Reply Retribution

Phil Goldstein

I don’t do social media. Well, that’s not entirely correct, so I’ll clarify. Some years ago, there was a hot-button topic where I lived pre-Timnath. The issue was one about which I knew a great deal—perhaps the greatest deal—and the only way to participate in the uber-active comments in the local newspaper was via a Facebook account. Encouraged to weigh in on the discussion by some involved parties, I reluctantly joined Facebook.

However, upon my initial postings of what I thought was cordial, informed, and accurate commentary, I immediately experienced vicious, uninformed, and inaccurate return comments. I mean, how did they presume to know what my mother did for a living? I thus ceased commenting almost as soon as I’d begun, never again using social media or even accessing my Facebook account.

But that doesn’t mean that I still don’t read social media. But now, I do so solely for the entertainment value, primarily my fascination with people’s willingness to expose their foibles, follies, and faults in ways that make me wonder if they have any idea how silly they come across. My main focus for this amusement is a relatively new, hyperlocal social networking service, the comments on which include one’s name and neighborhood.

The following are several comments I’ve noted recently, unattributed and paraphrased, followed by what I might say if I did decide to again subject myself to the ‘reply retribution’ I experienced in my previous and futile attempts at constructive online dialogue:

Our whole family will be away on vacation from August 7-14. We’re looking for someone to water the flowers and pick up the newspapers.

“Nice going, lady. You just told the whole world that your house would be empty for a week. You better hope someone doesn’t pick up more than your papers.”

Our black lab jumped the fence again and ran away. If you see him, please call me.

“I haven’t seen him, but I suggest you get a taller fence or a shorter dog.”

Our garage is full, and the HOA is telling us that we can’t have all five of our cars parked outside. Is that fair?

“Did you read your HOA policies before you bought your property?”

I can’t understand how anyone is allowed to build more homes on the beautiful open space behind our house. Our realtor told us it would always be undeveloped.

“Yep, those darn realtors who will say anything to make a sale in one of the fastest developing regions in the country.”

We live on a golf course. An errant shot broke one of our windows, and the golfer didn’t come over and offer to pay for the damage. What should we do?

“You should move next to an airport and then complain about the noise.”

I’ve gotten two speeding tickets in the last month driving through town. Does anyone else think it’s unfair of the police to target residents just to make a buck?

“No, I think it’s unfair that you target residents with your speeding car.”

My son left his car unlocked, forgot to pay his insurance premium, and all his expensive computers were stolen. I’ve set up a GoFundMe site. Please help.

“Sure, the check’s in the mail.”

Send me comments on social media that you find amusing. I may make this a regular feature!

Phil Goldstein is in his fourth year writing Tales from Timnath for North Forty News. Phil is a 13-year Timnath resident who is finally using his West Virginia University journalism degree after getting sidetracked 50 years ago. The views expressed herein are Phil’s only. Contact him with comments on the column at [email protected].

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