On Halloween, I almost punched a 15-year-old in the face.
For being too old for candy handouts? No, although I filled bags of several kids who nearly looked me in the eye (I’m an even six feet).
The almost-right-hook occurred at a Russian Circles concert, a band I mentioned in a post last month that talked about noxious online commenting boards. That plea for digital civility, I realize, is almost entirely in vain. A (sizeable) portion of Internet goers will forever create malevolent content or critique it with equal spite.
Excitable teenagers will always shove you to get close to their musical idols and thrash their bodies in untimely mosh pits, both of which shift you far from your original position that you “earned” by an early arrival.
But what can be done? Are you going to pull the young culprit aside and give him or her a stern talkin’ to about manners? Or maybe, like I was tempted, would you unleash a tornado of violence? Think about how that would end.
Timmy the high school freshman could have six buddies who jump you in return. Maybe the band members saw your flying fists and ostracize you from the venue. Better yet, the police cuff you for assaulting a minor.
Probably not worth it. The annoyance, at first consequential, is truly empty and fleeting.
Take a few steps back and continue enjoying Russian Circles.
Scan the foul words online, scoff and move on. Retaliation in haste is not only exhausting; it begs further eruptions and stress. It’s unfortunate to sacrifice intellect and gain enemies. You know the content you want, so absorb it and don’t submit to naysayers’ attempts to sour its taste.
However, I do hope my Starburst somehow tasted terrible for those six-foot-tall trick-or-treaters.
Ryan Arnold | @ryarnold