I’m avoiding working on something, it’s fun to poke around on there, but I always have to stop myself from going on a Smartass Rampage and leaving comments like this:
After all, some of the people in this group live very near to me, so they wouldn’t even have to Google my address when they show up with their nunchucks. And it’s not like Teddy the Bichypoo offers any protection. Last week he licked the mail carrier’s shoe so much that she had to wipe it off with a Pottery Barn catalog. No, I’d have to mobilize Lola the cat to protect me from the meanie and then we’d be sued for feline mauling because she once tore a scorpion’s head off with just one claw. (I just reread that last sentence and I think I’ll sleep with the lights on tonight.)
I also have to restrain myself from trying to be funny in Facebook groups for things like the Mom 2.0 conference that I’m attending next week. In the weeks leading up to it, attendees post questions about the hotel, the schedule, what to wear, etc., so I’m always two seconds away from typing something like this:
Now, if you know me, you’d laugh. But if you didn’t, you’d hide behind a curtain and hiss, “Freak Freaky Freak” when you saw me heading your way in the hotel ballroom, then not hold the elevator for me. Which is too bad because I was totally going to let you dress Salvatore up in a napkin.
He looks so cute in white.
Please take a look at the video Shari Simpson and I made for Nickelodeon. “Every Working Parent Has These Moments.” It’s funny, I promise!