Or How to Give up Twitter for Awhile to Save Your Sanity
I gave up Twitter for Lent earlier this year even though I am not Catholic, and it wasn’t Lent. I was just getting way too much into politics and sports commentary (which is the same thing). And with Twitter, it can sometimes feel more like a tool for main-lining endless Twitter takes regarding Trump or Pelosi, to Lebron vs. Kobe, and devolving K-pop threads.
Twitter is great. As a news junkie, it can be the front lines of breaking news. It’s an exciting place for keeping up with the waves of current trends. Knowing before most that Sully Sullenberger successfully landed a doomed aircraft right in the middle of the Hudson River, saving everyone on-board. Awesome. Or not only hearing about the Chelyabinsk meteor that came roaring out of the Russian skies but seeing the actual video on the day of the incident.
It’s also an excellent place for keeping up with the ISS and whatever awesome is going on there today. I don’t need to wait for Kronkite to show me fantastic space pics from the space station. Twitter pops them into my feed. I don’t need to set a reminder that Felix Baumgartner’s crazy-ass Redbull jump from near space is happening, Twitter tells me.
It can also be a place to overindulge on a slew of negative shit. The minutiae of terrible school shootings. Breakdowns of terrorist attacks. Partisan political shout-fests. Trolls.
There’s Always a Troll, Never a Thunderstorm
Troll exposure just leads to more negativity and queries like “if there were a God, wouldn’t she have smited (or smote) this asshole by now?” What is the past tense for Smite? Nevertheless, staring at random enraging tweets from halfwits can make one wonder. Why aren’t there any errant lightning strikes for terrible tweeters? It is not a healthy way to spend your free time. You would probably be better off inventing a time machine so you could go relive your failed grade school “your mother…” playground fights. I always lost at your mother jokes if the volume of “OOOOWs” were any indication. I tried to keep it fresh with new mother jokes (that stunk) while Jeffrey got the loudest “OOOOWs” for using the same stale ass “your mother thought a quarterback was a refund.” He used that one every time.
Look I’m not really trying to judge anyone here, I know very well that one man’s troll is another man’s son named Jeffrey. And I’m no saint either, as the old saying goes, people who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw hammers. But seriously, someone needs to check if Jeffrey has a real job and pays taxes and shit. Don’t tell me how American you are with the amount of time you spend posting dumb shit on Twitter all day, Jeffrey.
And there is always a battalion of people trying to argue intelligently with Trolls. It hasn’t solved anything. It’s just as effective as having the freshest mother jokes on a playground.
Give it up on Facebook the Catholic Way Even Though You Would Not Be Doing it Correctly
I feel like Catholicism might have the answer. Lent. Lent could be positioned to handwash that negativity away. And look, I’m not blind to Catholicism either, they have a slew of criticizable shit. However, they have some pretty good ideas.
And being that I was only baptized Catholic and thus am not-Catholic at all, I can take the ideas I want and leave the rest on the table.
For instance, my very Catholic mother’s commercial flight landing routine. There is no better way to land in a commercial aircraft than reciting “Hail Mary, full of grace…” as many times as necessary until the plane is on the ground, full stop. Furthermore, Catholics don’t suffer fools when it comes to their churching. In some churches, if you played the saxophone for all of a week, the Pastor would ask you to get up in front of the church and make a “joyful noise” in the over-crowded Christmas Service. It happened to me. I could barely play “Mary Had a Little Lamb,” and my (Lutheran) church wanted me to cover “Good King Wenceslas.” I destroyed the king. Catholics don’t do that. They don’t want anyone fumbling through Christmas music on their time, it’s embarrassing.
And as I said, I always admired the Catholics— giving up of things. Every year around spring, family, friends, and acquaintances announce the stuff they are giving up on Facebook. “I’m giving up Ice Cream for Lent.” “I’m giving up caffeine for Lent.” “I’m giving up Facebook for Lent, see you later.” And I want in, too.
Look, I’m entirely aware that I don’t get the full meaning of Lent, or even the half-meaning. I’m assuming some of y’all don’t either. There is an Archdiocese of Washington commercial on local radio that points out that using Lent to get something out of your life for a while is missing the point. In the ad, Father Bill Byrne instructs that “Lent isn’t a new fad diet…Giving something up makes room for God’s love.”
So…knowing I was doing it wrong, I gave Lent a try. I announced on Facebook (usually where I saw Lenten announcements) that I was giving up Twitter for Lent. I was quickly informed that it was January. Yeah, like that meant something to me.
I gave up Twitter for a month and paid less attention to breaking news, less attention to governmental investigations. I gave up on all the shouting. And there was some peace there.
And I can hear some detraction to this way of thinking. Outside of the obvious, why not just compare it to abstinence? Sobertober, hello? Or New Years resolution? As if New Years resolutions ever succeed (the Almighty probably doesn’t score those). Just leave Catholics out of this. Which—Completely valid, but I’ve written this far on my Lent shtick.
Detractors could warn that paying less attention means that the people we disagree with could somehow get away with more. I get it, an informed public is a good thing. However, paying hyper-attention to every Twitter take on every news intrigue is not going to change the course of National or Global affairs.
What I’ve accepted is that there’s nothing I can do, other than voting, that’s going to do anything meaningful. So **** it.Catholic Friend
On giving up Twitter for awhile
A Catholic friend said recently, “what I’ve accepted is that there’s nothing I can do, other than voting, that’s going to do anything meaningful. So **** it.”
I then offered up my “Super-Lent” idea. Super-Lent involves no Twitter for Thanksgiving, the extended Christmas season, the worst months of the year (January, February), March Madness, actual Lent (whenever that is), and Summer. IE: Super-Lent!
Shit…I may give Super-Lent a try. After I tweet out a link to this blog.