One of my favorite parts of writing this column – and pretty much the only reason I still do – is that I sometimes receive letters from angry people who want to fight me. I get the same sort of joy from reading these letters that Arthur Miller must have had when Marilyn Monroe went on a bender and married him.
A few years back, a man challenged me to wrestle him. Another time, a high school kid told me to “come find [him] after school” so he could “teach [me] what happens to little bitches.” Beloved Duluth folk singer Haley Bonar once wrote a letter to the editor calling me “an obvious idiot” and a “horny little moron.”
When I wrote last week’s column about creating a Facebook profile for a fictitious cat, I wasn’t really expecting a lot of violent threats. Creating a fake Facebook profile is about as controversial as sipping tea without testing the temperature first, or buying a bag of pears and not keeping the receipt. Alas, the combination of alcohol and the internet is a wonderful, wonderful thing. Observe this private message sent to my fake cat by a man named Donald:
“you are an idiot, my penis has more brains than you and your lame column…facebook is deleting people because of retards like you who make profiles for non existent people…I hope I see you around town, cause you need a tooth extraction via my knuckles”
Oh Donald. you magnificent bastard. I had nothing to write about this week until you floated into my life like a beautiful angel, delivering this glorious message. The lack of capitalization, the mention of your penis a mere six words into the rant, and your choice to end the letter with the phrase “via my knuckles.” It’s all so very kind of you. I’m more than thrilled to offer a thoughtful response.
First of all, before one calls other people idiots and retards, one should probably stop and ask themselves, “Am I making this claim while writing an angry letter to a pretend cat?” If the answer is yes, it might be wise to scrap that particular draft and start again.
Secondly, Facebook doesn’t delete accounts. Their entire business plan is based on having lots of accounts. The more users they have, real or fake, the higher valuation they get from douchy Wall Street people. If you were to poke Mark Zuckerberg non-sexually and report me for having 17 different accounts for fictitious barnyard animals, he’d probably send me a fruit basket as a thank you gift. That, or he’d ignore your message and continue banging expensive Taiwanese hookers.
Thirdly, I’m not sure that creating a fake Facebook account is really grounds for forcibly extracting someone’s teeth. If I slept with your wife or converted your mother to Islam, I could see some punching happening. It’s the American way, after all. If we were drunk at a bar in Minong, WI and I called your favorite Nascar driver a “homo”, I could also see a cause for violence. Such is the Minong way. But Facebook? Really? That’s where you’re making your big stand? I’ve spent nine years insulting people in this newspaper. Please remove my teeth for a reason that’s a little more interesting.
Since I prefer talking at people like Donald instead of with them, I merely replied to his message like a fake cat would, with, “Meow? Meow.” He replied back the next day and said, “my bad….I knew you were to stupid to have anything to comeback with.”
Interesting. This was a day later, so obviously my theory of him being drunk was wrong. Now that it was clear he was an actual doofus instead of just a temporary one, I pushed for another rant by replying a few more times. Each message was some variation of “Meow? Barf.”
The next day, I received the following reply: “i’m sorry…I was just venting.”
Apparently, pretend cat barf triggers something in Donald that makes him remorseful. I’m not a psychologist, but I believe there’s a slight possibility that Donald believed he actually was messaging a real cat on Facebook. Perhaps his own cat is an agitator, and when he saw the Facebook profile, he assumed his own cat had been using his computer with permission.
I know if I had a cat, I’d be pretty pissed if it used my laptop without permission. I’d put a post-it note on my laptop that said, “Donald’s computer – no cats allowed!!!” Then I’d teach my cat to read so the note wouldn’t be a waste. Then I’d explain to my cat how making a Facebook profile to network with other cats is much less effective than a LinkedIn profile. Especially if you’re just looking for sex.
I was going to delete the profile for my fake cat – which has more friend requests than I do actual friends on Facebook, by the way – but perhaps I’ll keep it up for a while, just for Donald. Y’know, in case he needs to vent.