Wednesday, August 4, 2010

The Art Of Destroying a Craigslist Heckler

Faith in humanity? Gone. Basis? Craigslist. Before I divulge the details of my first Craigslist outing, let me first say that I approached it with utter, unmitigated contempt. Since childhood, I have despised garage sales with a revulsion I normally reserve for canned meat. Maybe it's some anti-frugality character flaw of mine, but by default I want to buy someone else's old, used stuff like I want to bathe in someone else's old bathwater. By contrast, my mother has a secret love affair with estate sales, which are somewhere between the 7th and 8th circles of garage sale hell. Her kitchen is regularly supplemented by the former belongings of the dearly departed. When I recently heard that she had acquired a 70s-era pineapple corer, I accused her of being a culinary tomb raider. In my case, the apple fell far from the tree. No appeal. Whatsoever.

My disdain notwithstanding, I'm not above seeking new means to get rid of all my old crap. And as much as I hated entertaining the idea, Craigslist seemed like the perfect way to expedite the much procrastinated task of cleaning out the garage. Slated for eviction were my ridiculously heavy entertainment center, a queen-sized bed frame, and a 24" tube TV. The ease of posting these three prompted me to consider getting rid of some of my lesser watched DVD sets, i.e. The Office and Heroes, Season 1. Within the next 24 hours, I distilled two previously unknown maxims about Craigslist:

1. If you are trying to get rid of things that are remotely likeable, it's best to post one item every 24 hours. Why? You never know what people will go apeshit for. The bed frame I posted was getting hits 5 minutes after it appeared on the site. And the emails would. not. stop. (Thank god I didn't put my phone number in the ad.) Until a business transaction actually takes place, the merchandise leaves your premises, and you delete the post, the potential exists for people to bug the fuck out of you.

2. By contrast, less popular items will garner complete radio silence. Or worse, they'll tell you how much they don't like it or try to bargain with you after insulting your asking price. I should have been more skeptical when Heroes, Season 1 got a hit; my ad was simple and unassuming enough: "Watched once, only selling to upgrade to Blu-Ray. Amazon retails at $40.99." But you could have heard my jaw hit the floor when this arrived in my inbox.

From Fortune Favors the Bald

To be honest, getting heckled took me aback. Could a complete stranger be any ruder? But despite the surprise, I was more than prepared to take this schmuck down a few notches. And it is here, before we go any further, that I must confess that I am secretly in love with writing the occassional nastogram. What is a nastogram, you say? A missive penned with the most scathing verbal vitriol that you can imagine. What warrants the receipt of a nastogram? Only the most flagrant of offenses by family, friend, or foe. There have only been a handful of recipients; I don't want to paint the picture of me writing letters to the editor each week or spewing venomous nonsense toward any moving target like several radio pundits tend to do.

A bigger person would have taken the high road and ignored the taunt. But I wasn't about to be cyber-bullied (and clearly this kid was just trying to elicit a response); I'd like to think that I barked back for all of you who have previously been victim to a random act of stank. So here is the entire email string, in all its unedited, colloquial glory. It's not pretty, and I make no apologies (except, sorry Mom).

Thehardcorethug: bullshit you can get it for 15 new on amazon you ass clown

Marklebald: Maybe if you buy used from amazon. Or from some Indonesian merchant. Or from an Iraqi DVD black market. But from one of Amazon's domestic warehouses? $40-fuckin-dollars and 99 cents. Sorry to deflate your presumptuous and ill-researched call-out session, but you should probably save your emails for craigslist posts you're actually interested in buying. Do the world a favor, "hard core thug" (who somehow still has an AOL address), and "keep it real" so the rest of us don't have to endure your douchebaggery. This has clearly been a productive Sunday evening for you.

Thehardcorethug: hey dont be using big words they hurt my ummm my whatever is in the head brain that's it they hurt my brain oh yea i fucked your mom bye

Marklebald: Considering the anonymity [nobody knows you] of Craigslist, odds are you wouldn't know if my mother was dead or alive. But for someone as urbane [classy like horseshit] as you, that's probably not a deal-breaker either way.

I'm sorry our public education system [school] failed you. Actually, I feel more sorry for the teachers you more than likely tortured [hurt] with your asinine [shit for brains] contributions to human existence. It's never too late to pick up a dictionary [book] and actually make something of yourself. But that would mean you'd have to be productive [get stuff done], which would require you to remove the thumb from your ass.

Thehardcorethug: hey your smart wanna be friends

Marklebald: So you're either 13 years old or an inmate with computer access. Or both. In which case, I don't do the tutoring thing. And this whole dialogue (if you can call it that) has seriously made me question any opinions I had on the social reintegration of prisoners. Best of luck developing a new skill set while you're behind bars. I hear telemarketers are in high demand in this economy. But you clearly have the personality befitting those pain-in-the-ass calls around dinnertime.

Thehardcorethug: give me a bj

Marklebald: I called it. Prisoner.

FFTB Gets a Facelift

Thanks to a super sibling with mad multimedia skills, Fortune Favors the Bald has gotten a much needed overhaul. Aside from my need for external motivation to blog more, I don't know why it felt necessary, but it was. In fact, more dire than Chad Kroeger's need for a throat lozenge. I hope you, like me, appreciate the weird-ass Tyra Banks featured in the new banner. Who knew that baldness could evoke a sense of egomaniacal high art? Tyra did. That's who.

You'll notice, also, the not-too-subtle change in FFTB's URL. It's not that I have an issue with anonymity. Let's be honest... I don't check the hit counter on this blog for a reason. I also haven't pissed off a coworker or a local barista. Clearly, there is no shortage of cautionary tales about unemployed bloggers who, at one time, felt the need to vent about a boss. Also, if my boss is reading... I love my job and the opportunity to work under your attentive tutelage. Nor am I venturing into WikiLeaks territory. For one, it sounds like a VD. (I pray, too, that the mere mention of WikiLeaks in this blog doesn't bring the DOD to my doorstep.)

Maybe it's the hermit in me rising to the surface. I am both amused and repulsed by people who lose themselves in the net (Sandra Bullock, anyone?). For every self-absorbed autobiographical blogger, I'll show you a World of Warcraft devotee. You're a level 14 Mage, leader of your guild; you raided all the dungeons of the Eastern and Western kingdoms, and you're still a virgin?? For too many people, the actual living of life takes a backseat to their mission to develop an online persona. Everybody wants to be the next Dooce or Danny Evans, which in my humble opinion are blogging at its best. But not everyone needs to know what I had for dinner, what I thought about Inception, or how bad it sucked to have to go to the laundromat the other day.

In trying to avoid the boilerplate meanderings of much of America, I still recognize the continual need to divulge. To share. To congress with other players in life (not Life™, which is actually as boring as boardgames go). To disclose the minutia of our day-to-day, while avoiding the pitfalls of the oversharer. I swear, you will never hear about any routine, colorectal procedures of mine in the future. But my story to tell is that fortune does favor the bald. Good fortune. Misfortune. Not to mention Ms. Gina Fortune, a best friend of 5+ years now. Brandi Carlile sang it best:

All of these lines across my face / Tell you the story of who I am / So many stories of where I've been / And how I got to where I am / But these stories don't mean anything / When you've got no one to tell them to