Once, when I was in high school, a boy smeared crap all over the walls of the men’s locker room. I learned of the incident when I entered the gymnasium in the afternoon, headed for basketball practice. Every janitor who manned some area of the campus and his rolling supply cart had been corralled and placed at the doorway to the locker room for a referendum with the coach over whether to quarantine or clean. “Someone crapped in the locker room,” whispered Steve, a guard on the Varsity team. “Smeared it all over the walls.” I looked at him, unsure of how to respond, and asked with a hopeful tone, “Do you think they’ll cancel practice over this?”
The coaches didn’t cancel practice so I spent the next two hours running through drills and offensive plays wondering why a person would do that, and moreover, whether they wore gloves when they did. I couldn’t understand the psyche of the individual who looks at an empty wall and decides the appropriate statement color is Feces. There are a plethora of human behaviors I find baffling, like watching American Idol, or owning gerbils, or making the bed every day, but when these things are reduced to their intrinsic value to a person, they’re benign, innocent peccadillos. Harmless consequences of the many hours that comprise a human life.
But smearing crap over walls is not that. It’s perverse in its motivation and destructive in its execution. And that is exactly what happened to this blog over the last couple of weeks; A spammer infiltrated my site and smeared crap all over the walls. Walls that were not theirs. Walls they had no part in building and no conflict of conscience in toppling. Just as my mind had been preoccupied with the question of “why?” in high school, it was once again in a state of rumbling idol, trying to understand the mindset of the misanthrope who toils over writing malicious code which they attach a sail to and then drop into the fast-moving river of the Internet. To me, it seems as pointless as saying, “Right after I eat breakfast, I’m going to slam my left boob in the door of the dishwasher.”
To try to comprehend the genesis of movements like, “I’m going to put my own crap in my hand and smear it on the walls,” is a mind-numbing exercise for an outsider. There is never good reason to do that. It’s not like peeing on someone’s sting from a jellyfish. The act itself may seem akin to that, maybe even more virtuous since you’re sending your waste products onto your own body instead of someone else’s, but it’s not for good cause in the end. When the outcome of your actions is that a bunch of men who suffer the slurs and barbs of teenagers for eleven bucks an hour have to disinfect the walls of your crap, there is no justification that the rest of us, who crap only into a toilet and on limited occasions in our own pants, can accept.
In truth, the perpetrators of these kind of actions likely can’t explain it either. They don’t care about the ruinous effects they bring about because they don’t empathize with hard work and toil. The only thing people like that put any effort into is masturbating atop their parent’s basement futon. They don’t pause over the fact that our blogs are the repository for our ideas which, without the patch of Internet we’ve laid claim to, lose their fizz the way a glass of soda does if left to linger on the counter. They don’t consider the catalysts, often deeply personal, that drive us to untether the words that lie grounded in our heads.
I started this blog after my family lost a remarkable friend. She was a humor writer when most women in Hollywood were only allowed to star in shows or carry coffee to those who did. Cancer took firm grasp of her body, and she fought back valiantly and verbally by creating one last portal for her funny musings which poured forth despite the crippling fatigue and encroaching bleakness. It was she who made me realize that even if I never landed a job writing scripts, I could still make the public laugh at things I write. Through the absurd and jaw-dropping title of her blog, I Slept With Robert DeNiro, – (because she did when they were classmates in film school) – the bar was raised so that I, too, had to choose a name that would make a reader’s eyes widen and their mouths twist just a little bit.
Because her blog still stands proud and beckons me back to read posts I’ve read before, since even death couldn’t silence her, I decided to dig in my heels and open my wallet to make sure this blog could be revived. That’s the thing about these blogs; They mean something big to somebody, even if you haven’t a clue who that person might be. Even if you’ve never slept with Robert DeNiro, or never dreamed the content of your blog may translate into material for something grander, or even if you’ve never shared a link to your blog with anyone outside of your family, keep watch over it. Because it’s yours. And because someone waits to read it.
And if anyone smears crap on your walls, rally the janitors. Roll up your sleeves and get ready to scrub. Practice is still on.
Come to my show at The State Theatre on Friday, August 17th! There’s no crap on the walls there!