Years ago I was watching a guest on the Johnny Carson Show (God, I miss that show) talk about this one member of the tabloid press that grabbed any chance possible to bad mouth him in ways that were, when he cited some examples, about as childishly condescending and tough guy wannabe (a wimp) in tone and content as one can get. Clearly someone with way too much time on their hands.
Anyway, Carson asked his guest who the member of the tabloid press was. The guest, who, like me, had a heft dose of street in his make-up, smiled widely and said, “Ya see, this punk is just looking for attention. He’s nothing more than a lonely little rodent that I bet no one likes not even his Mommy. So…” he went on, turning to look in the camera, “I ain’t ever gonna mention your name or say who you are you are punk ‘cause you’re not getting any attention hanging on to my coattails. But you can meet me outside any time and we can settle things that way.”
And so it is that I have a similar childish, condescending, tough guy wannabe, who from time to time, usually when the blog is about some tough time I am going through on the personal front, will write in spewing idiotic crap like, you’ve had your brain injury 20 years already, Peter, whatsamatta? Don’t have your act together? Actually, let me bring this person up to speed. It will be 26 years this August 24 since the injury. This person’s attacks usually involve a kind of slithering demeaning commentary about the brain damage I live with.
I have some rather instinctive responses to this person. First, I pretty much know who it is. Even though they will never leave their name – another characteristic of cowardice – who it is is rather obvious. Second, were their behavior not, when you really look at it, truly sad, I’d likely find it amusing. Third, were it not for the fact their behavior is truly sad, I am sure a sly smile would emerge on my face and I, like the Carson guest above, would be inclined to invite him to meet me outside to settle things which would require, at most, 30 seconds of my time.
Having said all this, my overwhelming response to this person is one of compassion. And I do not mean this in a sarcastic or snide way. The compassion for this person is real. And if it is who I think it is, this is someone who has lived through some brutal things in life, and while the way he is managing it is not healthy, and he is certainly accountable for his choices and his behavior, none of this makes him less deserving of compassion.
While I would gladly sit down over coffee with this person and talk, I will not, ever ever ever, publish their nastiness, or mention the name I know is theirs.