Did you ever hear the saying, “There are two types of people. Those who love to talk and those who hate to listen”?

This paradoxical condition has migrated to social media like Facebook. Locally, we can observe or participate in throwing stuff at each other online. On a regular basis, people are making personal attacks in the name of discussing public issues and are directing “the other” to get a life.

My first reaction is, “Great. While you’re at it, why don’t you kill two birds with one stone and get one too.” Restraining conversational sarcasm is healthier and necessary, not only to gain understanding but also because out-of-context insults can be harmful. Forgive me for momentarily breaking my own rule.

I particularly resent anonymous bloggers, not so much for their rants, but more for the fact that I am suspicious of possible character flaws like self-importance, insecurity, latent need to have a superhero name, and at times, male chauvinist remarks protected by the virtual veil of Mr. Internet. If you can’t say it to my face, don’t take pot shots at me online or around my back wearing an e-mask!

My larger concern is what a waste of time and energy, considering that the local, state and national to-do list of solving public problems is growing. When you say “get a life” in a cavalier manner, do you consider that the person or neighbor you are referring to may have lost a job, lost a family member or friend, or might be a cancer survivor, or suffering from life’s tough challenges? It is simply the wrong directive to give.

Therefore, what I do when I observe these “one-way” messages is to ignore them or seek a point of reference that negates them. As a neighbor, I avoid this reckless online rhetorical warfare because it deconstructs listening. Who wants to be victim to this kind of negative, un-neighborly media noise?

The “Shoveler” …oops! Bob Cox
Forest Park