Flying Off The Handle – Your Guide To Effective Tantrums


I learned this week about an interesting affair that took place in our local community. No names – no pack drill, but it seems that someone decided to take offence at another person and then commence an internet attack on them. Their sense of grievance initiated a flurry of Facebook posts of a highly-charged nature – as well as attempts to make professional complaint. The thing may eventually play through a law court, and if it does I suspect that the Facebooker might experience some embarrassment.

Facebook is a remarkable instrument – I cannot say whether I think it a sharp or blunt one, but I am fairly certain that it is not a good choice with which to seek justice, vengeance, or that crispy bacon we got before the war. Like most of the internet it is horrifyingly public and disconcertingly permanent. If you blazon your banner over the firmament in real life it eventually burns out. When you tire of righteousness or find out that it you ain’t right you can discreetly bury the cinders and sidle out of view. Whack it on Facebook and even if a lawyer scares you into removing your original tirade, it may have been copied, re-posted, or linked out of your reach. You may not be able to pinch the fuse off…

Being angry and loud and righteous and vengeful is fine, but you really need to think about how you make this known. Nailing things to the doors of churches was popular around the time of Martin Luther but sometimes people did not take it as well as they might…the religious wars and all. Likewise nailing something to the door of Facebook – unless you are looking for an electronic sacking of Magdeburg and the cheery glow of a burning martyrship, choose a less public way.

Of course we have all seen those amusing disputes between someone who has purchased a car that the dealership was glad to sell, but never wants to see again. I mean the ones where to aggrieved party parks outside the dealership with a blow-up lemon on the top of the car. These work because they are fun. If the same person just walks about with a cardboard sign and a sad expression, they don’t get the publicity or their own way. When dealer calls the cops for public obstruction it is a coin toss who gets into more trouble.

Far better is to write privately to the person who has offended you. Set forth your complaint as clearly –  and as cooly as you can. This may require you to let it stay for several weeks. This period of time may even remove the original sting and privately persuade you to forget the matter. If, after a fortnight, you still want redress, you are far more likely to get it by asking rather than demanding. If all you want is to cause trouble, you’ll find that you are going to share it, and with the galling knowledge that it is home-made.

Choose wisely, Grasshopper. Remember who and what you are before you spray the Mortein…


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