Aramink

Engaged with the World

Category: IM

Enlightened Ancestor: Dr. Benjamin West

I can thank my migraines for Dr. Benjamin West.

When I am anxious or don’t feel well, I often do genealogy research to take my mind off things. I have always enjoyed learning about family history, but really got bitten hard by the bug the first time I had cancer, in 1994. I was at home recuperating, on painkillers and other drugs that made concentrating difficult, and I found message boards on AOL that were all about genealogy. And my ancestors were there! I connected with some very distant cousins and compared notes. I started learning more and more about my origins.

It occurs to me that we are all the products of our parents, who are the products of their parents, who were the products of theirs, and so on. Our parents don’t just pass genetics on to us. Even when we disagree about things like politics or religion or how to raise our children, the values of our parents are distilled into us, just like the values of their parents were distilled into them. We find that professions tend to run in families -a  certain branch of the family may tend to be lawyers, writers, preachers, doctors, architects, artists, military, etc.

An obituary notice in a newspaper from 1822 led me to him. He was named as the father of one of my 5th great-grandmothers, a woman whose origins were completely unknown to me before that moment.  The man was phenomenal, and I don’t understand why every generation after him hasn’t continued to hold him up as the pinnacle of the Enlightenment. This guy’s brain was so huge and active I don’t know how it managed to stay confined in his skull.

benj-west

Benjamin West, from the Brown University Portrait Collection

Benjamin West was born in Bristol, Massachusetts in March 1730. I think of him as the Stephen Hawking of his day. His accomplishments in math and science are truly remarkable because he was an autodidact – his formal schooling lasted a whopping three months of his childhood. He was poor and had to borrow every book he read until about 1758, when he managed to find some backers to open a dry goods store. A couple of years later, he opened the first bookstore ever to grace the commercial avenues of Providence, Rhode Island. He managed to pay for the books he so desperately wanted by selling them to other people.

He married Elizabeth Smith, daughter of Benjamin Smith, in 1753 when he was 23.  They were married for 53 years and had eight children, only three of whom survived Benjamin. The 1822 death notice for his daughter, Mary Smith West (wife of Oliver Pearce), in a Providence newspaper, alerted me to him. The death notice that mentioned her father was “Dr. Benjamin West of Providence.” Mary West Pearce died in Fayetteville, NC. Her daughter, Eliza West Pearce, married Dr. Benjamin Robinson, that guy from Vermont who tested out that newfangled smallpox vaccine on his little brother and his brother’s friends and basically got run out of Bennington for his efforts. The science is strong in my family!

Benjamin West was a brilliant mathematician and astronomer. His buddies were the founders of Rhode Island College, which later became Brown University. He loved mathematics and astronomy, and conferred with some truly fantastic minds of his day. He published annual almanacs for Halifax, Nova Scotia and Providence, Rhode Island for nearly 40 years. He didn’t have the formal schooling necessary for good academic chops, though, and before he opened that dry goods and book store, he failed at operating a school. He tutored students privately for all of his adult life.

Astronomical Genius

In 1766, something would happen that ultimately would reverse his fortunes and open some gilded doors for him. A comet appeared in the constellation of Taurus on the evening of April 9. Being a good astronomer, Benjamin took careful measurements. The next day wrote a letter to an astronomer named John Winthrop who was at Cambridge College (now known as Harvard University). He had never met or corresponded with Winthrop, but was so excited about his observation he simply had to share it.

Providence, April 10, 1766

Dear Sir:

For the improvement of science, I now acquaint you, that the last evening, I saw in the West, a comet, which I judged to be about the middle of the sign of Taurus; with about 7 degrees North latitude. It set half after 8 o’clock by my watch; and its amplitude was about 29 or 30 degrees. Nothing, Sir, could have induced me to this freedom of writing to you, but the love I have for the sciences; and I flatter myself that you will, on that account, the more readily overlook it.

I am, Sir, yours,

Benjamin West

He and Winthrop became great friends and continued to write each other. For the rest of their lives they would share observations about the night sky.

1769 Transit of the Planets

Johannes Kepler and Edmund Halley figured out how to apply the theory of parallax to determine the distances between astronomical bodies.  With both Mercury and Vanus predicted to pass between the Earth and the Sun in 1769, astronomers world-wide were anxious to test the theory . Since this was the first really good opportunity to view the transits of both inner planets since Kepler’s original accurate prediction in 1627 of the 1631 transit, everyone in the field of astronomy was excited. Captain Cook would famously observe the 1769 transit of Venus from Tahiti while on his ill-fated circumnavigation and while bringing European diseases and disharmony to the South Pacific. At the time of the last transit of Venus in 1761, Charles Mason and Jeremiah Dixon, who had just finished their survey of the boundary between Pennsylvania and Maryland, had traveled to the Cape of Good Hope to observe it. All of these men used astronomy as an important part of their lives – navigating the oceans and surveying the land required precise measurements, and measurements started with the stars.

benjamin-wests-1769-telescope

Telescope used by Benjamin West, at Providence, Rhode Island, to observe the 1769 transit of Venus. Ladd Observatory, Brown University

There was no telescope in Providence in 1769. Benjamin West, Stephen Hopkins (the signer of the Declaration and great-grandson of the Mayflower passenger) and the Brown brothers – founders of Rhode Island College, later known as Brown University – were determined to see the phenomenon, though, so they managed to import a telescope from England at the incredible expense of 500 pounds.  They set up on the outskirts of Providence. Transit Street in Providence is named after the spot where they viewed the transit on June 3, 1769. There are photos of the telescope on the Brown University website – the school still has it.

benjamin-wests-diagram-of-the-1769-transit-of-venus

Benjamin West’s diagram of the transit of Venus, 1769, from the Ladd Observatory, Brown University

As was his habit, Benjamin West made careful measurements of the transit. He published a tract (and dedicated it to his friend Stephen Hopkins) about the event. A copy of the tract made its way to John Winthrop at Harvard, and on July 18, 1770, Benjamin West – the man with only three months of formal education – was awarded an honorary Master of Arts from Harvard. Here’s the text of the notification letter from John Winthrop:

Cambridge, July 19, 1770

Sir —

I have the pleasure to acquaint you that the government of this college were pleased, yesterday, to confer upon you the Honorary degree of Master of Arts; upon which I sincerely congratulate you. I acknowledge the receipt of your favour, and shall be glad to compare any observations of the satellites.

Yours, &c.

John Winthrop

 

American Academy of Arts and Sciences: the American Philosophical Society

That same year, Benjamin West was unanimously elected to membership in the American Philosophical Society in Philadelphia – the American colonial version of Great Britain’s Royal Society. He would meet another author and publisher of almanacs there: a fellow named Benjamin Franklin.

Benjamin West was still primarily a merchant at this time, and the Revolution was on its way. When full-blown war finally arrived, commerce dried up. He went to work manufacturing clothing for the American troops. He continued his studies and his correspondence with the other great minds, though.

Mathematics was Benjamin’s first love. In 1773 he wrote to a friend in Boston of a theorem he had developed to extract “the roots of odd powers” that was probably his greatest contribution to the field of mathematics. That’s right – he discovered a math formula that I can’t even begin to hope to understand, but other really smart people who could math really well understood it and lauded him for it. When he finally explained his theorem to other math geniuses in 1781, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences not only published it in one of their earliest journals, but unanimously elected him to membership and awarded him a diploma. It was his second honorary academic degree, and he still supported by only three months of formal education. The theorem caught the attention of the European mathematical geniuses, who, giddy with discovery, also published it. Benjamin West, already pretty cool, became seriously hot stuff.

He didn’t stop at math and astronomical observations, though. One of the biographies I found explained a physics problem he cogitated upon for more than two years in conjunction with John Winthrop and a Mr. Oliver. It had to do with the properties of air in a copper tube that was then put into an otherwise airless container. The qualities of invisible gases – basically, the scientific understanding of the very concept of the physical nature and properties of “air” – was in its infancy. Our ancestor speculated about the attractive and repulsive nature of the tiny particles that made up the matter of air – what we now call its molecules – and how they would behave under different conditions. Gravity, matter, magnetism, and ultimately the behavior of the tails of comets played into his understanding of the question. This is stuff my brain simply isn’t big enough to handle.

Benjamin West’s mind was at the peak of its illuminating brilliance as the world around him heaved. His most important discoveries and writings happened as the American Revolution was about to explode.  By the end of the Revolution he had returned to academic pursuits. He tutored students in math and astronomy. He still wasn’t rich; despite his prominence in academics he never became particularly wealthy. The well-endowed founders of what would become Brown University had not forgotten their friend, though. In 1786, he was elected to a full professorship there.

For some reason he did not begin teaching at Brown for a couple of years. Probably because of his honors and his friendship with Ben Franklin and the rest of the gang at the American Philosophical Society in Philadelphia, Benjamin West was invited to teach at the illustrious Protestant Episcopal Academy there. The name of that school is familiar to members of my father’s family.  Although Benjamin West was the direct ancestor of my Arkansas-born mother, my dad, an Irish-Italian kid who grew up in the Philly suburb of Gladwyne, went to school at Philadelphia’s Episcopal Academy while his dad coached its sports teams. (Insert refrain from “Circle of Life” here.)

Brown University awarded Dr. West his first non-honorary degree, his Doctor of Laws, in 1792. He taught mathematics and astronomy there from 1788 until 1799. Then he opened a school of navigation and taught astronomy to seafaring men. Like Carl Sagan and Neil deGrasse Tyson, this man loved to teach other people the wonders of the universe.

I’m proud of him for another reason, too: Benjamin West was a member of an active abolitionist group in Providence.

I’ve found several contemporary biographical accounts for Benjamin West. They are typical of their time: purple prose and flowery metaphors abound. They all reach one conclusion: Benjamin West was a genius. He was a determinedly self-educated man who contributed considerably to the arts of science and mathematics during his lifetime. He was truly a product of the Age of Enlightenment: a self-educated, self-made man whose gifts and prominence considerably exceeded his bank account.

This discovery of my ancestor Benjamin West is exactly why genealogy research is so rewarding. And given the anxiety-provoking events of November 8, I expect to be doing a lot more of it – in between my stepped-up schedule of political activities, that is.

______

Bibliography:

American Academy of Arts and Sciences, Book of Members  (2016 edition), p. 252. Entry for Benjamin West, elected 1781, Fellow. Residence and Affiliation at election: Providence, RI. Career description: Astronomer, Educator, Businessperson, Book of Members; American Academy of Arts & Sciences, American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Leonard Bliss, The History of Rehoboth, Bristol County, Massachusetts:  Comprising a History of the Present Towns of Rehoboth, Seekonk, and Pawtucket, From Their Settlement to the Present Time (Boston:  Otis, Broaders, and Company, 1836). Google Books

Bloomsbury Encyclopedia of the American Enlightenment, Entry for Benjamin West (1730-1813), pp. 1096-1097. https://books.google.com/books?id=qZ2yBwAAQBAJ&lpg=PA1096&dq

Louise Hall, “Family Records: Newby Bible”, New England Historical and Genealogical Register 122 (Apr 1968):  125-128, 125.

Martha Mitchell, “Benjamin West”, Encyclopedia Brunoniana (1993). https://www.brown.edu/Administration/News_Bureau/Databases/Encyclopedia/search.php?serial=W0170

John Chauncey Pease, John Milton Niles, A Gazetteer of the States of Connecticut and Rhode-Island:   (Hartford:  William S. Marsh, 1819), 331-333. Biographical entry for Dr. Benjamin West.  Google Books.

Unattributed, “Biography of Benjamin West, L.L.D.  A.A.S.:  Professor of Mathematicks, Astronomy and Natural Philosophy, in Rhode Island College – and Fellow of the Philosophical Society of Philadelphia, &c.”, The Rhode Island Literary Repository Vol I, No. 7 (October 1814):  137-160 (337-360), http://books.google.com/books?id=HLQRAAAAYAAJ.  Google Books.

Benjamin West Papers; Rhode Island Historical Society Library, 121 Hope Street
Providence, RI 02906. http://www.rihs.org/mssinv/Mss794.htm.

One of *Those* IM Conversations

So, yeah. I quit talking on Yahoo instant Messenger a couple of years ago. Well, longer ago than that, really. But I still have this one friend, let’s call him my Best Girlfriend Forever (because that’s what I call him), who likes to chat on it.

He doesn’t like Skype, and he insists on using Messenger even though the only time I’d see his messages were when I’d check my Yahoo mail once a month or so, since I only used it for shopping and I absolutely never checked it because so much spam comes to that account it’s impossible to find real correspondence there anymore. Actually, one other friend who moved to Baltimore several years ago, and whom I hardly ever hear from, uses Messenger, too, and I’m embarrassed to say that I miss his messages most of the time.

So just for these two friends, let’s call them my Best Girlfriend Forever and That Guy Who Moved to Baltimore, I reinstalled Yahoo Instant Messenger when I got a new laptop. Just for Kicks. And for them.

Of course, only my BGFF knows I have it installed. I’m invisible to everyone else. Tonight, though, somehow and for some reason, I was visible for awhile. Out of the blue comes a certain troll I had not chatted with for several years.  Like, since I had used Messenger back in the days of the Virgin Training School.  The conversation, predictably, went like this:

winteret: Hi Aramink… the last time that we chatted I had told yo that I was fascinated with bellybuttons since each one is as unique as a fingeprint.  You were beginning to tell me about yours…

aramink_rust: I doubt that. Mine is uninteresting. I mostly use it for lint storage.  I also use it as a focus for meditation and contemplation.

winteret: That’s great.  What type do you have?

winteret: ????

aramink_rust: Lint-filled. I already told you.

winteret: Lol… so you have an Inne?

aramink_rust: Sometimes I take the lint out when I want to contemplate it, but when I have no other place to store the lint I have to contemplate a navel orange instead. It can be a problem.

winteret: You’re such a tease…. what coin size and how deep is it?

aramink_rust: Oh, I wouldn’t take money for it.  If I sold it, where would I store my lint?

winteret: Oh come on now… please stop being sarcastic…

aramink_rust: Who’s being sarcastic?  Not every container is suitable for lint storage, you know.

winteret: What does your knot look lke?

winteret: ????

aramink_rust: My knot? I’ve never examined it.

winteret: Your knot is the pattern located at the bttom of your bellyhole.  What does it look like?

aramink_rust: Um… I’m thinking it looks like, well, a belly button.

winteret: Every bellybutton is as unique as a fingerprint… the outer rim, the inner walls and the pattern (knot) at the bottom of the hloe.  What does yours look like?

aramink_rust: There’s a lot of lint in the way.  I’d pick it out, but I think I need a crochet hook. I can knit a sweater with all the lint I have crammed in there.

winteret: do you like having it tongued?

aramink_rust: What?! You just asked if I like having it tongued! Fucking freak-ass fucktard! You want to turn my collection of belly-button lint into boiled wool! I just know you do!

winteret: Mmmmmm… do you do any bondage?

aramink_rust: You want to tie me down with my own belly button lint!  Shit!  You’re freaking me out, Dude!  I mean, how crazy is this going to get? Next you’re, like, going to want to have belly-button buttsecks!  Ew!

winteret: What’s wrong??

aramink_rust: What’s wrong? WHAT’S WRONG? You’re tying me down with boiled wool made from my own belly-button lint, you’ve threatened me with belly-button buttsecks, and you want to know what’s WRONG?

winteret: What type of gag do you prefer to be gagged with?

winteret: ????

aramink_rust: Mmmffff!!!!

winteret: mmmmmmmmmmmmm… I thought so

So tell me: What do you do with your lint while having smokin’ hot belly-button buttsecks?

Hey There, Delilah


He logged into his instant messenger program. There she was! Her name glowed in his contact list as online and available, although the little clock icon to the left of her name indicated she was idle. She’d not used her computer in 47 minutes, it told him. He decided to try, anyway.

“Hey there, Delilah.”

He was rewarded less than a minute later with her reply.

“Hi.”

“What’s it like in New York City tonight?”

“Loud,” she replied. “Where are you?”

“A thousand miles away from you. I’m in Nashville. I have that audition tomorrow.”

“Where are you staying?”

“My cousin Bill is putting me up for the night. I’ll go back to Paducah tomorrow after the audition, unless they offer me a job on the spot.”

“I’ll keep my fingers crossed.”

“What are you doing?”

“Studying. There’s a lot of reading for this philosophy class I’m taking.”

“I saw you were idle when I signed in and I wondered if you’d wandered away from your computer. Will you turn on your webcam? I want to see you.”

“My hair’s in a ponytail and I don’t have makeup on.”

“You know I don’t care about that. It’s you I want to see, not your makeup.”

“You have to turn on yours, too, then.”

“I don’t have on any makeup, either, and I’m sitting here in a plain white t-shirt.” He knew she would giggle at that. She obligingly laughed at all his jokes, no matter how pitiful they were.

They each clicked the icons for their webcams and waited for the obligatory permissions.

“Hi there,” smiled Delilah.

“You are so pretty.”

“No, I’m not. I look awful. You look wonderful, though.”

“Yes, you are pretty. I don’t care what you say. You’re beautiful and bright and gorgeous and pretty and brilliant and cute…”

Delilah laughed. “I’m not feeling too bright or brilliant. This philosophy class is kicking my butt.”

“You are and you know it. Times Square can’t shine as bright as you. Get used to it.”

“Whatever.”

“You know it’s true.”

“They say college gets easier as you go along, but I think with this class it’s gotten harder. Or maybe my IQ has dropped significantly.”

“Even the philosophy professors at Columbia are bound to be impressed by your superior intellect.”

She sighed. “I wish. It seemed easier when you were at Berklee.”

Neither said anything for a moment, drinking in the visions of each other through the poor light and shadowy webcams on their laptops.

“If I was there I’d just be distracting you from your philosophy assignment.”

“I like that kind of distraction. I miss you. You’re so far away.”

“No, I’m not. I’m right here.”

“I can’t touch you. My bed’s too big these days. I can’t reach out and find you any more.”

“Don’t worry about the distance. It’s only temporary. We have cell phones and laptops. I’m right here, always right here. If you get lonely, call. Or send me an instant message.”

“It’s not the same.”

“I wrote you a song.”

“Really?”

“Yes. Let me send it to you. It’ll take a few minutes for the file transfer.”

“Play it for me while I download it, then.”

“Okay.” He picked up his guitar after transmitting the file. “Are you ready?”

“Yes. Here. I’ll make the call.” A telephone rang on his computer.

He accepted the call. “Are you sure you’re ready?”

“Yes!”

“You have to pay attention, now.”

“Play the song!” she laughed. “I’m never going to be more ready!”

He played and sang softly to her, amazed at how shy he felt doing it. As grainy and terrible as the webcam picture of her was, though, he saw the tears sliding down her cheeks.

“I miss your voice so much,” she said.

“Listen to the song when you miss me,” he answered. “Just close your eyes, and pretend we’re sitting together in the loft and I’m singing and playing and you’re reading philosophy and we’re together.”

“You’ll have to send me more songs, then. And don’t make them perfect. I want to hear you say ‘shit’ when you screw up the chords or the words.”

He laughed. “You don’t like perfection?”

“I like you.”

“You’re saying I’m not perfect?” Melodramatically he pantomined committing hari kiri. “How can you do this to me?”

“Goof.”

“You love me.”

“Yeah, I do.” She gave him a languid wink.

“I think I’m going to have to get another job,” she said, changing the subject.

“Why?”

“Starbuck’s keeps cutting my hours. If I can’t work, I can’t get paid. If I can’t get paid, I can’t keep the lights on.”

“I should have stayed there. Then I could have helped with the expenses.”

“No, you needed to go back home after graduation. You weren’t getting paid enough to stay here. New York’s expensive, remember?”

“I could have gone to more auditions there. I could have busked in the subway. Hell, I could have gone to work at the Starbuck’s across the street from yours.”

“Oh, sweetheart. No. Our parents would have written us both off for sure.”

“I’m going to start making money with my music, Delilah. I will. I could have done it there. And when I do it, we’ll have plenty of money.”

“Most musicians don’t make tons of money. You know that.”

“I will, though. I’m going to make money with my guitar and with my voice. I’ll make enough to send you to graduate school if you want. I’ll make so much money we’ll have our own plane to fly us back and forth. We can be in New York during the week and on weekends we’ll go to wherever my gig is, or maybe to our Swiss chalet.”

“You’re dreaming.”

“Yes, I’m dreaming. But someday I will make that much money. I promise.”

“I love the song, sweetheart.”

“You love it? Really?” He was pleased. “There’s more I have to say, you know. That song didn’t say it all.”

“Oh?”

“Every love song I write I write for you. I write them to you.”

“You take my breath away.”

“Then I’ll have to stop writing you songs.”

“No!”

“I can’t have you turning blue because of what I write.”

“I want to gasp for air, “ she laughed, “so you’ll give me mouth-to-mouth!”

“You can’t listen to them unless I’m right there with you, then.”

“Then you’d better come soon.”

“I can, you know. I can get there soon. I should come and audition there. I never should have left.”

“You’re going to do so well on this audition that you’ll make a life in Nashville.”

“Maybe. But even so, there are a million ways to get to you. I’ll fly or drive. Maybe next month.”

“If you have the money.”

“I’ll walk to you if I have to.”

“You will not.”

“I will. Would you know I love you if I walked all the way from Kentucky to New York?”

“I’d know you were crazy, and so would all our friends,” she laughed.

“They have no idea how crazy I am about you. I love you, Delilah.”

“I love you, too.”

“Do you think any of them have ever felt this way?”

“I don’t know. I don’t know how many of them would walk a thousand miles for each other.”

“Hey, that sounds like a song!” He started strumming the opening beat of The Proclaimers’ song, ‘(I’m Gonna Be) Five Hundred Miles.’ “And if I haver / Yeah I know I’m gonna be /I’m gonna be the man /Who’s havering to you…” He interrupted himself. “Hey, Miss English Major, what does ‘haver’ mean, anyway?”

Delilah laughed again. “It’s a Scottish term. It means you’re talking foolishly, which you are.”

“You’re so smart.”

“I love you. And if you keep havering and you walk a thousand miles, our friends will definitely all laugh at you.”

“Let them laugh. We’ll laugh at them and they will never know why. I love you more than I can ever express, no matter how many songs I write.”

“You make my heart swell and melt and swell and melt all over again.”

“My world is different without you in it. I miss you.”

“I miss you, too. I wish I was out of school. I wish it was three years from now when we knew where we were going to be and we were working and living and together….”

“We will be together. We will.”

“I need to get back to this stupid book.”

“It’s not stupid. It’s philosophy. Philosophy can’t be stupid.”

“It’s stupid, or I’m too dense to get it. It has to be one or the other.”

He was reluctant to cut the connection. “Be good, study hard. Two more years and you’ll be through with school and nothing will keep us apart.”

“I miss you.”

“Don’t miss me. Study. Work. These two years will pass quickly. By the time you graduate summa cum laude I’ll be famous. I’ll be famous because of you.”

“Because of me?” she echoed.

“You’re my muse. It’ll be because of you. I feel another song coming on. Another love song for you.”

“I want to hear it when it’s done.”

“You will. And I’ll be there as soon as I can figure out how to get there. I promise.”

“Break a leg on the audition tomorrow.”

“You say that to actors, not musicians.”

“Good luck, then.”

“Goodbye, love.”

“Goodbye, love.”

She cut the connection.

Fetish IM Conversation

So the other night I had been chatting with my friend, Magic Toy Missing, for about five minutes when I got an IM from a stranger. The stranger started out innocuously enough, even to the point where I felt like I should be polite. Then came the fetish talk. No shit. He’d have been on “ignore” long before we got to that point but I had not just Magic but Susan egging me on to have a good time with the guy.

Keep in mind that as soon as I realized what was going on, which was 5 minutes into the conversation, I was sharing everything the guy said with Magic, then later with Susan. As usual, everything but the conversation with the stranger is italicized.

Oh, and his yahoo ID is “shakespeare_lovee” for anyone who wants to share their fetish with him. Please let me know how it goes if you do. I’m dying to find out.

HIM: Hello. How are you tonight?
ME: Do I know you?
HIM: no i find your yahoo ID in parents channel
(Parents channel? Does he mean the Member Directory?)
HIM: i have a friend her name is susan. i take your yahoo ID to her (What does he mean? Susan gave him my ID? Why?)
HIM: is it problem for u?
ME: no… (There must be some reason Susan sent him to me. Or was it Sue, planning to set me up for another IM blog? I wonder…)
HIM: asl plzz (Oh, shit)
ME: sorry, I don’t play that game (Oh, for Pete’s sake. Either you want to talk or you want a freaking date. Which is it?)
HIM: it isnt a game. i never chated u before (No, shit. It I had seen you before you’d be on “ignore.” And you aren’t from around here, are you, buddy?)
HIM: trust me (The hell I will!)
ME: I don’t mean to be rude, but is there something you wanted to talk with me about? (I’m really not in the mood for this.)
HIM: i saw your picture and i like u much (Did he see me on Susan’s friends list? She has a lot of these guys on her list since she speaks Arabic. Crap. I don’t want to alienate a friend of hers.)
HIM: u are looking friendly (Whatever.)
HIM: do i disturb u? (Yes. But I’ll be nice. You might be a friend of Susan’s.)
ME: thank you. You obviously have me at a disadvantage, though, because I neither know what you look like or what interests we might have in common.
HIM: i only want to chat u (Yeah. That’s why you’re so interested in my “asl plzz” – if you saw my page you should already know my “asl plzz.” Time to let Magic know what was going on: “I’ve got one of those Arab guys who just messaged me, telling me our friend Susan said to look me up. I wonder if she wanted me to tell him to go fuck himself”? Magic responds, “probably….do it anyways….” I laugh, and copy the conversation so far to Magic, who responds with a heartfelt “woohoo!” He’s so pleased that I have an admirer. He’s a good friend.)
HIM: if u want! (I don’t want. Be nice, Anne, I tell myself. He’s a possible friend of a friend. Me to Magic: “So what should I tell him? I’ll give you credit if you help me mess with his head and I post it as a blog!”)
ME: What shall we discuss? Today I’m quite interested in Venezuela. (I just wrote a blog on it, in fact. But if you really came from my page you would already know that, especially if you were interested enough in me to look at what I was interested in. I look back to the IM with Magic. Magic’s a little slow to respond, but eventually he helps me out with a topic by saying, “ummmmm… hummm….” in a thoughtful way. I’m glad HE’S not trying to pick up chicks on IM. I’m TEASING, Magic! So I copy the remainder of the conversation so far to Magic and giggle. Venezuela. That ought to hang him up! Magic is laughing at me.)
HIM: i want to see u (Oh, shit! Of course you do. Next you’re going to ask me to cam with you.)
HIM: could u plz invite me your cam (uh-huh. I copy this bit of scintillating conversation to Magic and cry for help. Magic, to his credit, does try to get helpful. “Point the cam at some thing totally weird. That should work,” he tells me. I look around for something bizarre to point the camera to. All I see is the silly flamingo pen someone gave me as a joke a couple of years ago. No, I don’t think that’s quite the ticket.)
ME: I thought you already had seen me. You said I looked friendly. (I’m playing for time, my mind racing. Oh, hell. This is such garbage. I’m asking Susan if she sent him to me.)
HIM: yes u are friendly (Hell, no I’m not! Just give me time!)
HIM: could u plz invite me your cam
ME: No, I don’t have a cam. (Shit. She’s not online. Or she’s invisible. Me to Magic: “Help!” Magic just laughs at me.)
HIM: do u have any web cam female friends?
ME: excuse me?
HIM: do u have any web cam female friends? (I’m thinking, gee, um, there’s Silly, and OhBilly has been trying to get lucky with one of these characters. Hmmm…)
ME: Are you really asking me if i have any women friends for you to ogle over the internet?
HIM: yes
ME: Why would I want a friend of mine to be sexually assaulted by web cam?
HIM: what is the probem? (I copy this section of the message to Magic, who lets me know in no uncertain terms that he is dying laughing. You know, he sends me the emoticon with the little yellow guy rolling around beating the floor laughing his ass off. ‘Thanks heaps, buddy,’ I’m thinking.)
HIM: am i looking there a pervert? (Hell, yes, buddy! And if Susan sent you to me I’m gonna kill her! What a time for her not to be online!)
HIM: why u think sex? (DUH!)
ME: Well, usually the next thing a man asks when he’s hunting for someone to cam with is for the woman to take off her clothes. Trust me, I have no friends who would be interested in that.
HIM: there are a lot of phil. girls in chat channels and they are very rude (Really. Well, you’re fixin’ to THINK rude …)
HIM: i felt bored (you felt bored so you decided to pick on me? ME? What the hell have I ever done to you?!)
ME: what do you mean by “phil. girls”? (I copy Magic with the next block of the conversation.)
HIM: phillipian females (Me to Magic: “How am I doing, Magic? BTW, you AREN’T helping!”)
ME: how are they rude?
HIM: want to show their body (Magic just laughs at me: “lol….not sure….never had a man hit on me….”)
HIM: and most of them have very ugly body
ME: lol (Me to Magic: I’ll be happy to send this one your way)
ME: showing one’s body seems to be all the rage with webcammers
HIM: maybe (Me to Magic: Let me send ol’ shakespeare lovee to you and you can pretend to be a philippino cammer for him. Won’t HE get a shock!)
HIM: so
HIM: are u married? (Magic to me: “My cam is pointing at the floor right now….lol”)
ME: no
HIM: kids? (Me to Magic: “Point it at something else when this guy comes along. See if he likes that! ROFLMFAO)
ME: one boy. (Magic to me: “No way! lol” I think, ‘That does it. I’m sending Susan a message and hoping she’s online!’ Me to Susan: “Hey, did you just send some guy with the ID ‘shakespeare_lovee’ to chat me up? ROFL”)
HIM: God bless him (I don’t know about that. The kid’s a sworn atheist. Except on test days, of course.)
ME: and you? (Magic to me: my dad sent me a very nasty pic….. lol….you want it? Susan to me: “WTH?”)
HIM: i am single sweety (Susan to me: “No! WTF!?” AHA! She’s here!)
ME: how nice (Remember y’all, ‘how nice’ is southern for ‘fuck you.’ Don’t EVER call me ‘sweetie’ unless you know me really well. Me to magic: “I don’t think so! LOL Susan just answered me.”)
ME: You really don’t need to refer to me as “sweety” since I tend not to be very sweet. (“Yep,” I say to Susan. “Let me show you.” I copy her with the first part of the conversation, to the point where he asks me “asl plzz.” She says to me, “Get the hell outta here!”)
HIM: do u think u are ugly???
ME: WHAT? (He has no idea, but instead of being offended, I’m laughing at Susan, who is completely mystified at this point. “What’s THAT about?” she asks me.)
ME: no (I wish I could concentrate on you, buddy, but I’m laughing at Susan’s reaction now! Susan says to me: “I’m freaking shocked! What the hell?” I tell her, “I’m having one of THOSE IM conversations with him – but I didn’t want to be too rude if he really was a friend of yours.” “Shit!” she replies. “I don’t know a Shakespeare, unless he has a different handle on IM.” “I think he just made it up,” I tell her. “He’s obviously one of the ones we have Wench’s Virgin Training School for.”)
HIM: u are very sweet lady (“Ask him how he knows me,” Susan says)
ME: thank you (Susan’s offended. “What the hell is he saying my name for?” I think he made up the name,” I say to reassure her. “That’s B.S.!” I can practically hear her yelling, and I’m really laughing now. Yes, she’s offended. “Wanna help me mess with him?” I ask her. “Jesus Christ! How?” Yay! She’s on board with me!
HIM: whats your job?
ME: I’m a lawyer (Susan has been checking her friends list to be sure. “I don’t have a shakespeare,” she tells me. I reply, “He made it up – or Sue sent him to me, since she loves it when I post those conversations.”)
ME: What do you do? (Innocuous conversation – I’m thinking if I get Miss Susie in on this it ought to be good!)
HIM: i am a teacher (Susan’s still indignant. “Christ, I know I didn’t! I would never give out someone’s address!”)
ME: what do you teach? (Keeping him on the line long enough to trace the call – this is gonna be fun…)
HIM: genetics (“Thank you!” I say to Susan, and I definitely mean it. The last thing I want is people giving these creeps my IM address. They find it easily enough as it is!)
ME: really (‘Genetics? How full of shit is he?’ I’m thinking. He probably thinks I’m impressed.)
HIM: yes (I report to Susan: “He claims to be a professor of genetics)
HIM: and where is your husband? (‘He’s looking over my shoulder reading this conversation, idiot. Don’t you remember I told you I’m divorced?’ I think to myself. Susan’s reaction to the ‘genetics’ thing is the same as mine. “Yeah – where?” The skepticism drips from her keyboard.)
ME: Where do you teach?
HIM: in college (I tell Susan, “He says he teaches in a college. He’s more interested in where my husband is.” We both laugh at this.)
ME: What college? (“Wait a minute,” Susan says. “genetics – that’s ringing a bell.” Uh-oh. Maybe he IS one of hers.)
HIM: secondary school (Secondary school? Like high school? This guy needs to get his story straight. Susan remembers, “I had a prof that came as an avatar, a woman. I didn’t accept the invitation.”)
HIM: where is your husband? (This guy obviously didn’t read the part where I told him I am divorced, even though he said my husband must be blind – whatever that might have to do with getting divorced. I ‘m getting worried that he really is a friend and I will have to be nice to him, and suddenly I’m in a mood to mess with him, with Susan’s help, of course. “Let me look at his profile and see if there’s anything there.”)
ME: I am not married (She tells me the name of the genetics person who contacted her. It’s not the same. “Let me ask his name,” I say.)
HIM: u divorced? (Yes, and I sound like a broken record telling you that, just like you sound like a broken record asking me where my husband is.)
ME: yes
ME: What is your name?(Susan says, “He said that he likes to clone humans.” “Yeah, right,” I say. “He did. Right on his page.”)
HIM: u are very beautiful woman. he must be blind (My ex has better eyesight than I do. Let’s just not go there, ok, buddy?)
HIM: my name is umut. u? (I tell Susan, “He says his name is Umut. “He’s a mutt alright,” she retorts.)
ME: Anne
HIM: nice to meet u
ME: where are you from?
HIM: turkey
ME: Why genetics? what interests you about that field of study?
HIM: i like genetics. i fell happy to teach it
HIM: i really want to see u (I tell Susan, “This one isn’t responding well to my questions. I might be able to cut and paste a couple of conversations together for this one, but so far he’s not a real winner. As winners go in the IM category of conversations, that is!” She laughs.)
ME: You have seen my picture. that’s what I look like
HIM: but it would be nice to see u live (“He bad wants to cam with me,” I tell Susan. “I’m SO not going to.”)
ME: Well, I’m afraid that’s out of the question since I don’t have a webcam (Susan’s amazed. “WTF!” I say, “Yeah. Really.”)
HIM: could u find it some where? (I copy Susan with more of the conversation)
ME: What? I don’t have one! (What kind of a dumbass is he, anyway?)
ME: What do you mean find it?
HIM: i really want to see u (I copy Susan with another chunk of the conversation)
ME: then look at my picture (God, is this guy whiny, or what?)
ME: that’s the best I can do for you (I copy more of the conversation to Susan)
HIM: but i see only your 3 pictures
ME: four. There are four. The one with the red lips is me, too (I had the red monkey lips representing the Hornifed Sex Monkey still on my top page)
HIM: hey
HIM: nice joke
HIM: u make me laugh
ME: I’m so glad (I really couldn’t care less. I copy the last of the conversation to Susan. Susan remarks, “Pushy bastard. Must be Arab.” “Turk,” I tell her” “Same difference,” she notes. “Yup.” We both laugh.
HIM: could u sen me your pictures plz?
ME: No, I don’t think so. (I pass this request on to Susan. She starts scrambling to find pictured for me to send the guy.“I have a naked man for ya,” she offers. I laugh. “That would be a hoot! I was chatting with Magic Toy Missing a few minutes before I messaged you, and I suggested sending this guy to him. Magic could turn on his web cam and give the guy a treat.” Susan laughed. “Too bad you didn’t get him to do it!” “I know. Magic declined the invitation to play. Said he had to wash his hair or something.” Susan has now located several pictures. She shares them with me and I laugh. “Oh, yeah. Like I should send him a woman in a thong!” She snorts. “Go for it. That’s as naked as my photos get. I got nothing else in the arsenal.”)
HIM: send me plz
ME: no
ME: I really don’t think we have anything to talk about (Susan’s trying to persuade me to go for the thong.)
HIM: what u want to learn about me? (Not a damn thing, buddy. But, being a sport, I share the conversation to this point with Susan. She says to me, “I like the naked guy myself.”)
ME: here you go
HIM: heyyy (He’s getting excited. This is going to be funny. I tell Susan I just sent the naked guy.)
HIM: what is this? (Susan says, “I can’t wait to hear this!”)
ME: it appears to be a naked man (Looks like a nude dude to me, Sparky. Do you like him?)
HIM: is it your ex husband pic?
ME: no
ME: someone sent it to me (I won’t tell him that a woman just sent it to me for the sole purpose of sending it to him.)
HIM: i think thats is not his picture
HIM: he must be find it some where
ME: You think? I was hoping it was real (I copy the conversation to this point to Susan, who says, “WTF?! LMMFAO)
ME: but I don’t know too many people who sit around naked and let their friends take pictures of them (Do I sound enough like Pollyanna here?)
HIM: i dont think so? (I copy the next few lines to Susan, who is still laughing. She asks, “So does he have his cam on?” “No clue,” I tell her.)
ME: oh, well. I had hoped he would be my next husband
HIM: i have very nice female friends but i have never sent them my naked pictures (“What does he look like?” Susan asks. “Darn it,” I say, “he hasn’t offered to let me view him, nor has he offered me a pic.” I can hear her chortle. “Tell him you will if he does.” I think NOT!)
ME: you mean you HAVE naked pics? (God, they ALL have naked pics. Who TAKES those pictures is what I want to know! Wait – no, I really DON’T want to know, either.)
HIM: yes of course (Of course. Me to Susan: eeeewwwwww! I don’t want to see!)
HIM: dont u?
ME: NO! (Susan says to me: “What the hell. Just put him on iggy after you get a laugh.” Don’t I always?)
ME: Well, ok, I have one (I send Susan this section of the conversation and she laughs at me. ‘Now where the hell am I going to get a naked picture?’ I wonder, trusting Susan as my spirit guide in all this.)
HIM: u must be joking (“Susie, find me a good one!” I plead, knowing that she has to be dying of laughter in front of her computer. “Of what? A woman? Naked?” Dammit, I can hear her hanging me out to dry…)
ME: well, no
ME: It’s not really naked (“Yeah,” I tell Susan. “Or maybe I’ll use your thong pic.” She has sent me a sexy one of a woman in her underwear.)
HIM: in bikini
ME: not exactly (Don’t ask me where I’m going with this, because I can’t tell you. I’m just hoping Susan comes up with something.)
HIM: if u want u can send me
ME: Why would I want to do that? (I send the conversation to Susan, hoping she finds a pic in a hurry)
HIM: if not ok dont agry sweety
ME: I’m not angry. I’m just curious. Why would I want to send you an intimate picture? (Sending Susan the last couple of lines, ‘Hurry, hurry, Susan,’ I beg silently.)
HIM: look, your chat friend send u his naked picture
HIM: do u feel excited? (Oh, Jesus. Next he’ll want to know the state of my panties.)
HIM: i think yes (“Almost there,” Susan assures me. Whew!)
HIM: maybe u want to make excited me
ME: no. Actually, I found that in Google images (I’m intentionally ignoring the question of anyone’s state of excitement.)
HIM: why u searched it
ME: because you were asking for pics
ME: I thought it would be funny
HIM: thats not about me
HIM: do u want to see my naked pictures?
HIM: be truth’ (Me to Susan: “Oh, shit! NOW WHAT???” Susan tries to be soothing as I am freaking out. “Tell him you have to go find it.”)
ME: How do you know you could trust me with photos of you naked? I might publish them on the internet (“No, you misunderstand!” I tell Susan. “He’s offering to send me HIS naked pic!!” “Go for it,” she advises. I’m throwing up a little in the back of my mouth.)
HIM: hımmm u right but that is your problem not mine
HIM: so i never send (I notify Susan of this turn of events. “Should I beg him for it?” I laugh. “Tell him you’ll show a little if he does. Ask him why he wants to talk to you. I mean, if he wants to cam than he better get serious!” I’m dying laughing. “There’ll be no bullshit then, She assures me. )
ME: send it if you want. I don’t care. (Does that sound nonchalant enough?)
HIM: is your first feet toe longer than second
HIM: or the same?
ME: ?? Why do you ask that? (Me to Susan: you won’t believe what he just asked)
HIM: i want to learn (I send Susan the toe question)
ME: why does that make a difference? (“Foot fetish, Susan diagnoses immediately. “Probably,” I say. What do I do now?” She’s instantly decisive: “Say yes.” I’m a little rattled, and I’m laughing too hard to type clearly. “I asked him why he wanted to know. Let’s see what he says,” I tell Susan. “Ask him if he’d like to suck on your toes,” she suggests. We both are rolling.)
ME: Would you like to suck on my toes? (“I did it!” I can practically hear Susan’s laughter. “I damn near choked!” she responds a moment later.)
HIM: hey don’t do this u are a lawyer sweety (“He better have a damn long tongue if it’s gonna reach Arkansas from Turkey!” I barely notice his response. I’m having a lot more fun with Susan than I am with him.)
ME: you started it (“Did you send him that pic?” Susan asks. “I sent him the man,” I tell her. “Don’t make me piss myself!” Susan laughs)
HIM: i want to learn lnger or the same
ME: why? (Susan sends me a new picture. “Tell him it’s a little preview,” she suggests.)
HIM: bc i am foot fetish (No – really? A foot fetish? “He’s still on the toes,” I tell Susan. “He just admitted to a foot fetish.” Susan’s fast. “Want me to look up podiatrist?” she asks.)
ME: I see (Do I sound surprised?
HIM: give me answer (Susan says she’ll go find a picture with a foot in it.)
ME: what is it you like about feet? (“Good plan. A closeup,” I chortle to Susan.)
HIM: what about u?
ME: what about me? (Uh-oh. What am I going to say here?)
HIM: yes (Ummm…)
ME: I have no feet (Yeah! That’s the ticket!)
HIM: there are 20000 people who have no feet. (He knows the freaking STATISTICS!!!)
ME: and you found one of them. How are those for odds, huh?(I send the foregoing to Susan, knowing it will make her crazy. “WTF?” she sends back.)
HIM: 20.000/5.000.000.000=%0,0025 chance
HIM: and i asked her about feet (Susan’s hysterical now. I can feel it, all the way between Pennsylvania and Arkansas. She’s hysterical.)
HIM: what a destiny
ME: yep (Susan’s crying. She says, “Now I have to find a naked amputee!! ROFLMAO I’m looking through fetish pics already!)
HIM: plz say truth
ME: All right. Truth is I really have four feet. I have feet on my arms, too. I had to learn to type with the toes on my hands (I copy this to Susan. “What the hell!” She’s beyond using acronyms.)
HIM: i think u believe evoluation (Susan says, “He’s probably jerkin off with his elbows.”)
ME: evolution? Yes. I am a study in retro-evolution, or devolution. I have four feet, just like an animal. (What an image THAT evokes!)
HIM: and that feet toes (Susan says, “That’s one for the mad scientists.”)
HIM: is your first feet toe longer than second? (“Scientists? Yes. Dr. StrangeloveShakespeare, over here,” I tell Susan. “No shit!!” She howls back at me.)
ME: They are the same
ME: No, one’s longer.
ME : No, the other is longer. I can’t tell. (Susan has finally recovered enough to ask me, “What’s he doing now?”)
HIM: hey come on
HIM: thats not diffucult for u (Is he getting testy? With moi? For shame! I send this section to Susan. She’s still laughing.)
ME: well, I can’t tell. I’m blind, you see. I have to do this by touch. (Susan’s response to this is yet another expletive. I think she was laughing too hard to think in real words.)
HIM: so if i send my naked pictures u will not see! (I decide I’ve gotta let Magic know about this. I haven’t kept him in the loop. Me to Magic: “Oh, god – they guy is a foot fetishist!” Susan, meanwhile, has recovered the power of speech. “This is too much fun!” she exclaims.)
ME: true. That’s why I don’t care if you do or not (Do I sound doleful? Resigned to my sightless and footless misfortune? And people wonder why I do this!)
HIM: u make me laugh here (He’s laughing at the poor little lame blind woman? That cad! I remind Susan, “Fucking with these guys is entertainment in my sad little corner of the world.” Susan says, “I never chat. Now I can see why.” She conveys hilarious sobs, and I copy Magic with the toe conversation. Now he’s laughing, too.)
HIM: do u need a love? (Oh, now he’s going to take pity on me! Susan breaks in, “Tell him you have an extra toe on each foot. That should get him rolling.” )
ME: I have an extra toe on each foot. Six toes. (I am obedient to Susan my Muse.)
HIM: for me?
ME: but of course
HIM: are u foot fetish? (I copy this to Susan. “What should I tell him?”
ME: not exactly. Either I have too many feet or not enough, so they don’t much interest me. (“Tell him you’ll rub them on him,” Susan suggests. Magic tells me I got myself into this and he’s not going to help get me out.)
HIM: do u like me? (“No, I can’t do that,” I tell Susan. “He’d have to leave the computer to go clean up. I wouldn’t want him to get splooge on the keyboard.”)
ME: Like you? I don’t know you. (“Hell,” offers Susan, “it’s probably already gummed up!”)
HIM: i am 28m turkei
ME: you’re young enough to be my son (“Good God,” I report to Susan. “He just told me he’s 28!)
HIM: what was your age? (Well, it WAS 28, but that was a loooooong time ago…)
ME: 44 (Susan is encouraging about this relationship. “Tell him you love younger men,” she says. “EEEEWWWWWWWWWWW,” I respond. “Young enough to be my offspring? GROSS!
HIM: only 17 years we have. is it problem for u?
ME: yeah. It feels like kiddie porn
HIM: hey i am young men
ME: yeah. And I’m an old lady
HIM: u are my sweet lady (I copy Susan. Her response, predictably, is “LMAO.”)
ME: I really don’t think so (I’ve copied Magic with everything to this point. Magic tells me, “That’s great.” I can see that he is happy that I have found true love on the internet at long last.)
HIM: what u think lady?
ME: 1) I think I’m NOT yours
ME: 2) I’m NOT sweet
ME: 3) I’m really not very nice at all
HIM: is it importand for u?
ME: and 4) I’m not a lady. I’m a man
HIM: we spend very enjoy time
HIM: that is big joke! (I’m copying Susan, who agrees that we’ve had about all the fun we can stand for one night.)
ME: I think it’s time to go
ME: goodbye, Umut
HIM: hey
HIM: plz say true
HIM: are u really male? (Susan points out that it doesn’t seem to matter one way or another to him. “No,” I agree, “he just wants to keep me talking.”
ME: no (“Yeah, Susan says. And for what? He isn’t getting anywhere.” He wants to know for real if I’m a man, I tell her. “Tell him the first pic was you,” she suggests, “and that you’re gay.”)
ME: what do you think? (Oh, I am SO coy!)
HIM: i think u ar female
HIM: u must a male
ME: I probably ought to tell you I’m a gay male (Susan suggests now that I tell him I’d like to take him by the toes and roll him over in the clover.)
HIM: come on
HIM: i look your picture
HIM: u are female
ME: I need to go. Goodbye, Umut
HIM: are u female?
ME: goodbye

Susan and I talked awhile longer, then it occurred to us to ask Sue, who loves these IM conversations, who may have sent him to me. So I send Sue an Instant Message: “Are you there? Some guy from Turkey with the ID shakespeare_lovee just IMed me and said my friend Susan said for him to look me up. He’s a freaking foot fetishist!”

Sue wasn’t online until later, sadly, but she’s been having fun asking me all about my feet ever since. Magic pops back on and asks, So, did you get rid of your boyfriend? Sheesh. Some friends!

So it’s official. Shakespeare and I are a couple. My feet are all tingly.

Another Tedious Messenger Conversation

This one opened up with several lines of text in Arabic, which I neither read or speak. Then he buzzed me and did one of those really obnoxious Audibles in some other language. I knew right off the bat I had a bona fide moronic IM Cammer. As usual, my thoughts are in italics.

Oh, and because I know you will ask, the guy on this IM is Abdullah  He also sent me an invite to connect oas friends on Yahoo 360, which I denied based on the fact that communication between us is clearly impossible. If you go to his page, notice that his friends are named Sexy, Horny, and Boobs. Nice.

HIM: your eyes are sweet (Awwww. He’s starting out nicely. I wonder if he’ll ask me to dance?)

ME: You’re nuts and you’re obnoxious. Do you have any idea what you are even saying? (If I go on the attack he won’t understand me.)

HIM: i dont understand you (No shit, Sherlock. I didn’t expect you to.)

ME: I don’t understand you, either. What is with the bizarre comments? Do you even speak English? (That’s it. Be righteously indignant that he dared contact me in a language I don’t speak.)

HIM: do you love sex frre? (WTF? Sex frre? Sex fire? Sex for free? Sex for a fee? WTF?)

HIM: do you have camer? (Heh heh. He can’t spell camera. I’ll pretend not to understand.)

ME: WTF are you trying to say? (Oh! I could say camel instead of camera!)

ME: I don’t keep camels, no. (Lou does that for me at the Virgin Training School)

HIM: your body sweet (How the hell would he know that? I don’t have any pictures of my body posted!)

HIM: i can see your chest (I don’t think so. If you’re looking at someone’s chest, it ain’t mine.)

ME: No, you can’t see my chest. What makes you think I want to give you sexual gratification? If I had the ability to do so, I would have you arrested for sexual assault. (Right. Like I care what this guy says or wants. He’s an idiot.)

HIM: your chest is sweet (And how would you know?)

ME: How would you know? You have no idea what my body even looks like. I could be a 700 pound quadriplegic with club feet and a potato face, for all you know. (What other nasty images I can evoke here?)

HIM: i can see your chest (You can? I don’t think so!)

ME: No, you can’t. Even if you’re peeping in my window you can’t see my chest. I’m dressed for Pete’s sake.

HIM: ok (Why do I feel like I’m talking to Latke on Taxi? You know, Andy Kaufman’s character?)

ME: Go pick on some woman from your country. Maybe they are stupid enough there to display themselves like meat at the butcher shop. (I doubt it, though. That’s why you are trolling the Internet for wanton Western women. Why does my gender have to be so stupid here?)

HIM: no (Yeah, you’d get stoned in the marketplace if you did, wouldn’t you?)

ME: You have no idea what you’re even talking about. Go away. (He really has no idea what I’m talking about.)

HIM: no (He’s just saying no for the hell of it. He has no clue.)

HIM: your body sweet (We’re back to this?)

ME: Get a life (Get a life, moron)

HIM: your eyes are sweet (Aren’t they? They are laughing at your lame ass right now.)

ME: So you assault me? Go away. You are insulting and rude. (I wonder if he uses Google Translator?)

HIM: ok (What a freaking idiot)

HIM: i can see your chest (We’re back to this AGAIN??)

ME: No. (How much clearer can I put this? Even Google Translator ought to be able to interpret this.)

HIM: your chest is sweet (You’re a moron)

ME: You’re a jerk

HIM: i would like to play sex with you ok (Oh, my gawd. He is a hornified jackass.)

ME: No. (You’ve got to be kidding.)

HIM: send me 10$ doler (WHAT? I’m laughing out loud at this point.)

ME: You’ve got to be kidding. (Surely he doesn’t really think THAT’S going to happen.)

HIM: send to me (ok, buddy. Tell me who to make the check out to)

ME: ok, I’ll send you $10 – what is your name and address (Hee hee! Right!)

HIM: $1000 (Oooooo, the stakes are raised!)

HIM: ok (He’s certifiable!)

ME: SURE (I hope he realizes just how enthusiastic I am about this.)

ME: what is your name (Come on, buddy. Tell me more.)

HIM: no (Did he understand that? I wonder…)

HIM: $10000000000000000000000000000 (Uh-huh.)

HIM: your chest is sweet (Oh, my gawd. Not again!)

ME: you’re an idiot

HIM: i can see your chest (ok, I’m getting bored with this.)

HIM: ok (Time to tell him to go screw himself)

ME: hell no

HIM: you are abeoutiful (Guess he’s not using Google Translator. Google Translator can spell)

ME: you’re a pig (let’s see him translate that and still want to talk)

HIM: think you (OMG! HAH! He thanked me for calling him a PIG!)

HIM: your body sweet (This guy is absolutely tedious)

HIM: your chest is sweet (YAAAWWWWWNNNNN)

ME: you’re a frigging moron

HIM: are you married? (He cares? Oh! HE wants to marry me! Be still my heart!)

ME: WTF does it matter

HIM: i can see your chest (Time to tie this one up)

ME: Do you really not get it? NO!

HIM: your hair are sweet (Oh, wow. Something new and different. He must have looked in his dictionary.)

ME: You are a complete ass

HIM: i can see your chest (boredboredboredboredbored)

HIM: ok

HIM: no

ME: go away

HIM: your chest is sweet (Hey, buddy, your pick-up line isn’t working. Watch me throw my drink in your face.)

ME: how the hell would you know

HIM: ok

HIM: think you (He has no clue what he’s saying. I’m done.)

Today’s Extremely Rude Messenger Conversation

He sent me a request to add me to his Messenger list before he even sent he the first “hello.” That turned me off immediately.

I wasn’t very nice to him. Probably he would have been harmless, but I just wasn’t in the mood. I was polite as long as I could stand to be.

My thoughts and commentary are in italics, as usual.

 

HIM: Hi there
HIM: 36 swm in Kansas here
ME: 44, div
(I’m not in the mood. Go away.)
HIM: how are ya hun? (Don’t ever call me “hun” if you don’t know me well.)
ME: jaded (Tired of idiots like you who assume I want you to call me “hun”)
HIM: lol whats that mean? (If you don’t know, why are you laughing? Maybe you should cry instead.)
ME: cynical (Some days I feel like a dictionary)
HIM: lol ok what ya up to? (You’re quite the giggler, aren’t you, sport?)
ME: working. You? (Damn. I should have said I was chatting with some fool on Messenger. Oh, well. Too late for witty repartee.)
HIM: same lol what do u do hun? (I think he just lied to me. I think he’s really cruising the Yahoo Member Directory for hot babes. Well, he’s a-fixin to get burned.)
ME: Me? I’m a lawyer. So it’s “Hon.” and not “hun.” (“Hon.” as in the abbreviation for “Honorable,” which is how my mail comes addressed, not “hun” as in the pandering diminutive you clearly intend. )
HIM: sorry hon i manage a small sporting good store (Hah! He thought I was correcting his spelling!)
HIM: what kind of lawyer? (Like you’d understand if I told you. Right. All you need to know is that I’m a good one.)
ME: A good one
HIM: lol and a pretty one (You think it’s funny that I’m good? Go against me in court someday. I double-dog dare you. You won’t ‘lol’ for long.)
ME: thank you (I’m trying to be polite. Really I am.)
HIM: love ur pix! why are u single? (Because I’m divorced. It sort of comes with the territory.)
ME: I didn’t like being married (Surely he didn’t want me to tell him the story of my marriage and its aftermath. Surely.)
HIM: i see. do u date a lot? (Why? Are you wanting to know if you have competition? You do. It’s from my collection of batteries. Not really. Heh heh. Blushing to myself. Yikes!)
ME: some
HIM: bet the men love u huh? (No. They hate me. That’s why they ask me out.)
ME: They are mostly scared of me (I’m told that I can be pretty intimidating to be in such a small package. But dynamite’s like that.)
HIM: why is that? lol
ME: I’m smarter than they are (and if they say too many stupid things I start making fun of them and they don’t even realize it)
HIM: lol so no serious stuff in a while? (How can I be serious with a man who giggles constantly?)
ME: when we start talking serious stuff they can’t keep up with me. It’s a sad situation. (You have no idea how much at a disadvantage you are in this conversation, buddy.)
ME: For instance, politics… (Dude, this is a hint as to where the conversation probably ought to go, because I don’t like the tack you’re taking.)
HIM: cant keep up with u??? in bed or what? lol (What a freaking loser! I bet he says that to all the women he accosts!)
ME: um…that’s kind of a personal question, don’t you think? (This is not a hint. I’m telling you it’s a personal question and you need to change your approach if you want me to continue talking to you.)
HIM: yeah sorry just teasing u (What makes you think this disembodied person on the other end of your chat conversation whom you’ve never met wants to be teased about her bedroom activities? Jerk.)
HIM: i like to tease and flirty (How nice. For those who don’t already know, “how nice” is a southern euphemism for “fuck you.”)
HIM: that ok?
ME: flirting’s fun (It is. What you’re doing isn’t flirting, though. It’s just offensive. And furthermore I’m in the process of writing a responsive comment to one of the political blogs posed by my good friend the High Priest of Meatloaf, who, by the way, is really a funny and thoughtful guy and who can carry on interesting conversations in circles around you even in his zombified form.)
HIM: u wanna flirt with me? lol (When will this guy stop this incessant giggling???)
ME: Well, I don’t know (Read: Hell, no.)
ME: I like flirting with smart people who are masters of the double entendre. (I bet he asks me what a double entendre is.)
HIM: what is the “double entendre”? (Bingo)
ME: do you know what a pun is? (It took me a minute to figure out how to answer in words of two syllables or less)
HIM: yes (Well, that’s a start)
ME: It’s sort of like that. One word or phrase that has two meanings. (I bet that went right over his pointy little giggly head.)
HIM: k how tall are u? (Ummm… and this is relevant to this internet chat how?)
ME: Not very (Why? Are you measuring me for my coffin?)
HIM: do u have sexy legs too? (Oh, for Pete’s sake! He can’t be serious.)
ME: I doubt I’m the best judge of that (Actually, I’m a member of the Rockettes. I was hired solely because of my incredible legs. I recently quit the job, though, because all the other girls were just too tall. I got tired of them tripping over mini-me.)
HIM: i am a leg and foot man (Is that why you foot is in your mouth? What the hell do I say in response to that? Oh – wait. I’ll say nothing.)
HIM: busy? (Yeah. Busy pontificating on politics. Check my blog sometime.)
ME: well, I am at work (Not that’s I’m working any more than you are, though.)
HIM: what ya wearing today? (A frown while I’m talking to you.)
ME: sweats and a t-shirt (not that it’s any of your business)
ME: sexy, huh (Hint: I’m not flirting with you. Go away.)
HIM: can be lol (Give me a break)
ME: really (Should I have told him about the stains and rips?)
HIM: anything underneath? (Underneath this ice princess facade is a hot chick you will never get to play with, pal.)
ME: me (I know what he means. I just chose not to answer.)
HIM: no undies? (Wouldn’t his mama be proud of him for coming on to me like this?)
ME: Now how is that any of your concern?
(Looking over the tops of my granny glasses at the screen in my best imitation of a stern librarian)
HIM: lol a man just likes to know (One of those burning questions, eh? They make creams, ointments and antibiotics for that, you know.)
ME: let me ask you something (Heh heh. I’m gonna get him)
HIM: ask away (You wouldn’t say that if you knew what was coming)
ME: when was the last time you saw an attractive woman, for example at the mall or in the grocery store, and struck up a conversation with her, then asked her if she was wearing any underwear? And if you actually were crass enough to do that, how hard did she slap you? (Uh-oh. I shouldn’t have used a big word like “crass.”)
HIM: saw my neighbor asked and she came home with me (Horny jackass)
ME: it’s women like that who make men think the rest of us like to be accosted and asked impertinent questions. Look, I like flirting. Flirting is fun. I’m not into gratuitous gratification of anyone’s sexual fantasies online. Whether or not I’m wearing underwear is not anything you should ever assume you can ask me or any other woman you don’t know. In case your mother didn’t teach you, let me inform you that it’s rude, boorish, and extremely unpleasant.
HIM: i apologize (You’d better.)
ME: thank you (Note that I didn’t accept the apology, merely thanked him for it.)
HIM: what case u workin on?
ME: I’m working on an assault case (You verbally assaulted me on this internet chat thingy.)
ME: And no offense, but I think I’m through talking with you. I prefer men who show some adeptness at actual conversation, not those who just leer at me like I’m a piece of meat. (and I want you to go away.)
HIM: bitch (yep. Especially to ass-clowns like you. It’s not just a job; it’s my calling.)

An Applicant for Virgin Training School

I’m going to start a Virgin Training School.  There are so many Trolls and Troglodytes online that seem to need the services of just the right woman.  They want women to get on webcams with them, to have cybersex with them, to talk to them despite their lack of command of a common language. I get several instant messages a day from them, whether I’m invisible or not.
 
This person, whose sex I don’t know, started this conversation with me this morning.  Yes, this is his real ID. I could be circumspect and not publish the IDs of these losers, but frankly, why not?  They are the morons who behave so incredibly inappropriately.
 
I know, the obvious question is why I even bother to talk to these jerks.  To be honest, sometimes it amuses me to toy with them.  They have no idea that they are engaged in a battle of wits and are weaponless. 

kaansalefe: hello
kaansalefe: virgin?
Aramink: why, yes. How did you ever guess?
Aramink: In fact, I train other women to be virgins
kaansalefe: ur profil nicee
Aramink: Thank you very much
kaansalefe: would u like to talk to me on the mic?
Aramink: No, I’m sorry.  My mic does not work.
kaansalefe: ur cam?
Aramink: no, the cam and the mic both are out of order
kaansalefe: wanna show u my virgin p*ssy
Aramink: how kind of you.  Are you seeking admission to my Virgin Training School?
kaansalefe: see my p*ssy and tell me the truth about mine
Aramink: Well, I can’t really tell just from pictures over a cam.  I would have to have you go through  rigorous medical examination conducted by our Medic.
kaansalefe: ok
kaansalefe: f*ck u
kaansalefe: bye
kaansalefe: sorry
Aramink: ROFLMAO

Yet Another Typical IM Troll

hot_guy: hi
Me: you can’t be serious. Your ID is “hot guy?
hot_guy: yes
Me: why
Me: are you just trolling for cybersex?
hot_guy: i don’t know
Me: you don’t
hot_guy: no now
hot_guy: cyber
hot_guy: u want cyber?
Me: hell, no
hot_guy: ok
hot_guy: Image
hot_guy: what are u doing
Me: reading news
hot_guy: hmm
hot_guy: ok
hot_guy: i am search hot lady now
hot_guy: Image
Me: well, this one’s cold
hot_guy: hmm
hot_guy: where hot ladyys ?
hot_guy: Image
Me: My guess is that they’ve been sacrificed to the volcano gods
Me: why don’t you go see?
hot_guy: ok
Me: Habib, is this you?
Me: I’ll kill ya….
hot_guy: no
hot_guy: i am kevin
Mei: ok
Me: nevermind, then
hot_guy: ok
Me: Why in the world did you contact me?
hot_guy: ok

Another Typical IM Conversation with a Troll

I OUGHT to publish this retard’s name, but I won’t.  My thoughts and what was going on at the time are in italics.

Him: How are u doing today ?
Me: good, and you?
Him: I am doing fine.  I am david and u
Me: Hi, David. I’m Anne
Him: Wow u are looking cute and charming
Me: thanks
Him: You remind me if my mom
Me:  so I look old  (his MOM?!?  WTF?!)
Him:
Yes that what u are  but age is just a number ok (Fuck you, buddy, “just a number!”)
Me:
so how old are you? 17?
Him: I am 41 now  and u ?  (41? and I look like his MOM?  What as ass.  What a smooth talker! *snort)
Me:
44, so there is no way I could be your mom (Damn, I should have said I was 34)
Him:
Lol oh okay.  You must be a funny person (yeah, buddy, you don’t know the half of it.  Let’s have some fun…)
Me:
You have no idea…
Him: I am from Springfield, MO and u (god, you’re American?  I had you pegged for Arab or African)
Me:
Little Rock
Him: are u married ?
Me: no – divorced for a little over a year. You?
Him: divorced for over 3 yrs now
Me: I think that being divorced beats the heck out of the alternative (like being married to someone you’d prefer not to be married to.  Or dead.)
Him:
Yes u are right.  But my ex said she wants it and i plead on her but i think she has made her decisions (I guess she did, if you’ve been divorced 3 years. This guy didn’t understand what I mean by “the alternative.”)
Me: I’m delighted to finally be divorced.
Him: Oh okay.  i like the smile on your face  is the the way u always smile ? (No, usually I have the rictus of a grimace when I talk to idiots like you.)
Me:
On my 360 page?  oh, that’s almost a kind of Mona Lisa look, isn’t it (wonder if this moron is wondering who Mona is)
Him:
Yeap
Me: usually I have a big s*-eating grin (should have typed “shit” to see if he’d run)
Him:
I will like to look that smile on your face on day  Hope u will like that (If you ever see my face it will be with a taunting grin on it, you had better believe…)
Me: that’s a very sweet thing to say
Him: oh okay Well i am a very passionate person (passionate?  Does he know what that means? It is a big word with three syllables.)
Me:
So am I, but I laugh a lot
Him: My friend do say that i am kind of like giving (what friends?  you seem like a loser to me)
Me:
so how did you find me?
Him: My heart directed me to you  In 360 yahoo (Your heart.  What a load of crap.)
Me: what did you see there that interested you?
Him: Just the pics The little smile on your face (he didn’t read the page, obviously)
Me:
oh
Him: Do you have a cam ? (get the fuck out!  He didn’t read the first line on the page!)
Me:
you didn’t read my page, did you?
Him: Nope
Me: If you had read my page, you would know the answer to that
Him: That u can’t cam with me
Me: sort of… (god, jackass, go read the freaking page!)
Him:
well i don’t understand what the page is (wonder if you understand anything?  I bet you’d be proud if your IQ test came back negative.)
Me: 
There’s a statement at the very top of my page that says, “No, I will NOT cam with you.” and then there is a link you can click that will explain everything (so freaking READ it and GO AWAY)
Him:
Yes i saw that (moron)
Me: so, why don’t you read it.
Him: okay

(pause)

Him: I have read it but it’s just saying funny things that i don’t understand (then how do you know it’s funny?)
Me:
What do you not understand?
Him: Everything (alert the media – we have an honest man here, folks – he’s too stupid to try to bluff his way through this one.  Film at eleven.)
Me:
really
Him: Now lets forget about the profile ok and lets talk better here (Right.  As if…)
Me:
I don’t know that we will have very much to talk about
Him: Yes i am ready to talk about anything (you wouldn’t know how)
Me:
Well, you have me at a disadvantage. You see, you have been to my 360 page, and you see what my interests are. You’ve even read how to get my attention, if you clicked the link and read that page. But I know absolutely NOTHING about you or your interests.
Him: well i am looking for a real committed relationship here and not here for head games (and that’s the only interest you have?)
Me:  So…why don’t you tell me some of your interests?
Him: Oh well My interest is  I want a woman that is faithful honest loyal and a passionate lady (um. Yeah.  You said that. Do you really think I asked you to repeat yourself all over again?  By this point I’ve started snickering out loud.)
Me: I see. Well, having a mate in mind is all well and good, but don’t you think that the friendship that comes before the mating should be based on something?
Him: Oh and what is it (No, you really DON’T have a clue, do you?  I’m laughing out loud, now.)
Me:
well, like, on common interests. Activities. Things you do besides stare into each other’s eyes. You know, the stuff conversations are made of.
Him: Yes. U are right. I was expecting you ask (Like I HAVEN’T?)
Me: so…what do you like to do?
Him: I like camping ,swimming dancing and watching movies  (Ah.  Progress.  Maybe he has a brain cell after all.)
Me:
All of those are good things. What kind of movies do you like?
Him: I like passions films and loves films (Passions and loves?  Jeez…)
Me: You like chick flicks? NO WAY.
Him: No
Me: what do you mean by passion films? (like, Passion of the Christ?  Like the Notebook?  what?)
Him: I mean loving films (But not chick flicks.  Any guy in America would think a “loving” film is a chick flick, idiot…  At this point I am laughing really loud, and Jack, my 15 year old son, comes in to see what’s up.  I show him the conversation.  “Mom,” Jack says seriously,  “the guy means porn.”  “Oh my god! Really?”  I gasp, and ask the question…)
Me: You mean porn?
Him: Have you watched dissapearing acts (disappearing porn…OMFG!  “Jack!  he means snuff films!”  We’re both dying laughing.)
Me:
um, no
Him: That’s the kind of film that i am saying very interesting (Jack and I are both laughing hysterically.)
Me:
You mean snuff films? (“Mom!  I can’t believe you asked him that!”  Jack is shocked, but laughing.)
Him: It’s a kind of loving film  he teaches how someone needs to take care of women . it’s emotional  (What an idiot!  How should I respond?  Oh!  I know!)
Me: Oh. well. I like comedies and drama and suspense
Him: Oh nice  i hate suspense (It’s nice you hate what I like and you’re trying to hit on me?  Idiot.)
Me: really? Why?
Him: I hate someone keeping me in suspense (god, you must be dull)
Me:
oh. You like to know what’s going on, huh
(pause)  (Jack is trying to convince me to mess with him really bad – to concoct some lies and see how he responds)
Him:
Yes  what are u doing right now?
Me: talking with my son
Him: Oh i c
Me: He desperately needs a father figure  (I’m about to wet my pants I’m laughing so hard at what Jack wants me to say)
Him:
i will be there for him one day (The hell you say!)
Me:  His father won’t have anything to do with him. He says that the disease the child has makes the boy unfit to be considerd his son (This is ALL Jack’s idea – I swear.  I’m laughing so hard I’m having trouble typing.)
Him: Oh that’s bad
Me: Yes. His father is very rich and powerful, but is not a nice person at all.  (ok, that part is my idea – and untrue)
Him:
Oh that’s bad . I care for my kids so much and i tried to see them once in every month (Once a month!  You’re too good to them!  Most noncustodial parents get alternating weekends, asshole.  Why aren’t you doing that?!)
Me:
That’s wonderful! Well, My ex-husband beat me regularly(no he did NOT), even when I didn’t deserve it (deserve it?!?) , so for my sake I am glad I don’t have to see him, but little Johnny misses him terribly. He is three, and doesn’t understand (Jack’s story line, again.  We’re holding onto each other laughing as he comes up with more outrageous things to tell this loser that I nix because it’s just too … OUT there)
Him: Well u will need to be consoling him.  I am a caring person and god fearing (really?  I’m a pagan-athiest-rastafarian)
Me: Well, I have to go.  (Jack:  “Awwww, Mom, we could have more fun…!”)
Him: Why are u going anne (Because you’re an idiot and I’m laughing too hard to type any more)
Me:
bye
Him: will you come back ? (fat chance)

Typical IM Conversation

Him: hi, do you like younger men?
Me: how much younger?
Me: Like, young enough to be my offspring? no
Him: 28
Me: dangerously close to offspring territory at 28, sorry
Him: close, but not in
Me: If I had been unlucky in high school, we’d be in offspring territory
Him: but were not, so what part of sd are you in?
Me: sd?  I’m in arkansas
Him: really???
Him: what part?
Me: Little Rock
Me: why?  where are you?
Him: san diego
Him: what do you do for fun in LR
Me: The obvious – we reminisce about presidential politics, independent counsels, and being involved in Bill Clinton’s love life.
Him: ha!  bill clinton my hero
Me: really?  most people claim to hate him
Me: they lie, though
Him: yea i think he an interesting guy
Me: So long as he was in office we never had to worry about nuclear annihilation.  He was having way too much fun ever to push the button.
Him: yea, goodtimes
Me: woo-hoo
Him: you ever come to SD?
Me: Never been there.  Hear there’s a great zoo, complete with Pandas, tho
Him: Always with the Zoo!  why is it so popular?
Me: dunno.  Never been there.  I’ve just heard that it’s a good one
Me: Is it?
Him: its ok
Him: I think Ive been there too many times
Me: that’s all?  Just “ok”?
Me: jaded, huh
Him: Yea I have a “Fun Pass” so I can go all year for free
Me: well, if you ever come to Little Rock, go to the zoo.  You’ll acquire a new appreciation for San Diego’s, I’m sure
Him: that bad huh?
Me: No pandas
Him: do they just have a bunch of dogs or something?
Me: prairie dogs
Him: exciting
Me: well, we think so
Him: you’re single?
Me: yes
Him: man, you’re so far away that sucks
Me: yeah.  And I’m so old.  That sucks, too
Him: youre really cute though, and I LOVE women that are older than I
Him: 43 right? thats not old
Me: yeah, well, call me “Ma’am.”  Mind your manners, you young whippersnapper.
Me: 44.  I had a birthday last month.
Him: mmmmm yummy
Me: lol
Him: as long as you dont wear granny panties, I’m good
Me: oh, baby.  I should fire up the web cam and let you see my very large cotton granny panties.
Him: lol
Him: wait, thats not funny
Me: then why were you laughing?
Me: admit it – you laughed
Him: a little
Him: I would have prefered if you said thong, or crotchless or something like that
Me: ok.  My EDIBLE CROTCHLESS non-THONG very large cotton granny panties
Me: Did that do anything for you?
Him: A slight giggle
Me: uh-huh
Him: still makes me hungry though
Me: the edible part, right?
Him: yup
Him: I can eat them into thongs
Me: It’s dinner time on the left coast
Me: you’d nibble around the edges, huh
Him: at first
Me: Don’t go there.  You’re much too young and you’ll offend my Victorian sensibilities
Him: Do I have to work around a chastity belt or something?
Me: yep.  Not to mention a corset
Me: oh – wait – no
Me: a corset might turn you on
Him: yes it would
Me: so… a hoop skirt and bloomers
Him: you’re being very anti-erection right now
Me: yeah, well, given your age I’m disinclined to inspire an erection
Me: It feels too much like kiddie porn
Him: I saw your pic, and I doubt that
Me: please don’t be offended, it’s just that I’m quite elderly
Me: matronly, even
Me: and no, normally I’m not anti-erection at all
Me: I’m very pro-erection
Me: It’s politically expedient in today’s climate to be pro-erection
Me: It’s an erection year, after all
Me: I mean, election year
Me: or something
Me: Hello?
Me: Hmmm.  guess I chased him off…

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