Deborah Ross: Welcome to the abusement arcade

If you ask me... Perhaps I should just collect my "PEE FORTIE-FYVE", as advised

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If you ask me, and at the risk of wasting your time, which I know may be of tremendous concern to some of you, I would like to address the topic of online comments and, on occasion, the magnificent and almost sublime derangement thereof.

I raise this subject not out of any sense of personal hurt, as I have a sensationally thick skin and have done since the get-go. ("Wow, Mrs Ross, just look at the thick skin on that," is, apparently, what the midwife said when she first handed me over to my mother. "Shall we put this freakishly thick-skinned baby down the rubbish chute and say no more about it?" she even offered). So it's not that, but this: why do people deliberately choose to engage with something they so obviously hate?

This genuinely baffles me. I loathe marzipan and you know how I have always dealt with this? I avoid it. I refuse to have anything to do with it. I do not seek it out so I can gag and retch all over it. Or, let's say I see a dress in a shop window and I do not like the dress, do you know what I do? I walk on by, calm as anything. I might even whistle and, should a small child happen to be passing, pat it affectionately on the head and show it my one-card trick which sometimes works and sometimes doesn't.

I do not feel there is not enough room in the world for me and a dress I happen to dislike. I do not feel the need to take a spray can and deface the dress with: "THIS DRESS IS PURE DRIVEL. THIS IS THE WORST DRESS I HAVE EVER SEEN. I COULD MAKE A BETTER DRESS THAN THIS. I COULD MAKE A BETTER DRESS THAN THIS WITH MY EYES SHUT AND ONLY ONE ARM AND NO EYES AND A DISTRACTINGLY PAINFUL BLADDER INFECTION. THIS DRESS SHOULD NOT BE ALLOWED TO LIVE. THIS DRESS IS SO PATHETIC I ALMOST FORGOTT TWO MISPEL EVRYTHING BUT AT LEEST I'VE KNOW REMBERED! "

So I'm baffled by this, just as I'm always baffled by the mindset of readers who write: "Only read first two sentences. Complete waste of time" as if logging in, leaving such a message, and logging out might not indicate that time, in this instance, is not such a precious a commodity after all. But what do I know? Zilch, probably. Perhaps I should just collect my "PEE FORTIE-FYVE", as advised.

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