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Jeff Whitten: Numb and numberer
editor's notes

If I had an alter ego, he’d be tired of human beings. Well, some of them anyway.

Like the kind of humans who email weekly newspaper editors trying to get free advertising, for example.

Or those who get their uptight, self-righteous knickers in a twist over stuff that happens to somebody they don’t even know.

Sure, if I had an alter ego he would understand there are injustices in the world. He would realize bad things happen to good people, and good things happen to bad people.

He would know the system ain’t perfect. Never was, probably never will be. And if I had an alter ego he would do what he could to help.

But if I had an alter ego he would say that for a society with so many blessings, many of us who live in it see the glass half empty wherever and whenever possible.

For those folks, it’s always, always, always, somebody else’s fault.

That’s probably going to be what they’ll put on mankind’s tombstone, whenever the last of our kind shuffles off this mortal coil – but only after sending a whole lot of other species that way first: “Hey, We didn’t do it. It was somebody else’s fault.

If my alter ego were thus prone to blaming folks, he’d have a list of folks he’d want to blame, including those who put profit before quality of life and don’t know when to say when.

He’d blame people who use social media to hurt others, and those who think advantage and accidents of birth makes them superior to those less fortunate.

But at some point, hopefully, he’d blame himself for letting it get to him,.

And he’d figure out part of the problem isn’t all that out there in the world, it’s what’s inside.

Which brings me to this: all of a sudden people want to rip Facebook, and believe me, Facebook isn’t my alter ego’s favorite thing in the world and probably ranks somewhere way behind getting a colonoscopy, no pun intended.

But Facebook, which is accused of sowing discord and unrest and all sorts of other bad things, isn’t the problem.

It’s the people on Facebook who can’t use it without losing their manners and their minds, they’re the problem.

Without these warped, sneering, reptilian, lonely, psychopathic, self-important and bug-eyed busybodies, Facebook is just a site where people go to share recipes and jokes and pictures of the grandkids.

Which plenty of folks seem to be able to do just fine, my alter ego would say, if I had one. After all, there are millions of people with Facebook pages who don’t use them to sow hate or take over Congress.

In that regard, my alter ego if I had an alter ego would believe Facebook is just like roads or trampolines.

Trampolines are harmless until somebody puts one in the back yard next door to you and turns 20 screaming 7-year-olds loose on them all weekend.

Roads don’t kill people unless they suddenly explode or turn into vast giant sinkholes and swallow cars.

What kills or maims people on roads is other people who can’t drive, or people messing around with their phones when they ought to be paying attention, thereby abusing two things at once – roads and the internet.

Anyhow, so it goes.

If I had an alter ego, I suspect he wouldn’t be hopeful, though he’d refuse to give up hope entirely – being from South Carolina, he, like me, wouldn’t be able to help hoping someday we’ll figure it all out and at least beat Georgia and Clemson on a consistent basis.

In the meantime, I think if I had an alter ego he would hope someday people will remember their right to swing their fist ends at everybody else’s nose. Which is maybe just another way of saying live, but by all means let others live too. It’s not your world, my alter ego would say. It’s not mine. It’s all of ours. To share.

And if I had an alter ego, he’d tell me I’m nuts and I need to lighten up and quit whining and go outside at night and look up at the stars, before they’re totally drowned out by lights from the suburban sprawl that keeps on sprawling.

Jeff Whitten is editor of the BCN.

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