I’m not incredibly savvy when it comes to the interwebs. In fact, I’m not even three months back on the wagon after a one-year wifi ban in my home. That’s right—for a whole year I somehow managed to exist in my hermit world without internet access or a TV. I read a lot of books, never knew what was happening in the world, and relied on other people to text me if the weather was about to get severe.
This wasn’t a financial decision or a matter of practicality—it was truly an act of morality. I had recently wandered into a pretty dark spot of the internet… a place where you see and experience things that can never truly be excavated from the dark cave of your soul.
I discovered this show on Netflix and proceeded to watch half of the first season in a small number of days. I was absolutely absorbed and enthralled by the train wreck of these people’s lives and the horrible little creatures they were helping to create.
Imagine my glee when I realized there were gillions of episodes waiting for me! And that’s when I saw myself one tick-tock away from my darkest hour—I couldn’t go on living this way. It wasn’t right… This was not who I was… at least… it wasn’t the person I wanted to be.
So I canceled my internet.
By October of this year, enough time had passed that I felt safe and confident in my ability to avoid the temptation of Honey Boo Boo and all her minons. Still, so much seemed to have changed within the culture of the interwebs and social media… particularly the discussion around the presence of “trolls.”
Now, my idea of a “troll” is a child who’s name includes “boo boo” but I was pretty sure they meant something like this:
Imagine my surprise when I googled “internet troll” and found out that trolls were not, in fact, a creature from Middle Earth but an individual who’s sole mission in life is to cause frustration, distract people from the topic at hand, and provoke an incendiary response.
“Oh my Gosh,” I couldn’t help thinking, “I’m like a real life troll. I’m a pre-internet troll.”
You probably think I’m mistaken and will try to reassure me:
“Nah, Aussa, you’re a good person, you have a heart of gold!”
But when faced with the cold hard definition, the truth is the truth:
- I’ve executed many a mission for the purpose of frustrating people.
- I delight in distracting people from the topics at hand
- Incendiary responses = my favorite.
This goes back for years– Sure, everyone in college enjoys pulling pranks that frustrate,distract, and incite fiery responses, but I’ve always had a knack for pushing it to the next level.
For one year, my living situation was based off of a 90s sitcom– my group of friends were divided between several all-guy and all-girl houses. We’d take turns pulling various mild pranks—they’d leave a toilet in our front yard so we’d put a shopping cart full of trash in theirs (little known fact: a full size shopping cart will, in fact, fit into the back of a land rover).
Like all criminals, we began to escalate. It wasn’t enough to LEAVE something behind, I realized, we had to TAKE something—so I snuck in through an unprotected window and stole their bright maroon couch cover out of their living room.
Being that these were man-folks, it was actually possible that they wouldn’t realize it was missing… So we decided to send them ransom notes, just in case. This necessitated proof-of-life, so we took the couch cover to the Student Union on campus and photographed it in a new habitat:
And showed that we were letting it outside for fresh air:
Lest they think it was better off without them, we made sure they knew it was in danger:
But that it was also making friends:
We’d leave these photos on their front door while they slept or tucked in the windshield of their cars while they were at work. It reached a point where they no longer thought it was funny—they’d lived with the stain colored floral upholstery long enough, they were ready for us to give it back.
Of course, we had no idea what they were talking about.
We created a diversion by sending a photo of the true kidnapper.
In the end, I managed to sneak the thing back into their house and reapply it to their couch. Along the way I sustained bodily injury because they’d moved furniture below the window to keep us out– pshaw.
Amazingly, we did all the photographing and couch-cover-abusing in broad daylight– no one ever thought to question us. Of course, I had prior experience with using living room furniture inappropriately on campus.
A couple years before that, at the start of my “break into people’s houses” phase, my friend L (she’s Dr. L now) and I decided to sneak into my brother’s house while he was on vacation, borrow the keys to his huge truck—which happened to have a manual shift, no big deal—and find some way to help beautify campus in honor of it being “Mom’s Day.”
This was basically a parade of the wealthiest mothers on campus whose sole purpose in life was to flit about in their Mercedes and spend obscene amounts of money on their witless little Ugg-wearing daughters. It was like “Toddlers & Tiaras: The College Years.”
Naturally, we wanted to frustrate them with reminders of the lower classes, distract them from the blonde highlights and booty shorts of their daughters, and provoke an incendiary response by ruining the picture perfect campus lawn.
We cruised through several apartment complexes on the bas side of town, hitting the jackpot with a pile of old couches stacked beside a dumpster.
L probably weighed about 95 pounds and I was hardly a beacon of athletic ability, but our dedication to the cause empowered us to heave these things into the back of the truck, drive it (killing the engine every half mile or so) to the most publicly recognized statue on campus, and fling them out onto the busy street side.
I don’t think my brother ever found out about us using his car for this little mission… which is good, since it was the same brother who lent me a truck when I almost got eaten by hillbillies.
We expected there to be some sort of Anti-Poor-People-Brigade who’d ride in to clear the furniture out, but it managed to stay there for over 24 hours, just long enough to greet the University’s finest pieces of plastic.
Have you ever taken a sabbatical from the internet or social media? Have you ever been “trolled?” What’s the weirdest prank you’ve successfully pulled?
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