Kids, many moons ago, when denim jackets were the fashion and Michael Jackson chose to wear only one glove for some inexplicable reason, we had communication devices called telephones. These devices were attached to a base via a long plastic cord. With these telephones we conducted verbal conversations with friends, relatives, and the accidental stranger.
Not all conversations were pleasant or polite. On occasion, these verbal communication sessions would turn ugly and foul language would be used. This could lead to insults and possible threats being exchanged. Separated by distance and unable to actually see or touch the other party, the antagonist would feel no restraint. We developed a term for people who would speak rudely to another on the telephone but not in person. We called this condition “phone balls”.
I understand that the idea of being tethered to a communication device via a plastic-coated cord and forced to exercise clear and concise verbal discourse is a bit terrifying. Fear not, no one is asking you to put yourself in that position. However,
we’d like to consider a situation that has it’s roots in the original phone balls, crap-talkers of yesteryear.
The advent of digital texting devices and the introduction of the world wide web to even base troglodytes has spawned a new generation of long-distance caca-communicators. You see, the life-span and or practical effectiveness of a person embracing the phone balls technique was relatively limited as the recipient of the threats and insults knew from whom they originated or could readily divine their origin. Sooner or later, the antagonist would end up in the same geographic location as the insulted party and recompense was often rendered.
Today, those afflicted with the condition we will refer to as Forum Balls are multiplying at an alarming rate. Embracing the anonymous screen or user names, such as BigDog1067 or YoMamaX99, they feel no restraint or any desire to respect the code of civil conduct or proper behavior. Random, often vicious insults have become the norm not exception. Demands and accusations are made to strangers with no regard for the recipient’s thoughts or feelings.
Ensconced safely in their mother’s basement and seated comfortably in a beanbag chair with an extra-large bag of Cheetos in easy reach, those self-afflicted with forum balls rail away mercilessly, pausing only briefly to call for a sandwich or check their latest Reddit score. Based upon the life experience they’ve gained from Netflix and their massive Blu-Ray collection, those with forum balls jump into social media conversations and discussion boards to challenge the topic author’s opinions and even their parentage.
Undaunted after being banned or blocked, the resourceful baller will default to any of the dozens of email addresses they have reserved for just such an occasion. These digital miscreants hurl insults and throw out challenges with reckless abandon shielded by the invisible armor of online anonymity. Fostered by cripplingly low self-esteem, these Lillipution keyboard commandos have no fear in threatening those who, if in the same geographic domain, could crush them as if an annoying cockroach.
Although well supplied with Mt. Dew, Cheetos and the regular sandwich provided by their enabling mothers, those proudly in possession of forum balls do occasionally venture out into the sunlight. Having been conditioned by years of anonymous smack and crap-talking the ballers must be extra cautious when encountering the surface dwellers. These creatures have sun-toned skin and muscles enhanced by actual physical labor and exercise. Such barbarians as these may be found by chance at the latest Dragon or Comic-Con. While the baller is restocking their supply of Red Bull or Monster at the 7/11 or enjoying a Doritos hard-shell combo at Taco Bell, they may chance encounter one of the aforementioned meat eaters.
Overwhelmed by thoughts of the upcoming release of the next Grand Theft Auto or the launch of the new XBox, the forum baller may forget themselves and issue forth a verbal insult to a surface dweller. The rapid realization of this error may result in loss of bladder or bowel control. Should the insult land in the wrong ears, swift and painful physical correction may be delivered by the clenched fists of the barbarian. For obvious reasons, it is best for the forum baller to travel only in packs of his own kind and to only leave the safety of their basement domicile on rare occasions. Better to remain anonymous and protected by the gamer tag StreetFighter6969 than to risk the embarrassment of soiled undergarments or the lasting discomfort of a broken nose.
Thus submitted as thoughtful cautionary advice, Paul G. Markel; Eater of Meat, Dweller in the Sun.
Do you know someone that has forum balls? Share this article with them and leave your thoughts in the comments below.