There’s Always Someone…

So, I’m reading Wil Wheaton’s blog today. He blows up about some goober telling lies about him and his wife on a forum. Reading through the comments, I see a couple of folks taking the “why don’t you grow up and not let this stuff bother you” position.

The thing is, that’s very easy to say. It’s been said to me, on a number of occasions. Almost universally, though, it’s been said by people who have never, ever been the subject of that level of attention, and most likely never will.

Fame, even of the most limited, niche level, is a tricky thing. On the one hand, it’s kinda cool to be “known”–it’s an ego-stroke, if nothing else, and if you’re lucky, you can parley that into benefits in other facets of your life (for example, I find it easier to get assignments than “Joe Schmoe”, because I’m a known commodity).

However, the flip-side of that is ugly as fuck. Sooner or later, you’re going to draw the attention of some seriously damaged individuals, and then you’ve become their new hobby. Even with the small amount of recognition I have, I’ve had to deal with this on a number of occasions. Sniping criticisms, always from the same folks. Phone calls. Personal crusades. Lies. Harrassment.

Hell, just this past week, I got an email from a young woman I can only describe as ‘disturbed’, asking me why I had “treated her so bad” and “said those horrible, horrible things” to her, asking me why I “hate and loathe” her so much, and expressing fear about my having her real-world address (which she had given me as part of a X-Mas gift exchange I had arranged on RPGnet last year). The was afraid that I was going to “use” her address…which is on the other side of the goddamned planet.

Apparently, my “crime” was that I had called her a drama queen, in a forum argument–over a year ago.

Maybe these sorts of things shouldn’t get to us. Maybe we shouldn’t allow these sad little people have that much influence over our moods–letting them impact our lives. All I know is that it’s easier to say those things than it is to live them, especially when the maladjusted freaks start focusing on YOU.

The other option is to completely withdraw from public life, which, I suppose, is an option, but it hardly seems a fair one…because again, you’re letting the freaks have control, directing how you spend your time.

Personally, I’d prefer it if more of the “fandom” community (whether that be in gaming, or SF, or Trek, or what have you) would stop enabling its most disturbed members by being so accepting of their “uniqueness”. If somebody is friggin’ head-case, then their fellow fans should give them a wake-up call, and let them know that their behavior is not acceptable. That’s how all social mammals learn, after all.


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