An honour to a man is cessation from strife, And every fool intermeddleth. Proverbs 20:3 YLT
In a setting where I should have been mindful of the proverb above, I stupidly let a troll hook me. Unlike the chuckle-headed ‘keyboard warrior’ who, uninvited, visited his bogus wisdom upon our congregational Facebook page, this fellow was actually present in the real world. I let him hook me with loud talk disparaging in general terms the work I do. Was the guy trying to troll me or was he just mouthing off? Dunno – it’s hard to say – but I tend to think it was deliberate.
My errors? One – responding to the troll at all. Two – instead of leveling with the guy and letting it go, I took a snarky tone and argued the merits of my profession. The troll in question is really good at arguing and spends a lot time doing it at a semi-professional level whereas I am considerably less expert. So, I can’t chalk up the encounter as a “win” for me. This fellow ended by questioning whether I am actually a Christian, claimed his definitions of terms were the only valid definitions, and he tried to police my speech – the way I verbalize and conceptualize my scriptural understanding.
I remember trying to have friendly exchange of opposing ideas with a lesbian activist, back in the 1990s, and that woman during our discussion continually tried to police my speech, redefine terms to align with her beliefs. I found that exchange less than satisfactory and approach to disputation unsettlingly similar to that used by the master-debater mentioned above.
Does the “win-lose” thing matter? Nope, it really doesn’t. Does the other guy’s estimation of my faith, my conceptualization of scriptural issues and my speech matter? Nope – his opinion is of no value.
What I did right? One – I listened to what the guy said and took some reflective time to evaluate it later. Two – during the encounter, I tried to address big-picture issues rather than get drawn into tedious disputation of minutiae. Three – although I disparaged his work – that of a would-like-to-locate-more-financial support religious professional whose paying gigs have failed or were in jeopardy whose basic presentation is that of a high pressure salesman – I didn’t lose my temper. Four – I didn’t submit to the master-debater’s demands that I adhere to his conceptualization of Christianity and scripture. Five – I discussed the matter with my friend – the congregation’s pastor – honestly and self-critically – and likewise discussed it with my wife and best friend. And, except for this blog post wherein I don’t name names, I’ll leave it at that.
Sick? Ugh. I Hate Getting Sick.
Then, the next day – Monday, while at work I succumbed to a January illness – headache, sore joints, nausea. Barfed at work got to the doctor’s office, spent Tuesday at home and returned to work Wednesday morning. After a course of antibiotics, I felt a lot better. At least it wasn’t flu, but it kept me out of the gym for longer than I like. It’s been too cold here in Southern Middle Tennessee for me to do any bike-riding, so I’ve switched over to weight training to maintain some level of fitness.
Skunks Under the House
And skunks – we were plagued by one or more skunks under the house, lived with and carried their stink to our workplaces and school. Amazing the way the human olfactory system can adjust to the horrific. After a relatively lengthy and expensive intervention, our home is again skunk, and largely stink, free.
Yesterday, Friday 2 February, my car had a flat tire at the office. Yay. Reinflated it, got it repaired, didn’t cuss. Hoping to get a bike ride, today.