Thomas Wictor



I did it. Through sheer willpower, I’ve broken the last of my really bad habits. This was one of the most corrosive. It’s been several days now, and I’m still clean. The detox worked.

After changing so much about myself that I didn’t like, I couldn’t stop going on a particular Website and fighting with strangers about three or four bees in my bonnet. I won’t reveal what they are other to say that they’re memes that drive me crazy. When people repeated them, I mocked mercilessly. I have several lists of facts on my computer desktop, which I no longer need to access because I’ve memorized them. What I’d do is impeach people who repeated these memes.

“If what you’re saying is true, then why—?” And I’d reel off a fact that would demolish the meme and leave the repeater looking like an idiot.

I have an account on that Website. The way it’s set up, people leave comments on your page or send you private messages. Here’s one of the messages I got:

jew pig

—————where do you live in socal you dirty kike……i actually am living out in compton right now with my cousins and we got lots of toys for your jew ass…….ak/47s, mac 10s and 11s, and a street sweeper…….give me your address and I’ll come thru you little jew bitch……actually you’re probably too scared to let me know where you live…so how bout this..i’ll tell you EXACTLY where i stay……you can find me on comptons eastside…right across from (redacted) off (redacted) and (redacted)……i’m on the (redacted) block housing projects and my unit is (redacted)…..we be out front all day and night so if you got the balls 2 roll thru….come see me jew…put your money where your mouth is and i guarentee i’ll put you in an oven…ha hahhhh!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Lets do this!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

You’re asking yourself, “Why in the name of Poseidon would you engage people like that?”

Hate. I hate them. So I took great pleasure in mocking them, taunting them, and making them grind their teeth in impotent rage. When they were reduced to sending me death threats or blocking me, I counted that as a victory.

Utterly pointless and unhealthy. I hated them so much that my confrontations induced rotational vertigo attacks. There was no question that I had to stop, but it was impossible. I’d go on every day and fight about the same things over and over. It was more than a habit; it was an addiction.

And then one evening, I just said, “Enough.” I stopped cold turkey. As of right now, I have no urge to go back. It’d reached a crescendo of ugliness and negativity. I could easily admit to myself that I did it only to be destructive, to assault those I consider despicable and repulsive and who assault others. The challenge was to be even more toxic than they were. So I had to stop.

Years ago I used to watch high-speed car chases on TV. They were my guilty pleasure. One chase began after a guy held up a store with a spear gun. He escaped in a small red pickup and tried to run over some cops, who fired on him. It wasn’t clear if they hit him or not. He kept going for an hour or so and then stopped in the middle of the freeway. When he got out, he was covered in blood. He’d been shot so many times and lost so much blood that he could only shuffle. The cops shouted at him to put up his hands, but he couldn’t. Both his shoulders had been hit. His knees kept buckling as he stood there, begging them to help him.

The cops approached and gently led him to a patrol car, as though he were a lost child. They couldn’t cuff him because of his broken shoulders. Besides, he was about two-thirds dead.

I thought, What am I doing? Watching some shot-up, knee-buckling, broken-shouldered, begging, almost-dead guy as entertainment? I never watched another chase again. That was at least fifteen years ago, probably longer.

Now I can say I won’t have useless, poisonous online fights anymore either. They served no purpose whatsoever. I didn’t get involved in them for any reason other than to mock and insult people I hate. Mocking and insulting them didn’t change anything. All it did was make me dizzy and nauseated. I’ve been aware for a long, long time that I had to stop, and now I finally have. It’s a great relief.

The reasons I hate(d) people like that is their brainlessness, their refusal to change, and their robotic quality. But what’s more brainless than fighting with people you know you can never reach and for whom you feel nothing but disgust? My own need to have these fights was itself a refusal to change. I knew that. I knew that. But I did it anyway. I may as well have been a robot myself, going through preprogrammed actions.

In the last year of his life, my father made a lot of out-of-the-blue admissions. It was his way of acknowledging his terminal illness, even though he also denied it to the end. I didn’t know he was terminally ill, but I suspected that something was very wrong with him, since he changed in appearance so radically. He became hairless, extremely feminine, and developed red apple cheeks. Tim and I thought it was an endocrinological collapse due to his completely out-of-control diabetes. In retrospect it was his stage-four, metastasized bone cancer.

Dad always made his admissions in the car. He was a monologist anyway, but in a car, his monologues turned into stream-of-consciousness performance art. When we were children, he insisted on perfect silence in the car, so it’s clear to me that his own parents did the same to him. All his life he slammed doors hard enough to break them. I therefore assume he was told to not slam doors. His mother slammed me on the back with her open palm a few times. It was amazingly painful, as though she’d burned me with an iron. Dad’s automotive performance art had to be rebellion against his long-dead, child-slamming mother.

One day in the car, about eight months before he died, Dad told me something that I won’t repeat. It surprised the hell out of me because it goes against everything I thought I knew about him, so repeating it would shock and horrify other members of my family and Dad’s family. The only relevant part is that he finished this admission by saying, “I knew I shoulda kept my mouth shut, but I didn’t.”

Not keeping his mouth shut cost him quite a lot. But this wasn’t really an admission of bad judgment. If I’d said anything in response to Dad’s monologue, he would’ve gotten defensive and then truculent. He was a master of preternaturally rude truculence. Someday I’ll tell the story of how his truculence almost made me hit him in the face with a shovel. Tim loves to imitate how I came over to his house to demand that he help me so that I wouldn’t murder our father.

None of this is relevant to my point.

My point is that I’m my father’s son. He knew he should’ve kept his mouth shut, but he didn’t. I’ve known for a long time that I needed to stop having online fights with insane strangers about things neither of us can change.

The difference between Dad and me is that my admission of failure is a real admission, and it’s led me to modify my behavior. The online fights are over for good. I can say that with perfect confidence, because I feel much better physically and mentally.

Refraining from online fights is a small step, but since I’m my father’s son, it’s the equivalent of fifty thousand miles for a normal human. I can go to bed tonight slightly improved from where I was when I got up this morning.


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