#2. We Break Shit So Others Can't Use It
In Real Life:
I've met plenty of vandals in my life. When I was in the sixth grade, my bus pulled up to the school, and all the kids were treated to a 15-foot spray-painted penis with the caption "Coach Ray sucks cock" on the front of the building. One of my cousins once got in shitloads of trouble for throwing a cinder block through a grocery store window. He didn't steal anything. He just decided he needed to do that and then did it. In my experience, it's almost always teenage boys who do this dumb bullshit. It's like once you hit a certain age, something flips a biological "dickhead" switch, and how you manage that beast determines your financial and legal future.
Thinkstock Images/Comstock/Getty Images
Once used epoxy resin to glue all of their art teachers belongings to his desk.
But on the 'net ...
The big difference I've noticed between real life and online vandalism is that in real life, it was mostly just destruction for the sake of destruction. School wasn't closed because of a spray-painted pecker. The store didn't stop selling pickles and asswipe while the window was being replaced. But on the Internet, it's different. When someone vandalizes a Twitter account or a Facebook page, that shit gets shut down until the mess gets cleaned up.
I get told all the time that Cracked has one of the best comments sections on the Internet, but that isn't solely because dumbasses choose to stay out of there. It's because behind the scenes, we have real administrators spending real, paid company time to clean up the dumb bullshit from spammers, bots, and trolls. Since the articles don't have an expiration date, it means they have to bounce in and out of them all day long to make sure we don't have some bored dipshit spamming walls of text with the sole intention of making the comments unreadable (yes, that's a real example and one of the most common things our admins have to clean up). Or some butt-hurt crybaby bitch who takes out his frustrations on a new writer because he never got his own article published (another thing the admins have to remove quite literally every article, every day of the week).
"Your article sucks, and if I ever get one published, I'll show you how a real writer does it! Some day!"
Now don't get me wrong here. I bag on the comments section enough as is, and this isn't one of those times. I'm telling you this to make a point: that even in one of the more civilized, behaved comments sections on the 'net, there is still rampant fuckery that demands the attention of an employee who could be getting paid to create comedy rather than clean shit off of the floor.
That kind of vandalism is almost unique in that it's extremely common and is designed specifically to prevent others from creating or consuming. In Meatspace, that's punishable by fines, community service, and sometimes jail sentences. On the 'net, it's just accepted as further proof that we're not worthy of mainstream acceptance. We're just those crazy Internet people who like to destroy the things that others create.
#1. We Thrive on Grandstanding
In Real Life:
Have you ever quit a job in mid-shift? I've done it myself, and I've seen probably 20 others do it at various past jobs. You just hit that breaking point where the paycheck isn't worth the pain, exhaustion and bullshit, so you decide, "Fuck this, they can comb their own monkeys." Also, you worked in a pet factory as a monkey comber. So you clock out for lunch or your next break, drive home and drown the rest of your night in 40-ounce Mickey's. You can worry about a new job tomorrow.
What I've never seen someone do is bust down their manager's door and make a dramatic push for worker equality, nailing down one final defiant statement that the company will never forget. Because their departure from the assembly line means something.
"Great. Now what am I supposed to do with this shipment of fresh, uncombed monkeys?"
But on the 'net ...
That "leave without anyone noticing" is actually a rarity on the net. If you've ever moderated or fully ran your own forum, one of the biggest inside jokes you've likely had with other moderators is the dumb jackoffs who demand that their account be deleted. It's almost always in response to a moderator enforcing a rule like "no bumping your own post" or deleting something they wrote because it was flat out against the forum rules. Like maybe it had homemade animated Legolas porn or something ... because you just can't let go of that goddamn movie.
I used to be horrible about this back in my early Internet years. Back then, I'd been known to get drunk and delete my entire website or forum accounts without notice or explanation. The sudden dramatic disappearance got me attention. "What's wrong? Are you OK? I couldn't imagine what would make you do something so drastic -- it must be huge. Is there anything we can do?" I could have easily just walked away from it while I destressed and then came back a month or two later, site and forum account still intact, but that wouldn't have been grand enough to get a reaction from people.
Understand, that was never at the front of my mind. I never went into it, consciously thinking, "I need some attention and someone to show me that they care. The best way to do that is to destroy everything that made strangers interested in me in the first place. Here I go." It was always just a feeling that I needed something big and dramatic to happen in my life, and when that never presented itself, I created my own. And as the Internet becomes more of a social playground, you see it all over the place. Two dudes get into a tiff, and one of them ends the confrontation with, "Fuck you. You're an arrogant prick. Feel free to block me now, asshole." He couldn't just walk away. He couldn't just sever the relationship by quietly blocking the other guy, himself. He had to create a situation in which he gets the last word and pretends to walk away while forcing the other guy to "do the dirty work."
Dick Luria/Photodisc/Getty Images
Yeah, we get it -- you're leaving. Fuck off. Nobody cares.
This is the single biggest area of self improvement I've been working on in the last year, and it's one of the hardest things I've ever had to change about myself: being able to just cut off ties with someone without throwing in the last word or having to feel like I won some sort of imaginary fight. I've still not mastered it. I may never be fully able to because that urge to fight is a trait that goes clear to my core. But I'm trying because the logical part of my head organ tells me that if I don't do something about it, that shit will eat me alive.