The horror. The horror.
I have been aware of online bullying as a cultural phenomenon for five or six years, maybe a little more, and must tell you the truth; I was unimpressed by, even callous to, the plight of the victims. I understood that it must not be very fun but unlike real bullying, a boy or girl can disappear from online without a trace, no? Snapchats can be deleted, email addresses changed, Facebooks made very private and, like that, the tormentors pushed into outer darkness.
For yesterday I tasted the sharp, pointy stick of an online bully and it will likely take some therapy for me to open my inbox without wincing in fear for years to come. Allow me to tell you the story.
It was a day like any other though more stormy than usual with gusty winds and threatening clouds. I woke with the first light, went downstairs to make some coffee and my kindergarten-age’d daughter breakfast and flipped open my computer screen. First I read news from the exciting world of wave pools then I scooted over to [email protected] to see what the morning might hold.
Things seemed normal initially. Emails from Derek Rielly, emails from our exciting new filmers, emails from the World Surf League announcing a longboarding event in Taiwan but then a shiver ran up my spine.
The Inertia Fam: Subscription Confirmed
Every sinew in my hands revolted but conditioning won the match and I clicked.
The Inertia Fam
Your subscription to our list has been confirmed.
For your records, here is a copy of the information you submitted to us…
If at any time you wish to stop receiving our emails, you can UNSUBSCRIBE HERE
I mashed the button until blood oozed from my littlest finger. My daughter asked, “What’s wrong, Daddy?” in between bites of pasture raised egg yolk and Eggo waffle and shrieked when I looked up to respond. My face, I realized, was a frozen mask of horror. A twisted and dark visage.
The Inertia Fam? I honestly hate trendy words, like “fam” and hate them worst when they are very clearly 3 years past their pull-by date, vaguely urban and used exclusively by white people. Fam. “Hey, fam!” “What up, fam?” “Yo, fam!”
The Inertia Fam. An online bully had made me part of The Inertia Fam even if only for a few seconds.
After I dropped my daughter off at school, I came home and took an extra long shower trying to wash The Inertia Fam off but no matter how vigorously I scrubbed, I could still feel it on me. Like an ugly pair of OluKai flip flops. Like a smarmy, meaningless smile.
It took much pacing and more vodka for me to return to my computer as the sun was dipping into the cloud wreathed sea. A wasted day, work-wise, but I couldn’t be chased from my domain. I had to master once again so back to [email protected] and my eyes, like magnets, fell upon the subject line This week in SUP: 11/30/18. The sender?
I haven’t slept a wink and am planning on calling Ms. Melania Trump neé Knavs, who heads up an anti-cyberbullying task force, to beg for help once I find my voice.