Fear and Loathing on Twitter

My dream was to begin the year with a gripping tale of derring-do, a story about how, while in exile on the Cornish coast, I was pulled into a world of smugglers, a lost diamond and crypts flanked with alcoves containing the skeletal remains of 18th century pirates. The story wouldn’t have included those elements literally you understand, rather by association, with a tale of how I romanced the great great granddaughter of John Meade Faulkner, author of Moonfleet. I’d have told you how she snared me with a matching pair of pink hemispheres and later took me back to Falwyn, a converted lime plaster and thatch 12th century farm house on the coast of the River Fal, won from Lord Falmouth in a game of mahjong.

In the story you were to have been told, we’d have enjoyed a lost weekend, making love to the early hours on a velvet spread (not a euphemism, she’d been with someone before) and later, with a tabby called Francis purring to the sound of our laughter, we’d make things up, being silly and fancy-free, sampling each of her collection of decadent hot chocolates and intermittently rolling around naked between sips. It was, you’d have read, the most wonderful few days of my life.

Unfortunately, because reality is a wicked stepmother that locks you away from your dreams and has you scrubbing the floor of a dank basement while it entertains upstairs, I can’t tell you this story. Instead, my year began with an unpleasant event; the unwanted attentions of a middle-aged man high on his own tweets, whose delicate worldview was shattered in an instance of effrontery that pulled a thread in his mind and caused his entire personality to unravel. A hate campaign ensued and it ended with the hitherto celebrated world of social networking, famed for its considered and high brow debate between the web’s intelligentsia, diminished, possibly fatally undone.

It came from the Internet

It began in the dying days of last year. There I was, on Twitter, normally a place for kind and good-humoured people to congregate, having a tweet during cot-death docusoap EastEnders, when one user, whom we’ll call Septimus Sheckles (not his real name) sent me a direct message, invisible to the Twitterati, which read “Ever heard of tweeting too much?” I’d heard of it alright, I just didn’t know what it had to do with me.

Twitter, as you may have heard, isn’t a mandated punishment for petty crimes or junior sex offences; it’s a voluntary, opt-in system for communicating with people in a light-hearted manner. When you opt to follow someone, the assumption is that you’ve done so because you’ve encountered their output and have decided that what you’ve read are closer to epigrams than wasted characters. Anyone can make a mistake of course, which is why you can unfollow a person with the click of the button at no extra cost.

I’m one of those people that has a real problem with unprovoked rudeness. In the real world I studiously avoid the socially retarded, like my G.P Doctor Sketty, imagining any such behaviour to be symptomatic of degeneracy. There is, as far as I’m concerned, no excuse for it, except of course when I do it, in which case it’s your fault.

The web makes glibness and sniping under the cloak of anonymity easy like never before but just because you can indulge in your darker instincts without consequence, doesn’t mean you should. Sheckles’ remark struck me as unpleasant, like a stranger walking up to you in the pub and saying “has anyone ever told you you’re ugly as bollocks?” Who was this faceless frigoid, questioning my tweeting habits? Didn’t he know there were millions of tweeters who’d put out double or even triple the amount of tweets I had in the same period of membership? Wasn’t he aware that instances of tweeting tend to rise when people are collectively commenting on a communal experience, like watching a show on the drool box?

Fairness aside, I tried to bat it away with good grace, remarking that I had heard of overtweeting and not only that “I’d been to a couple of their gigs.” Yes, that’s right, I thought, neutralise the spite with something akin to humour, that’s the way to deal with it. Sheckles however, was aghast. He was being mocked now, mocked and dismissed and who was this bastard, this arrogant surrealist buffoon who’d taken his rude but carefully constructed critique and torn it up without first addressing it, like someone who’d been interested in his opinion would have done?

The mittens were off, the hands unsheathed and his grubby digits were now depressing the keys with fury. “You’re an idiot aren’t you?” he asked, not bothering with direct messaging now but going straight to public view. Yeah, that’s right, he’d show me – humiliate me in front of my peers with a full-blown denunciation of my so-called wit. I was an idiot – thwack, I was, wasn’t I – POW; it was a nightmare, I was being beaten by Lennon and McCartney’s fool on the hill. Weirder still I wasn’t a real person myself, I’m a fictional construct, a man made of string, put together in the mind of a beautiful twenty four year old girl but the thing is I love Ed Whitfield, he’s my character and I don’t like it when people attribute negative characteristics toward him that I didn’t think of myself.

Well, I had to strike back. Yes, it should have been left at that – we’d said it all, his views were out there, now was my moment to reflect and possibly forever alter the way I conducted myself online. I could go back to tweeting as before following this incident, but to do so seemed ridiculous. This man had torn my online persona in half and laid bare permanent and fatal errors. However, I was too angry at this personal attack to desist. I felt, wrongly I know, that Septimus Sheckles had shown himself to be a guileless, crude, self-righteous keystroker, lacking in the most basic humility, who’d therefore earned the worst epithet that you can bestow upon anyone after ‘pinchfist’. “Well,” I replied, “better an idiot than a cunt!” BOOM – and I was back on the front foot, my words colliding with his ego like a boxer’s fist against a glass jaw. What a moment!  I’d slaughtered him, eviscerated the poor wretch. Where once there’d been a man there was now only guts and sinew – a twitching carcass.

Each passing second would now be crucial. In any argument, especially a petty and pointless one rooted in nothing, all that matters is primacy. Sure, I’d ruined the dude, left him weeping and wordless at his man seed encrusted terminal, but in order to prevail I now had the have the last word. Yes, it matters kids, because killing someone’s right of reply, particularly someone you’ve just insulted, is the worst thing you can do to them, especially if their worldview is built on sand. Sheckles, having provoked the row, had to prevail. If not it’d ruin his evening. He’d lie next to his wife and she’d stroke his member but alas, it would remain flaccid and pale, like a flap of dead skin, and she’d wonder why, because usually he’d be pumped fresh from the web, high on the misogynist fantasies that constituted the bulk of his online subscriptions, subscriptions she knew nothing about. He had to prevail and I had to stop him. So I blocked him, cut off the supply lines and in so doing ensured that his reign of error was over; truncated like the monarchic ambitions of Edward VIII. With a single click of the mouse, Septimus Sheckles was history. I’d won. This was my greatest personal triumph since winning first prize in the 1984 New Romney Sands Holiday Village Sandcastle Competition*. It felt good.

And then he came back.

*The first prize in the 1984 New Romney Sands Holiday Village Sandcastle Competition, which my Dad and me did actually win, was a bucket and spade. It struck me as disappointing at the time because I already owned one of each. In fact, said tools were crucial in enabling us to win the competition in the first place.

Bandit Country

This blog is linked to my Twitter account. This is the for the simple reason that it is my personal scroll and my Twitter account represents me, or at least a version of me, so the two are natural bedfellows.

Septimus, already a self-proclaimed expert in my tweets and my corresponding deets, had used the link to find this blog and now utilised the comment facility, open to one and all for the purposes of continuing the conversation with you, the people, to beat Twitter’s fuckwit firewall and launch a new front in his unwinnable war.

Minutes after the blocking had occurred, I logged into this very blog and found the following freshly minted comment waiting, appropriately, in the “unapproved” column, late of a made up e-mail address.

“Thanks for blocking me you fat gay twat, saved me the trouble. Arse bandit.”

Now, a few things struck me about this remark. First of all you’ll note Sheckles’ apparent desire to block himself. He’d read his own tweets and hated them. We could have been allies. I lamented the lost opportunity. Second, the unquestioned assumption that both being fat and gay are insults. We all understand, because we’re people of the world, that not everyone shares an enlightened sensibility and that, in extremis, the playground prejudices of people come to the fore but come on Sep, where’s the imagination?

I didn’t know how old Mr Sheckles was of course, but if he was say, 52 or thereabouts, as his picture suggested, then this would be a pretty ridiculous thing for a grown man to say. I couldn’t even enjoy the backward assumption, implicit in this insult, that I was both thin and heterosexual and therefore likely to take offense at being described as my opposite, because to do so would be to buy in to his view that either was intrinsically better than the alternative.

You can’t and shouldn’t generalise about people, Sheckles might have been a sophisticated soul who chose, because he eschewed pretention, to talk like a man of average to low intelligence who lacked formal education, like Russell Brand and his estuary English. Still, I had my suspicions.

I knew nothing of the man, but assuming he was educated to University level as his bio claimed, why reinvent obesity and homosexuality as the worst things of all? I’d used the word cunt to describe him, that’s what you’ll say, and isn’t cunt a word that hates women? Well I don’t think so, no, I think it’s been reclaimed as a catch-all term for a degenerate, an uber-degenerate with little or no redeeming qualities. It hates people who’ve never had an original thought in their lives. Just as no-one calls you a bastard these days while attaching any value judgement to your parentage, I think people understand that cunt is an insult that describes a disposition, not an anatomical area, and consequentially it’s not the same as either “fat” or “gay”, which are insults that consciously relate the condition they ascribe to an individual as a pejorative.

Oh blog readers, I should have left it there. Why didn’t I? I’d won the moral victory, surely? But I felt Sheckles’ followers needed to know what a hateful louse he was. This was a risky strategy because adopting the principle that people gravitate toward those they feel some affinity with, Septimus’ followers might have thought as he did, thus undermining my noble intent. Mind you, he’d been following me so maybe there was hope. I couldn’t send my new best friend a message from my own Twitter account because as mentioned, I’d blocked him, so instead I set up an alternative, which would obviously be me as I was about to refer to his private message, and sent my response in a bid to publicly embarrass him, in which I suggested that his irrational fear of obesity and homosexuality might relate to a childhood incident, possibly a violation, perpetrated by a portly member of the family, say his Father. Well, there went the moral victory, still the high ground’s overrated don’t you think?

Returning to Sheckles’ twitter stream also allowed me to take a look at activity that had occurred in my absence. He’d been busy, telling his followers that I was “probably in a civil partnership or something” (the shame of it!) and that I should keep my stupid opinions to myself, in contrast to his own which he championed. He also voiced his sincere hope that I’d “die of cancer” which read as disgusting but perhaps he had a recently deceased cancer stricken relative in mind that had passed away peacefully, surrounded by topless dancers.

Hey, can’t I be a victim too?

We’d had a good bit of knockabout but now came an unfortunate postscript. The following day, again from a different e-mail address, I had a new message via the blog, this time my theories about Sheckles’ childhood disturbance quoted back at me. Given the insight I’d packed into each sentence, carefully filleting his mind with my psychical scalpel and peeling back each layer of prejudice in a performance that surely rivalled that of Fitz in Cracker, I was surprised that my words had been batted back without some acknowledgment that they’d uncovered a long suppressed truth, getting a family secret out into the open, long suspected but never spoken of, and serving to explain a lifetime’s aversion to sodomy. There wasn’t so much as a thank you. “What goes around comes around,” was all he’d added. Ah, so that was his game – kill me with clichés.

He didn’t want me to die of cancer after all.

My communication with Sheckles up to that point suggested he was crude and rude but now came evidence that he was also a serial fantasist and poster boy for denial, though he’d probably refute as much. His Twitter biography, those few sentences that people use to describe themselves on the network, had shown that he misunderstood how self-deprecation worked. He’d labelled himself both “a liar” and “a simpleton”, not realising that these were only jokes if they had no basis in truth. He now proved their veracity by adding the label “victim of cyber-stalking.” Huh? Victim of cyber-stalking?! It took me a few hours but I came to realise that he was referring to me and my response to his homophobic attack.

This is a little like someone sleeping with your girlfriend and then, when you find out and confront them, being accused of interfering in their relationship. Ah, you say, is this blog post ever going to end?, but you also say, wasn’t this just a naked attempt at gaining sympathy from his followers? He knew it wasn’t true but you’d given him a pretext upon which he could claim the moral high ground that he manifestly wasn’t entitled to and rally those that didn’t know better to his dishonest cause.

Well, you’d be right, if the lie was confined to the bleating gannets that populated his timeline but astonishingly, despite presumably being present when he sent his original message and the hate-tweets that supported it, he now tried to convince me that I was victimising him. Having responded to his latest message with a promise that I couldn’t let him have the last word on principle and would continue to respond in kind until one of us died, an agitated and now intimidated Sheckles, responded with a threat to involve the police. “What you’re doing is illegal my friend,” he wrote the next morning, more out of hope than as a result of a detailed legal investigation, “I’ll be passing your name and address [my italics] to the police and my solicitor.”

Now if someone you didn’t know and had never given any personal information to, informed you that they had your home address, I hope you’d be alarmed. After all, I knew nothing about this man. Sure, I had a idea of what he looked like from his avatar – middle aged, indistinguishable in dress from someone 20 years younger, a gold chain around his neck, a t-shirt with a witless slogan on his torso and a face that was drawn and lifeless – disappointed eyes looking out via tiny glasses. Still, when I imagined his temperament I had to guess. Dehumanising him was key, because if I dared contemplate the possibility he was good fun, kind and salt of the earth, whatever that fucking means, then it’d be harder to report him. Thus, I saw a man with a password protected folder that his wife couldn’t open, a man who kicked cats that got under his feet as he walked to his car, a man who ogled girls his daughter’s age, a man who went to the pub with his mates and waxed lyrical about whatever group of vulnerable or disadvantaged people they felt like hating that week.

Such a man might be dangerous. Sure, he might have been a regular Joe, a simple soul who knew nothing of violence or anti-social activity, but why be optimistic when he’d crossed a line in making what I interpreted as a veiled threat? His doubt benefit had to be stopped – IDS style.

Perturbed though I was, I calculated that his inference was probably a bluff, a bid to frustrate any counter-attack. I knew the attempt to find my address was no bluff because a digest of search terms used to find my blog pages told me that someone had taken a sudden interest in my geographical location, but the idea he held my precise particulars seemed far-fetched and consequently I took to Twitter, like a cheeping lunatic, to call his bluff. “Some mentalist,” I wrote, “is trying to find out where I live. Well, good luck.”


You should never underestimate the tenacity of the committed web-pest. Sheckles, sane in his own mind but demonstrably disturbed to those in his cyber-sphere, took the challenge head on. I dare say he cancelled imbibing a six-pack of supermarket lager and beating his wife to commit additional hours to the task. The following morning, I awoke to find messages from a new Twitter account, in which I’d been mentioned. Each Tweet contained a separate piece of my personal data – an old address, a phone number, an e-mail contact. As this isn’t a stalkers guide I’ll decline to tell you how he found this information but it was elementary enough and my own fault for being ignorant about how and where certain details were stored. In any event, there it was. “See, I know where you live” read the message between the lines and having received and understood it completely, I downed my 99p chicken, pesto and blue cheese baguette, the toast of the New Mill Café (because they can’t do toast) and headed to the local police station.

Lukewarm Fuzz

Penzance police station on a Sunday afternoon is a lonely place. On a week night they may be busy processing hundreds of cowtippers, those bored youths that push over sleeping livestock to induce heart attacks, going on to slice open the undercarriage and hoard their stomachs as trophies, but on the day I walked in, the only activity was a bored desk sergeant brewing his own mead in a specially converted corner of his office, filling out something called an ‘SA2 form’. Sergeant’s alcohol perhaps?

I’d walked there with due speed, imagining that with every passing second my new web friend got closer to my front door, perhaps with a group of neck-free Neanderthals in tow. On arrival, I looked flustered and was slightly out of breath, as though I’d been running from a rapist, and so the first few seconds of the conversation were staggered and difficult. It had all gone Colin Firth.

“H-hi, I’m be-been, ah, sorry, hang on, I’m been on the re-re-receiving end of cyber-stalking.”

“Cyber what?”

“Stalking, you, ah, you know, online harassment.”

“Oh right, well you better tell me the particulars then.”

I know that makes the desk sergeant sound like a constable from a black and white film but I swear to you that is what he actually said.

Having described the chain of events, and with my laptop strapped to my shoulder in case anyone cared enough to review the evidence, I was eventually directed to an anteroom. Enter a young buck whose police uniform made him look like a boy whose mother had dressed him with too many layers. He could barely move, such was the awkward amount of bulk that he’d taken on. One sympathised.**

So the tale was told again but this time to someone with little interest in the details. PC Shears, for that was his name, no really, tried to reassure me that the man was a dunce, because he knew dunces, who’d get bored fast and went on to recommend that I cease all contact with him immediately, and by the way what was a computer? Maybe he was right, Sheckles and I were just too different, but what about the hunting down of address details, wasn’t that the online equivalent of searching through the phone book, ripping out the page with the person’s name on it, circling their address, going there, writing “I know where you live” on the back in red pen, despite having demonstrated as much by circling the address and finding the house, and stuffing it through their letterbox? Surely the fact that information existed somewhere didn’t alter the threatening way the data had been used?

“Well, the thing is, unless we know who he is, we can’t really do anything.”

“Can’t you find out? I mean, you’re the police, you’ve got resources to do this sort of thing, no?”

“Ah, well we don’t deal with this sort of thing directly, have you reported it to tweeters?”

“Twitter. Yes, they say if you’re worried about a tweet, report it to the police.”

“Oh, right.”

The conversation went on in a similar vein for twenty punishing minutes and noting that PC Shears hadn’t made a single note, despite my hectoring tone and wild gesticulation, just a doodle of a man fellating a bull, I brought it to a close, hoping to go home and complete my baguette.

“If we know who he is,” said Shears, shading the Bull’s scrotum, “we can do something. If not, you’ll just have to hope it stops but if you hear from him again, come back and we’ll see what we can do.”

That’s right, the police had told me that if I wanted to relieve myself of my web-stalker, I’d need to stalk him and find out all his private details. Your taxes paid for that advice.

There were approximately 297,416 reasons to feel despondent, after all what hope did I have of identifying a man who hadn’t had the decency to put his name, address and telephone number onto his Twitter bio? Though down, I now felt empowered to act, after all just because the police were too lazy to investigate, that didn’t mean I had to forget about it; there was a madman on the loose…in my mind.

I took to WordPress, informing Sheckles of my visit to the police, embellishing the details with official sounding phrases like “crime incident report number” that I’d heard on The Bill and vague allusions to some crime of harassment. I had no idea what I was talking about of course and Septimus, monitoring my Twitter account of what happened for the latest news on his hate campaign, sensed as much, goading me from the safety of his proxy with talk of “what’s the charge?” and “information’s in the public domain”, which to his mind meant that its acquisition for malevolent purposes couldn’t be considered a threat.

In fact I was correct about the criminal nature of Sheckles’ activities, I just didn’t know it until 24 hours later when a friend of mine helpfully sent me the relevant statute. It transpired that my web-pest had committed an offence under Section 1 of the amended Malicious Communications Act 1988.

His ‘I know where you live’ tweets constituted “a threat” in conjunction with his previous messages, as defined by my Right Honourable friends. My replies did not, because I could show that they were an attempt to “reinforce a demand made on reasonable grounds.” In other words, when I’d told Sheckles to piss off or I’d keep replying to his unwanted messages, I was attempting to dissuade him from his unreasonable conduct and so legally, I was on the right side of the law.

My digi-albatross, if found guilty, in lieu of my archive of tweets and e-mails, was looking at up to 6 months in prison, a fine or both, which seemed harsh but then surely a fair bit of that is for the unofficial but universally accepted crime of being a cunt.

**I’m allowed to make fat jokes at my own expense, it’s only when one of you does it that it becomes wrong and sinister.

So what have we learned?

In a way that attributes gratitude without actually meaning it, I’m grateful to my web-menace for reminding me that not all social networking is benign. Twitter in particular should be treated with some small measure of caution. Unlike Facebook, which tends to be a repository of people you know, unless you’re the sort that adds everyone you’ve ever met, if only for 30 seconds, Twitter is by and large a directory of individuals, yeah, individuals like you, that are unknown, beyond the trickle of information you gather from their mini-pronouncements. For example, you know what I like to watch on TV and you know I write this blog, except when the cat takes over and now you know I have at least one cat but did you also know that I become aroused when I hear the word “famine” on the news or that I think Gaz Top is the most important cultural figure of the last 70 years? No, and you never will.

The Internet is dangerous because it provides sufficient cover for the most demented in society to subordinate themselves to all those demonic voices they’ve got yapping in their skull. As soon as you pontificate on anything online, you risk stoking the ire of the bored and disaffected. I put the corpse on the lawn, so perhaps I should have expected blowflies.

I’m sure Septimus Sheckles is a lovely man when you meet him in the stringy flesh, beloved by his friends, respected by his family, but he’s also capable of being bigoted, irresponsible and creepy; facts that I imagine to be unknown to those closest to him. Why did he do it? Well, amongst his many celebrity follows was Frankie Boyle, the Glaswegian wit, whom barely an hour before this whole sorry saga began, had been the subject of one of these ‘ere blog posts that delights the web with its warm words and brevity.

Could my rubbishing of Boyle’s shock for shock’s sake series, Tramadol Nights, a show that my stalker may have been a fan of, provoked the poor wretch into hostile tweeting? My Mother, as ever, had a theory. “Could it actually be him? I mean, could it be Frankie Boyle in disguise?” I considered the possibility and it made a terrifying amount of sense. I could see the comedian, desolate and joyless, having read the reviews of his awful series, sitting in front of his computer, the edge of his obscenely large, redbrick beard brushing the keys and tweeting under an assumed identity to gauge authentic viewer reaction in the gap between swigs of cheap whisky, reading my blog post and finally, following weeks of jibes, sneers and well considered appraisals of his material, snapping. He’d show me, by God. He’d show me that rubbishing his work was easy but living with the consequences of those comments was something else. He’d show me and I’d regret the day I heard the name Frankie Boyle.

Oh Frankie what a waste of time and vitriol, I was there already.

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7 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. What on Earth have you been getting yourself into, young man?

    • Oh you know, eliciting hate from strangers on the web, provoking them into low level madness, making myself mad as a consequence – the usual.

      • But a fecking Xbox or something.

      • No…that’s exactly what they’d expect me to do.

      • Given the fact that this feud exists entirely in cyberspace – think about it for a second – then what they would expect you to do is quite open to debate. 😉

  2. In my younger days I used to use a forum where a certain individual was the butt of everyone’s jokes except I found him to be almost offensively naive.

    One day, I snapped and jokingly threatened to stab him in the kneecap with a screwdriver in order to “bring him out of his fantasy world” but he took it as a legitimate threat.

    However, rather than report me or make a complaint, this individual would routinely refer to this remark – out of context – as evidence that he was right and I was wrong, no matter what he was discussing.

    I have found out the hard way that the internet sucks you into a world where the rules of reality become distorted beyond recognition – for example, I once aired my dirty laundry on that same website when I had no business doing so. I was just so angry that I unleashed a self-destructive rant against one of my exs who had distorted the reality of our break-up to make me seem like an antagonist.

    Thankfully, it was later removed all though my ex thoughtfully saved the rant to her hard drive – presumably so that she could use it against me at some later stage in life. Obviously, there was no follow up but I found that act in itself to be very sinister – as if I had the sword of Damocles hanging over my head and my behaviour could be programmed Pavlovian style because I could not live with the shame of having to read something I wrote in angry retaliation to spurious claims against my character.

    The internet is a dangerous because you never really are as anonymous as you think you are – your cyber stalker obviously thinks that not littering the web with personal information is enough to keep his identity a secret but even the most amateur of hackers would be able to track down his IP address and such.

    • Yes, I think you may be right there.

      It sounds to me that the problem with Mr Screwdriver was that you were very different types of people and he obviously wasn’t attuned to your sense of humour. I find it’s usually best to avoid people that wilfully misinterpret your words. I don’t know about you but it bores me and it’s worse when you suspect they knew exactly what you meant but go for a literal reading in a bid to make you feel ridiculous, thus making themselves the same. If you’re trying to control a conversation or gain some sort of primacy, you can do the pedantry thing and that might work, provided you’re willing to take the risk that you’ll elicit contempt from your opposite number. Better to have a genuinely witty or useful riposte, surely? If not, keep quiet.

      The flip side of course, is that occasionally you’re on the receiving end of a comment that purports to be a joke but is in fact criticism, or a malicious comment in disguise, something I’ve experienced. Obviously context is everything. In the tale told above, there was no misreading of intent or tone, merely rudeness and a harassing tendency, so the moral, as far as Twitter is concerned, is unfollow the people that annoy you and be polite to the rest and you’re unlikely to court trouble, trouble which can escalate very easily. In that scenario, the rules that govern the real world applied without distortion. The Internet may be different but it’s not that different.

      The thing with your ex sounds depressing. I have mixed feelings about the dirty laundry online thing. This blog post could be interpreted as such but it’s one part catharsis, as it was an unpleasant experience, best vomited out, and two parts cautionary tale, as it never hurts to reminds people that the web adds a dimension to our social relations which isn’t always healthy , oh and one part reflection that it was a lot of fuss over nothing, hence the tongue in cheek uber-rant on the subject. In your case, it seems to me that you felt the need to defend yourself, perhaps because you were worried that her version of events would become the official version. I suppose as long as you know the truth, that’s what really matters. If those that know you might believe the bastard version, well, perhaps they didn’t know you too well or they chose to believe it because they have an agenda of their own. In any event there’s not much you can do and consequently “fuck ‘em” is the best policy.

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