On internet forums, a troll is someone who starts a provocative thread – often off-topic – to induce people into responding, a bit like throwing chum to attract fish. Trolls are usually pathetic, lonely fucktards who crave attention. They take delight in starting something to trigger a reaction from others. Usually these are losers who in real life are unable to get any attention from anyone. But on the net, behind the cloak of anonymity, these balless cretins are emboldened by a false sense of security. They think – erroneously – that they can never be found out. (Nothing could be further from the truth – every visit to any site made by anyone is traceable.)
In face-to-face conversations, there are trolls too. Though the term is rather new, trolls have always been around – wretched souls who would utter something provocative or controversial to bait people into a debate or to create opportunities for themselves to make a point or two about their pet peeves.
A recent example:
One morning on my way to the airport, I was chatting with limo driver R when the topic of H1N1 came up and I commented that for Singapore, the worst seems to be over for now but R disagreed.
“Don’t think so, they are still doing temperature screening and handling out masks at hospitals,” he said, adding “I know, because I was at GH (General Hospital) yesterday.”
“Oh, they’re still doing temperature screening?” I responded, “they’ve already stopped that at airports weeks ago.”
“No, no, at the hospitals, they’re still doing it,” R said, once again adding “I was at GH yesterday.”
“Hmmm,” I temporized.
“Yes, the hospitals are still doing it,” R emphasized and again he said – for the third time – “I was at GH yesterday” as if he had to underscore that fact.
Silly old me, I took the bait.
“What were you in GH for? Are you ok?” I wanted to know, my curiosity kicked in.
R knew I have taken the bait and he was going to play with me for a bit.
“Nothing lah, just for medical checkup,” he said nonchalantly.
“Yeah, but why did you go for medical checkup?” I wanted to know. I mean having come this far I wasn’t going to let it drop.
“Oh, the polyclinic doctor told me to go to GH for medical checkup,” said R, obviously enjoying seeing me in a state of intrigue. R was a master in his game – he teased me with a bit of info then stopped abruptly, wanting me to beg for the rest of it. A verbal form of Coitus Interruptus?
“Yeah lah, the polyclinic doctor told me to go to GH for medical checkup,” he reiterated.
Of course that was not what I wanted to know when I asked him why he went for a medical checkup, so, exasperated, I tried again and I asked “What was troubling you so much that you went to the polyclinic in the first place?”
I’m sure this was the moment R was waiting for.
A moment to play Chuck Palahniuk and Charlotte Roche, this was the moment R has set me up for, the moment to utterly and absolutely gross me out.
“Oh, nothing lah,” he said, toying with me as a fisherman would with a fish at the end of his line, a fish who had open its big mouth to take the bait and now inextricably hooked with a fishing hook it could not escape from.
“TELL ME LAH YOU FUCKING BASTARD, COUGH IT OUT!!!,” I almost screamed.
R let it out slowly, the pleasure on his face barely discernable, “Oh,” he said, “for months now, I have found my shit to be rather soft and sticky – like melted chocolate you know, like the chocolate at the chocolate fondue you get at hotel buffets you know – so I thought I should seek some medical advice to find out if there’s anything wrong with me.”
He went on and on and on about the texture and consistency of his excrement, the smell of his feces – he even threw in the color and odor of his urine for good measure (like “the smell you get after eating petai” you know) – but I was no longer listening.
I was trying to hold down my breakfast.
R got me.
Yup, he got me good and proper.
As the old saying goes, even a big fish can stay out of trouble if it knows how to keep its big mouth shut.
There’s another old saying “Curiosity killed the cat.”
A less frequent rejoinder is “satisfaction brought it back.”
But I experienced no satisfaction whatsoever that morning.