Have you I ever told you about my oldest brother? I’m going to refer to him as ‘the Kraken’. ‘The Kraken’ is perplexing to me. In person, during the few times we’ve actually gotten together, he ‘seems’ so incredibly normal and funny and supportive. He makes me laugh and listens and offers advice and makes me feel really special. But something happens when he disappears behind the shield of a computer or phone or tablet, it’s almost like Jekyll and Hyde. Something mysterious happens when he is physically out of your reach, some strange metamorphosis. This funny, unassuming person can become rather frightening. One false move and BAM! First, his eyes narrow and then a great beak that can snap a steel beam in half protrudes from his face. Long orange horns that are covered in suckers surrounded by razor sharp teeth emerge from the base of his body. And slowly the horns grow until they have taken on the form of lashing tentacles capable of crushing a man in mere seconds. And while all of this is occurring, his body quadruples in size and becomes encased in a bile green, poisonous slime. But that’s not even the worst of it. We haven’t even talked about what happens to his breath! It will suddenly and inexplicably release a putrid ink that smells of bones and rotting flesh. And, no, that’s not because he’s got halitosis. It’s because he just chewed someone up and spit them out!
Guess who he chewed up and spit out today? Me. It isn’t the first time, unfortunately. We’ve had a few incidents over the years when he’s responded to me with near blind rage for things most people wouldn’t bat an eye at. What happened today? Well, let me give you some history first. Back in February or March of this year, one of my other brothers (Dapper Dan) started a group text and included me in it. At first, I didn’t mind so much because it was positive and encouraging. But after a while, as the months wore on, it became a ‘place’ for people to air out their hate and narrow opinions. I stayed quiet up to a point but after ‘the Kraken’ started up with his merciless political rants and homophobic remarks and began shoving them down my throat, I finally felt it was time to speak up. I asked very nicely if I could be ‘removed’ from the feed or the group text or whatever you want to call it. I told him I’d really rather not be included in the discussion and I also mentioned that I wasn’t a fan of the gay bashing that was taking place (Pete Buttigieg was that particular day’s topic). You would have thought a bomb had gone off.
I didn’t realize it would take so little for the metamorphosis to begin and how quickly he could transform, but suddenly I was struck with a barrage of bullets (texts) that were extremely hateful and nasty. “It’s people like you that tried to silence people like George Carlin”, one started out. Another said ‘PC Police’ in the subject line. They started up and they just kept coming. I made a simple request and suddenly I was under attack. I was totally mystified and hurt. I didn’t recognize this ‘person’ anymore. “Huh, what did I miss?” I thought to myself. For a few hours, I mused over how to handle the situation and I realized quite quickly that he wasn’t about to honor my request to be ‘removed’ from the group text. He told me if I didn’t like what I saw, to ‘change the channel’. Huh? Wait a minute. How can I change the channel if he’s sending the crap directly to my phone via text? Well, when you’re talking about what limited options you have when you own a cell phone and you’re dealing with a crazy person, there really is only one thing you can do, block them. Which I promptly did.
A few months passed and curiosity ultimately got the better of me. I had wondered if he was still trying to get through. Or maybe he had changed? Maybe he had thought it over and felt he’d stepped over the line and wanted to apologize for being such a you-know-what and finally act like a decent human being for once? Haha! Gotcha!! Not a chance! What on earth was I thinking? Once I took a look, I realized that he had continued to send bizarre texts, but of course, I hadn’t seen them initially because they had gone directly to my spam manager. Lovely. Fast forward to yesterday. Well, you could probably guess, with the situation as it stands, the election results still up in the air, that the group feed would get ‘reactivated’ and boy, did it ever! I had blocked ‘the Kraken’ but now my other siblings on the feed were going back and forth, back and forth across the minefield that I try to avoid at all costs, the topic of U.S. politics. My phone nearly caught fire from all of the ‘tings’ and ‘dings’ that were going off in rapid succession. If it had been anywhere near natural gas, it probably would have exploded.
I stayed out of the discussion but got fed up with having to go in and delete, delete, delete. Wouldn’t it just be easier to ask to be removed from the feed/group text? I thought it was a reasonable request and I said it just like this, “Hey guys. Do you mind retiring the current feed and then starting a new one without me in it? I’d really appreciate it! (smiley face emoji)” Everyone seemed to understand and they honored my request. Or so I thought. Until that stinking curiosity got the better of me. Do you remember what it did to the cat? In case you forgot, it killed it. Yep. I had to go and check my ‘spam manager’ again. I had a sneaking suspicion and what do you know? Surprise!! ‘The Kraken’ was back at it again! Oh, wonderful!! Gotta love the old rapid-fire insults. Ummm, NO, I don’t have to love them and I don’t have to put up with them either. NO! They’re hurtful and hateful and unnecessary and you don’t treat people you love that way. So where do I go from here?
I am leaving ‘the Kraken’ behind. I am not going to continue to remain in a ‘relationship’ where one person continually tries to bully and intimidate the other into submission. I used to put up with it, but as of tonight, that’s it. I’m done. Life is hard. I don’t care if someone is ‘related by blood’, they don’t get the right to treat you like garbage. Plain and simple. And when the bad outweighs the good, it’s time to go. So, yes, I am saying goodbye. I love you brother, but I don’t really like you much, if at all. I’m not sure what happened to you during your lifetime to make you so bitter and hateful and cruel, but I don’t want to be part of it any longer. You can hide behind your sunglasses but you are not fooling anyone. I don’t understand what fuels your rage and why you lash out as you do. But it’s not my concern anymore. I’m going to hang onto the people that emit light instead of darkness, and bring joy instead of pain. There’s already enough darkness and pain in this world, I don’t need you to continually leave it at my doorstep. I wish you well as you return to the deep, but I don’t foresee a joyful life ahead for you. It certainly won’t include me, but I think that’s really what you’ve wanted all along. You’ve never wanted people to get too close, or else they might see the real you. I just hope someday that a ray of sunlight will reach through the dark, murky waters and warm your cold heart and maybe melt away some of the ice that has encased it.
Goodbye, brother. I release you.