ailments, arrogance, commiserate, empathy, Flash Fiction, global, heal, health issues, Internet, life, living, local, personal, private, public, real, sharing, side-effects, social media, sympathy, tragedy, Virtual beasts
I open my Facebook page and begin to type on a purple background that matches my mood.
“Not feeling well. I have a summer cold that hasn’t gone away since last Wednesday. Now it’s further complicated by tendonitis or bursitis on my right wrist. Sry cant use apostrophes. My hand hurts, my nose is clocked blocked. I keep sneezing. Why do disasters come all at the same time?”
The coloured background changes to plain white as the wording is too long. I give up and post it, indulging in my misfortunes on the last days of August.
Replies pour in from friends who commiserate with me. “So sorry. Put ice on your wrist, use a muscle rub, take pain killers, rest it.”
Unable to comment on each post, I like their replies and use emojis to show my appreciation. Then a post appears from a group writer, with 3000 friends, against my 330. I never know why I’ve accepted his friend request. He never likes any of my posts and always brags about himself, stating his political and philosophical opinions as though he’s the tower of wisdom.
“What are you whining on about when there’s so much real tragedy in the world? Hurricane Harvey and Houston, Myanmar and ethnic cleansing, earthquakes, fascism, hunger, climate change, Florence approaching Earth? Shut up and don’t crowd my notifications with stupid posts. End.”
Tears well in my eyes, as my wrist throbs, the pain shooting up the arm towards my shoulder. Under normal circumstances, I’d write a response, but it’s too much trouble to spend the effort and go into a pointless argument with such a pompous scum. Maybe just as well – he doesn’t deserve a reply. Not even bothering to post an angry emoji, I unfriend the self-righteous bloke and log off. My real friends can call me if they want to hear my voice.
The word tragedy echoes in my mind as I ponder why some people behave in such abominable ways on the Internet. Does the virtual atmosphere give them more power than they have in real life? Are they insignificant, mediocre characters who aspire to be heroes and take centre stage in a make believe world?
Tragedies come in all sizes and shapes. From the Greek plays to Shakespeare, and contemporary stories. Murder, incest, complexes, unrequited love, loss, war, death, terrorism, natural disasters to environmental and health issues. From the personal to the global, we live under the threats of internal and external factors as our bodies suffer from their physical and psychological side-effects.
Millions of functions inside our outer shell are taken for granted until something goes wrong, and we’re unable to perform simple tasks. The left hand fails to replace the agility of the right hand, or the opposite, as we’re not ambidextrous. My personal tragedy is how I’m going to cope with the, hopefully, temporary dysfunction of my right hand when using utensils, opening and locking doors, washing my hair, and driving the car have become challenges. Maybe tragedy is an exaggerated word and should be replaced with misfortune, hardship, or trial to make the situation more realistic. Engrossed in the difficulties of my circumstances, accompanied by excruciating pain, how can I concentrate on the real tragedies in the world? I need to heal myself, before I attempt to heal or commiserate with others.
I don’t wish to be remembered as a moaning, self-centred person, yet we forget when we make a public post on social sites, the repercussions go beyond our intentions, presenting some of the virtual beasts with the opportunity to criticize and humiliate us.
Rule: Don’t share private matters on public sites and be sparse with stating your opinions.
Reminder: Get that terrace door fixed before you damage your wrist permanently.