The Unlikely Appearance of Grace On Twitter – Part 1

It started in the way that so many troll-attacks have started on my Twitter-feed of late: a comment that my profile picture was “ridiculous”. Being that the commenter’s profile pic was a doleful-looking canine, my knee-jerk response was: “Said the dog.”

What followed was the usual sussing-out of whether this attacker was one of the usual Trump-trolls, just having a bad day, or making a joke that I was taking way too seriously. We bantered a bit, sparring over why he had come to my Twitter feed to make a disparaging comment when I hadn’t even been aware of his, and seemed to be on the verge of blocking each other or engaging in full-out war.

My pet-peeve is when someone sees a post I made on someone else’s FaceBook or Twitter feed, then proceeds to criticize or insult me. That’s what raises my ire, because I have not tagged them or gone on their respective page to do such a thing. I’m trying to be more understanding about that, as more often than not it’s just done to get a rise out of me or gain some notice that their limited number of followers could never provide.

This time around, the gentleman in question was responding in an occasionally-challenging but generally respectful manner, and I held my typical tendency to go on the offensive more or less in check. I’d been called worse than ‘ridiculous’ in the past, so when he said it seemed to have struck a chord with me, I realized he was right. For some reason it had. Maybe it was because he wasn’t just another hateful troll who was only out to hurt someone to make his own life feel less miserable. Those are easy to dismiss. This was someone who seemed to have a head on his shoulders, and based on a quick perusal of his photography, an appreciation for beauty, or at the very least a desire to capture something honest and truthful in this world. He was also battling some health issues, and seemed to be having a tough time because of that. We each have our demons, and even when being called names, I always remember this. A favorite line from ‘The Great Gatsby’ came suddenly to mind: “Whenever you feel like criticizing anyone… just remember that all the people in this world haven’t had the advantages that you’ve had.”

We paused in our exchange. Somehow, and maybe by a little miracle, we each seemed to have a moment of grace, timed fortuitously and at the perfect junction where we both let our guards down a bit. That rarely happens on social media, where arch-enemies are conjured as quickly and ferociously as friends, and none of it translates into the real world. Here was a time fraught with the possibility of breaking through that bullshit. I wanted to write a little apology to him for taking it so personally, but he wasn’t following me so I couldn’t direct message him, and I didn’t want to make it all so public.

Just then a notification popped up. He had just followed me.

{To be continued…}

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