Plain Speaking

On Stalkers, Cyberbullies, and (Finally) Turning the Page

Free Stalking Tiger ClipartThere are two sorts of people in the world: There are decent, kind, honest people who treat others the way they would like to be treated and who return good for evil when they encounter it in the world.  And then there are those who are neither decent, nor kind, nor honest, and who take what they want, whenever they want it, regardless of the hurt and chaos they cause in the lives of others in the process.  The second sort of people rely on the good behavior, kindness, and decency of the first sort not to make a fuss, and hope that those they’ve targeted will suffer in silence, suck it up, and never dare to speak up for themselves–RWKJ’s First Law of Human Existence

I am my father’s daughter–RWKJ’s Second Law of Human Existence

My Dear Acquaintance:

I’m going to beg your indulgence for my end-of-year post, as I write about something that’s been vexing me for some time.  Those who know me will recognize the subject and a few of the details; many of you won’t.  And that’s fine; either way, I think the story, and its lessons, work.

Whether or not you choose to read what follows is entirely up to each of you.  If you stop half-way through, that’s OK.  It’s a very long post.  The main reason for that is that, unlike some of the folks I’m writing about, I haven’t been spreading the muck around in installments like a cheap Victorian penny-dreadful since October of 2018. This is my first and final public recounting of my experience,  I’m only going to say it once, and once for all, with the hope that I never have to mention it much, if ever, again.

And if just one person, young or old, reading this finds a bit of wisdom in anything I write here, then ripping the bandage off the scab and watching it heal completely at last will have been totally worth it.

When I use the term “stalking” as I do in the title of this post, I’m referring to the actions of those who establish a pattern of using Internet technology to falsely accuse, defame, slander, and libel another person or group publicly, with intent to intimidate, shame, humiliate, embarrass, or ruin them in front of their friends and the world. When minors are involved, it’s usually called “cyberbullying,” and the results can be tragic, as children and adolescents are overwhelmed by the ridicule and mockery heaped on them by the mob (many of whom formerly posed as their friends), and they often believe that their life is over before it’s even begun. In the saddest of cases, they are so miserable they come to believe that their life is no longer worth living, and sometimes, in a final act of desperation, and to stop the pain, they end it.

However, with experience and a bit of tempering as one ages, it’s possible to develop some perspective on the matter. It might not shock or hurt any less (it doesn’t, trust me, and I make no apologies for the fact that it has taken me more than a little time to even assimilate, let alone accept the fact that a trusted, dear friend could have used, manipulated, and betrayed me in such a fashion), but one can, at least, come to terms with it and eventually recognize the stalkers for the dirtbags, cowards, and bullies that they are, and one can–indeed, one must–call them out as such at some point.

I’m ready to call them out.  Not so ready that I’ll link to their nasty little cyber-sewer.  (They don’t deserve the personal recognition, or the clicks. And that’s the reason I don’t name them here–think of them as “types” rather than individuals. The only person I “out” in this story is myself.  I am Ricochet “She.”)  But ready enough that I’m able to tell my story “without fear or favor” at last.

So, here it is.

(Note well, WRT what follows: This is a very personal story, one that belongs to me.  When I’m presenting an opinion of my own, I’ve tried to make that clear.  When I present something as fact, I do so because it is a fact. All quotations from The Colonel and his camp followers have appeared on public pages (by which I mean, visible to all–no paywall, logon, subscription or other membership requirement)–on the Internet.  (My enlightened advice, if they’d rather not be quoted this way, is what it’s been all along–that they simply stop spewing out the prurient, nonsensical, and defamatory bilge they’ve been “stimulating” each other with for the last seventeen months.) No private posts or correspondence are quoted directly.  Some of the posts quoted may have been deleted since.  Some of them have not.  I have screenshots of them all. A very few of you will think, because I mention Ricochet several times, that you have special insight into the events described.  While it’s true you may be able to identify a couple of the “players” by what you know of their online personae,  you don’t know much more than anyone else, and I ask you to take this story at face value or for whatever it’s worth to you, and  please, not to speculate.)

I once had a dear, sweet friend.  A best friend.  An intimate (not that kind of intimate) friend.  A very close friend.  A friend I met online, and with whom I’d spent thousands of hours both on the phone (always on phone calls he made to me, and not vice-versa) and in person, over the course of a couple of years.  I met him IRL.  He lived in my home (he pretty much invited himself), with my late husband and me, for a couple of months in the early months of 2018 when he came for an extended visit to the States.  We had such a nice time together, the three of us.  My husband greatly admired this man as the career military officer he sometimes wished he had been himself.  (Mr. Right always referred to him as “The Colonel,” and that’s what I’ll call him in this post).  Coming out of that experience, a few months later, I visited The Colonel in Thailand (we both knew that my terminally ill husband couldn’t travel.  But The Colonel enthusiastically endorsed the idea of a visit to his two-bedroom home.)  And, based on his promises, I thought we’d hike, and sightsee, and birdwatch, visit the tea and coffee plantations and the Golden Triangle, and have a wonderful time–in many respects the reflection and extension of the time he’d spent with Mr. Right and me in January and February of 2018–only an exotic locale, and better weather.  I was so excited.  And I was sure we’d have a lovely visit.

I’m hearing many of you, even this early in the post, saying, “You did what??  RWKJ, how could you be so daft?  Or so naïve? Good Lord.  What could possibly go wrong here?”  And you’re right.  In fact, you’re echoing the sentiments of a family member who, although supporting me in my travel plans, had grave reservations about the whole thing from the get-go.  Still, I was sure that The Colonel and I had a rock-solid and deep friendship, that each of us knew the other so well that we had an excellent understanding, that we’d been completely honest with each other, and that I had been given the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to visit a part of the world I’d never have the nerve to travel to on my own, with a kind and knowledgeable guide I considered a member of my extended family. (To be perfectly clear, The Colonel spoke and acted in ways that showed he viewed our close friendship in exactly the terms I’ve just  described.  Any pretense (and there’s been much made of one) that I bullied my way into The Colonel’s life, imagined a friendship that didn’t exist, and presumed on his gallant and chivalrous nature, is a lie.) So I gleefully set off on what was to be my first vacation away from home in almost ten years.

As it turned out, with the exception of a couple of very bright spots, most of the visit was awful.  I won’t go into details, other than as a few of them appear in this post.  But my friend had clearly had a change of heart about my visit, between April and July of 2018,  and, although I’d asked him several times to let me know if he deemed it problematic, he insisted he wanted me to come, so I went ahead with it.  I suppose The Colonel got what he wanted, in terms of the couple of thousands of dollars-worth of stuff I lugged to Thailand for him. (I had to buy a larger suitcase and throw out half my own things, just to get them all to fit.)  But for my own part, it was the most expensive mistake, in many ways,  I’ve ever made in my life.

If only my ordeal had ended with that realization, all the way back on July 18, 2018.  Conversations with The Colonel, in the months that followed took on an increasingly acrimonious tone until they pretty much ceased somewhere in September.  I spent much of October trying to ascertain when he would be coming to visit us to pick up his car and several boxes of his possessions (which Mr. Right and I had been babysitting for him since he left our home at the end of February).  I was, by this time, under no illusions that this would be a pleasant visit (it was not), but it was a necessary one.

In mid-October 2018, the week before I picked The Colonel up at midnight at the local train station, a friend suggested I take a look at a social networking site where I wasn’t a member but where many of the members there knew my online persona.  When I did, I saw that The Colonel had started to take me apart, at least virtually, claiming that I was stalking him all over the Internet, that I’d offered him “free sex,” that I was offering him “panties on fire juicy” communications, and releasing, in dribs and drabs, enough details to make it pretty clear who he was talking about.  (Nice way to treat the woman who’s looking after your car, and whose home you’re about to visit.  Way to go, Colonel!) He later, on his blog, said that this was supposed to be some sort of “warning” for me.  I don’t know what about. (Maybe about the unwisdom of ever welcoming him into my home.  LOL.)

Over the next few months, I started to feel as if I’d somehow lost the plot, as I watched The Colonel write post after post on Ricochet (where we were both members and I was a moderator) about cowardly and bullying women.  Occasionally, he’d go too far, and he’d be suspended by the site for a few days.  At those times, I’d try to get him to back off, to behave, and so avoid a suspension, but it became pretty clear that such efforts just incited him to more outrageousness as he began to attack “moderator She” in some of his posts and comments.  I told him, very clearly, that if he didn’t stop, I’d write a post behind the site paywall calling him out and saying that the stories he was telling about me weren’t true.  He didn’t stop.  I wrote a civil, kind, members-only post which The Colonel claims he never read, in which the only negative thing I said about him was that the stories he was telling about me weren’t true. Otherwise, the post expressed my family’s affection for my friend and said he’d be welcome in my home any time.

In spite of claiming he never read that post, The Colonel went ballistic and redoubled his defamatory attacks. When it became clear that nothing I could do would save him, I gave up trying to.  And not long after I did, he went completely overboard and was banned from the site for life.

Not long before that happened in mid-March of 2019, he appeared again on another site and began to take out his anger on me and on Ricochet, calling me his “fantastic fan #1” and trafficking in more lies, as a small social media mob formed in support around him.  (It’s weird, but if you can muster the objectivity when you’re the one being taken down, it’s somewhat interesting to see this take place as clueless third-parties who don’t know you from an elephant’s ass weigh in with uninformed obiter dicta on your behavior in a situation they know nothing about.)

Probably the funniest example of ignorant pontificating, static, and noise on this matter came from a woman in her late 40s who apparently thought she’d sussed out my base motivations towards God’s Gift to Women, and who said at the time (I’m paraphrasing, but this is pretty much it) that beautiful women never have to face rejection from men because men don’t reject beautiful women, but that fat, old, unattractive women [like herself and me, I suppose] should expect to be rejected by men because that’s just how men are, and we shouldn’t make a fuss or a big deal of it when it happens to us over and over again.  Because, men.

The first time I read that, I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry, not only because she had so badly misread things (imagine my surprise), but also because of what she was saying about herself.  Poor lady.  Not a resounding endorsement of the character of the men in her life, either.  I wonder if she even realized that.  Prolly not, is my guess.

The situation became less funny over the next week, as I realized that the more difficulties The Colonel ran into on Ricochet, the less ability I had to reason with him directly with a view to keeping him out of trouble. (There always seemed to be at least one other person elbowing herself into the online conversation with us, and The Colonel, who’s an ace triangulator, took full advantage of the fact.)

One of the myths to which The Colonel and his current crop of camp followers cling so desperately is that I am the person responsible for The Colonel’s permaban from Ricochet.  They write about my “dark powers” and imply that I was, as just one of half-a-dozen moderators, somehow running the show, the power behind the throne, and that everyone danced to the tune of the “ModgePodge” (Glory be.  How juvenile. As are many other such silly nicknames and foolish references.) All of that is as false and nonsensical as the rest of their unhinged screeds.

The truth is that, over the course of many months, I exercised the very little “power” (that is, almost no power) of a Ricochet moderator to keep The Colonel on the site.  With greater effect, I used up much of my considerable social capital behind the scenes, arguing his case and minimizing his indiscretions to the people in charge.  I worked with him wherever I could, to mitigate some of the damage he was doing to himself.  And I asked his new little friend, towards the end, to help me talk him off a ledge and to get him to stop behaving so badly.  I told her that if he kept it up, he’d be banned for sure.  And I begged her to help me prevent that.

She refused, and began to attack me herself.

I gave up. I stopped using what little influence I had to keep The Colonel on the site, and I stood back and let matters take their course.  “Matters” proceeded just as I expected: The Colonel  went overboard, and he was permanently banned about 36 hours after I stopped interceding on his behalf.  I had no part in his banning (he did that all by himself), because a unanimity of moderators had already spoken up and, with the unanimous consent of the editors and administrators, it was a done deal without any input from me, who pretty much just voted “present” in the matter.

The last straw in getting The Colonel banned was a vulgar comment he made about me on a main feed (in front of the paywall and visible to the wider Internet) post, to wit: “Someone tell Moderator She that if she cums [sic] to see me in Thailand, I will let her have sex with me.”  It wasn’t a post I had written.  It wasn’t a post I had anything to do with.  It wasn’t about me.  It wasn’t about orgasms.  It wasn’t, even remotely, about sex.  It wasn’t about Thailand.  It wasn’t about the Ricochet moderators.  I hadn’t commented on, and wasn’t anywhere near it.  It was an unprovoked, nasty remark which (as most of them do) came out of the blue because…well, I don’t know why because, other than because The Colonel apparently couldn’t resist an opportunity to insult me in front of our mutual friends and the world.

The fact of the matter is that The Colonel was banned from Ricochet exactly because I stopped using what little influence I had to keep him on the site, and not because I was the person who was trying the hardest to get him banned.  Had he and his “friend” listened, and had they worked with me, he’d probably be there still.  And so might she.  But they knew better.  I have my own thoughts on what they believed would happen subsequent to his banning, and I suspect they were massively disappointed in the events of the next several days after it took place (there were no events), but I won’t say any more about that here.  As it turned out, The Colonel’s banning was greeted largely with yawns, relief, and some scattered applause, and Ricochet moved on.  As a person who felt deep affection for The Colonel, and as a person who’d spent much effort, time, energy and the afore-mentioned social capital trying to keep him on the site, his loss there was difficult for me.  As a Ricochet moderator, I know the decision was in the best interests of the site.

Not long after (April or so of 2019, I believe), The Colonel started his own blog.  I knew exactly nothing about it until December of 2019 (some fiendish stalker I am, LOL), when one of his camp followers wrote a post on another website and gave out the link.

That’s when I discovered that, starting in August of 2019 (and it has continued throughout most of 2020), The Colonel and his camp followers have been libeling and slandering me in really vile and defamatory ways on his blog.  As with most of The Colonel’s fixations, this one centers on sex.  (I’m reminded of an old Punch cartoon, probably from the 1950’s, of two old biddies sitting on a sofa, enjoying their tea and biscuits, and chatting.  One says to the other, “Of course he doesn’t think about sex all the time, but when he thinks, he thinks about sex.”)  In a nutshell (details follow for those of you with strong stomachs), he’s accused me of offering him various sex acts, expecting him to perform sex acts on me, of pursuing him halfway round the world just to demand sex from him, and has expressed, more than once, his fear that I would do something to hurt (or worse, I suppose) my husband, just to accelerate my prospect of having sex with The Colonel.  I suppose, if I had to sum up, in one sentence from his blog, the portrait The Colonel has painted of me before the world over the past couple of years, it would be this one:

Hell hath no fury like a female houseguest who wants to get banged good and hard.

He’s talking about me.  His friend.  The woman who opened her home and her family to him unreservedly.  The woman whose hospitality he accepted for two months, and in whose home he said he felt “at peace” and “totally at home,” and “like a member of the family.”  The woman he phoned hundreds of times, sometimes for hours at a time, between January of 2017 and August of 2018, sometimes when he really, really needed a friend.  The woman he said, more than once, “saved [his] life.”  In May of 2017.  In November of 2017.  In March of 2018.  And many other times, too.

That woman.

Me.

I think, somewhere in The Colonel’s life, he learned how to break people down. Perhaps with some, that sort of cruelty is just part of their nature.  More often, I think it’s a learned behavior, either through observation (family, environment, etc.) and/or training.  (I understand there are even branches of the military which pride themselves on the ability.  A friend told me.  LOL.) In any event, I’m pretty sure that, once The Colonel decided to turn his laser-focus my way, with clear intent to shame and embarrass me, it didn’t take him long to figure out that the cruelest most humiliating thing he could do to a (then) 64-year old grandmother who (he knew) didn’t sleep with her husband was portray her as a sex-starved, dried-up, ugly old woman hell-bent on “getting some” from him and willing to do anything to bring that about.  And so that figure of fun, mockery, and ridicule is the picture he presents of me to the world.

Ugh.  So not who I thought he was.  Or what I signed up for when I traveled to Thailand, I assure you. Yet this is the man his fans like to say is the acme of modern chivalry and one who “respects women” so much.

  1. He has a small yet incredibly diverse group of women who enjoy the outrageous comments that manage somehow to convey respect for us.
  2. He’s actually sensitive to things that may offend us.  (I recall I slammed him–but good–for daring to criticize Derek Jeter.  And he apologized.  Immediately.

LOL.  GMF too much. ROFLMAO.  He criticized Derek Jeter????  The nerve! (Who the fuck is Derek Jeter?) As for those “outrageous comments” that manage somehow to “convey respect” for women, as my dear departed mother might say about them, “if that’s how he conveys respect, then I’ll have half-a-pound of sausages.”  Glory be.

All this has been, not my reality, thank God–there’s far too much good in my life for this to crowd it out–but the little niggling thorn in my side that won’t go away and which sometimes can still bring me to tears because a dear friendship has been lost amid all the third-party interference, static and noise, and because the whole thing is just so unaccountably inexplicable, cruel, small, false, and mean.

But, largely, I’ve moved on.  And I keep moving on. And the turning of the calendar year is a good excuse to move on some more.

“So, RWKJ,” I’m hearing you say again, “Net it out.  What’s the lesson you’ve learned from all this?”

There are several:

  1. People are not always what, or who, they appear to be.  And “ugly” does, as Dorothy Parker said, “go clean to the bone.”  Actually, I think ugly starts on the inside, and works its way to the surface, where it obliterates any other appearance that might, hitherto, have presented itself.  Sometimes, it takes a while to find its way out.  But it always does.
  2. Just as I’ve always observed the miraculous homing instinct of United States Marines, whereby in a room of 500 strangers, if two of them are USMC veterans, they’ll find each other within about thirty seconds (Mr. Right taught me this over the course of four decades), there’s a similar dynamic that works WRT the stupid, the false, the freakish and the cruel.  Somehow, they all end up together, no matter the circuitous path they take to get there.  Best to simply let it happen, and stay out of the way.
  3. It really hurts to see people lie in vile, vulgar, and defamatory ways about you online, especially when you have no way to respond or counter the accusations or present the facts.  If you’re a petty and vindictive little person who lacks the courage to deal with difficult relationships face-to-face, I suspect that the Internet is a marvelous tool through which you can wield the power and “bravery” you lack IRL.
  4. Even a small social media mob (those The Colonel has mobilized in order to defame me have never numbered beyond a dozen or so, and the current one numbers five, give or take) has influence far out of proportion to its number.  Microphones used to be specialized equipment, available only to professionals, and with limited range and utility; the microphone of the Internet reaches the world in an instant, and everybody has one. We see this every day when small Twitter mobs who’ve been “triggered” by something ridiculous achieve results way greater than they deserve.  All it takes is a post or a tweet that captures the attention or imagination of the “sphere” and off they go, seemingly without sense, or rhyme, or reason.  Or facts.
  5. The effects of just a small mob saying vicious things about you publicly before the entire world is magnified for you yet again when some in that mob were once your dearest friends.  That, combined with utter bewilderment as to how on earth, or why on earth, people who don’t know you are suddenly weighing in on your morals, your integrity and other aspects of your character make the whole experience doubly baffling and painful.
  6. Sooner or later, if the campaign goes on long enough, you’ll realize that much of it is just a major troll by the ringleader who’s looking for attention from…you, of all people.  That the lies, which can go on for months, are just invitations to you, hoping for an outraged private response which he can then ignore and double-down on in public, because now you have become his stalker by responding to his indecent nonsense.  I will admit to falling for that one a few times.  No more.  I can see you. The people reading this post can see you.  And now, the whole world can see you (h/t GWB).
  7. The “first sort” of person (see RWKJ’s First Law of Human Existence, at the top of this post) is greatly disadvantaged in the above scenario, because of her innate reluctance to become part of a public spectacle.  However, attempting to handle things privately, or simply ignoring the bad behavior of others, when it’s so malign, so vicious, so ongoing, so destructive, and so personally-directed comes with a cost too.  And sooner or later, if she’s had the right sort of examples in her life (see RWKJ’s Second Law of Human Existence, immediately below the first), she’ll step out from behind the curtain and use her words.  Thanks, Dad.
  8. Adolescents and young children must find this sort of thing truly devastating.  What gets you through it, in the end, is the ability to look inside yourself, to find your spine, your core, your guts, and to know that you have done absolutely nothing to deserve the sort of treatment that’s being meted out to you.  That’s when you find you can stand tall and call out your tormentors for the vile and disgusting people they are.  But when you’re a young person, when you’ve reached the age where you know that the responsible adults in your life (assuming there are some) can’t make everything better with just a hug, a kiss, and a band-aid, but you haven’t yet developed your own sense of self and a fixed moral compass–having your universe suddenly turned upside-down by a mob of vicious trolls, no matter how small,  must seem like the end of the world.  No wonder such children become so desperate as they wonder if they are, in fact, the fat, or ugly, or stupid, or horrible people their tormentors say they are.  Having had just a small taste of it myself, I can’t even imagine the despair those young people feel.
  9. I’m grateful for an upbringing that taught me, among much else, that I’m no better than anyone else, no worse than anyone else, and above all that I don’t have to put up with any shit from anyone else.  And that it is perfectly OK for me to draw a boundary, stand my ground, and tell those abusing me to fuck off.  That doesn’t make me a victim.  I’m not a victim.  I’m a person who’s been unreasonably targeted by a bunch of cruel and vicious trolls, and recognizing them as such, I reject them, call them out, and cast them off.  Not all children are as fortunate as I was, and not all adults, even those who enjoyed a decent upbringing, can muster the strength of character, or the intestinal fortitude necessary to pull that off.  Thanks again, Dad.
  10. I never would have believed that so called “mature adults” in their 50s and 60s could be as vicious or as juvenile as are those I’ve described in this post. Perhaps the infantilization of the American public is proceeding at a faster pace than even I could possibly have predicted.  Glory be.

I think that about wraps it up.  Now onto some details.  Proceed or not as you see fit.

I’m going to use four examples to illustrate my experiences.  There have been plenty more, but despite the hope that it seems The Colonel and his camp followers fondly cling to, I don’t spend my life poring over their deathless prose.  I merely wish they would stop writing defamatory nonsense about me.  I’ve asked them to stop.  And I hope they do.

EXAMPLE #1
The Colonel’s first “warning” attempt to get me to “cool [my] jets” (whatever that was supposed to mean) was in late October of 2018.  (That’s how my gallant friend later described the tactic he used, when he said on a public website that I had stalked him all over the Internet and was offering him “free sex” and sending him “panties on fire juicy” communications.  Those were lies, as was his pretense that I was obsessed with, and commenting on, 100% of his posts.  (On that last point, I think he must have had me confused with two other women, 🤣🤣🤣).  He also told the very interested parties on the website where he was making these absurd claims more than two years ago that “Neither I nor Grampa wants to sleep with his wife.  We have our standards.”

The Colonel knew that Mr. Right (Grampa) and I (Granny) didn’t sleep in the same bed.  He knew that because he enjoyed our hospitality for two months while he lived with us in January and February of 2018, and because, at some point, I’d taken him into my confidence and explained that, in what I later understood to be an early sign of his dementia, Mr. Right had become concerned that his nightly ups-and-downs to the bathroom, and looking for something to read or eat were keeping me awake.  Although I tried to get him to understand that that this wasn’t the case, and that there was no need for him to move to another room, he was determined, and I thought it best for his peace of mind not to fight with him any more about it. So we slept apart.

I never imagined that my “friend” would betray me by impugning my marital fidelity and my morals, and by exposing this intimate detail about my marriage as he tried to portray me as a sex-starved desperado, or that all of the above would become fodder for public discussion on a website where many people knew me, and where he dropped enough identifying details that people could spot me as his target relatively easily.  Some did so identify me, and asked if I was the person he was talking about.

I did not want to betray my friend as the liar and cad he was showing himself to be, so I finessed the question and shrugged it off, telling my interlocutors not to worry about it.  Since one of the people who questioned me is now one of the Colonel’s devoted camp followers, and since she’s publicly said that my response to her is one of the things I did that made her subsequently realize that “something wasn’t right” with me, I wish now that I’d simply given The Colonel up and exposed him as the unchivalrous lout he is, back then in October of 2018.

“Why, yes.  He is talking about me.  He’s lying about the sex and stalking business.  As for the other, he knows my husband (“Grampa”) is physically frail and has dementia.  He knows my husband moved out of our marital bed a couple of years ago because he was confused and agitated and thought he was keeping me awake. The Colonel knows all this because he accepted our hospitality and lived with us as a member of the family in our home for two months, and also because I (“Granny”) confided in him.  I can’t believe my dear friend has lied about me and betrayed my intimate secrets this way and that he’s instigated such mean-spirited and public gossip about a couple he called, just eight months ago, “his best friends in the world and just like family to [him].” What a bastard he is.

But I didn’t say any of that.  I thought I was being loyal.  Semper Fidelis, or Loyauté M’Oblige (Dad’s Regimental motto).  Between my husband and my father, that’s how I’ve lived my life, and I wasn’t about to change the habit of a lifetime just because, for the first time in it, after 64 years, I’d run into a man who’d acted so ungallantly. At the time, I suppose I thought that somehow things would come right and sort themselves out, and even if someone had told me, I’d never have believed that over the next two years this same man would lie about me in salacious and sexually explicit ways, would expose every one of my vulnerabilities to public inspection, would betray every confidence I ever placed in him, would do his best to taint and befoul every one of my pleasant memories of our friendship, and would prove himself so unworthy of either my, or my husband’s trust.

I was wrong.

EXAMPLE #2
I have a couple of photographs of The Colonel which I displayed in my living room.  (I still have them.  They’re somewhere else now.)  One is a sweet photo in which he is sitting in a rocking chair bottle-feeding a lamb who’d been rejected by her mother and who we were hand-rearing while he was staying with us in January and February of 2018.  The other is a nice photo I’d taken of him in Thailand in July of that year.  He’s seen them both, and has copies of them both.

Oh, Hell.  Here’s the one, with his face blurred out (a courtesy he didn’t afford me, when he posted a photo of me without my permission on his public blog):

That was my dear friend.  That is The Colonel I choose to remember.  The one of the quiet evenings and the long walks beside the beaver dam.  The one of the golf putting green.  The one of the cooking school.  The one of the laughter.  The one of interesting and incisive observation and conversation.  The coffee snob. The one of the Thai massage event–separate tables, no happy ending (that was never the objective, at least on my part), but a very pleasant experience with the kind and elderly lady masseuses.  The one of the Super Bowl, both virtually in 2017 (“Boo on Brady”) and in 2018, which we watched together in my living room.  The one of the hundreds of phone calls (all from him to me, many of them hours long–talk about “stalking,” LOL!) between January of 2017 and August of 2018.  And of the “Big C” shopping event.  The Colonel who told me he’d love to show me his adopted country.  The man who loves, and who talks to, his plants.  The one who was there, either in person, or on the phone, with a kind word to lift my spirits when I was feeling down, and for whom I’m very certain I returned the favor, on dozens, if not hundreds of occasions.  The cub scout.  The Colonel of the thousands of PMs (direct messages) between August and 2016 and July of 2018 (another set of communications that was initiated by The Colonel–talk about “stalking,” LOL!) The Colonel who was so patient with Mr. Right’s limitations as a conversationalist. The farm boy.  The excellent cook who brought us a selection of fine foods and helped cook them.  The recipes–sweet potatoes with coconut oil, upside down turkey breast, and more.  The lover of the simple life. The brave optimist.  The Colonel I thought was a best friend for life, and the man who promised he’d be just that.

The Colonel who promised he’d always tell me the truth.

That was my dear friend.  He may be gone from me, but I don’t forget.

The photos on display in my home were a nice reminder of my best friend.  They were also useful for refreshing Mr. Right’s memory of his own friend, “The Colonel,” whose visit and friendship he remembered fondly, although he couldn’t remember The Colonel’s given name or what he looked like. (My husband remembered The Colonel almost up until the end of his life, while almost all other recent acquaintances escaped the bounds of his short-term memory.  “How’s our friend The Colonel doing?” Mr. Right would ask me.  “The Colonel’s doing great!  And he sends you a big Semper Fi,” I’d respond.  Of course, that was a lie.  But it always brought a smile to my husband’s face.  And so I count it a good lie.  I hope God sees it in those terms, too.)

The Colonel apparently had no objections to my displaying these photos when he visited our home for the second time (October 2018) to pick up his car and some other stuff we’d been keeping safe for him since his long visit earlier in the year. Although that visit was difficult, and took place after he’d been “warning” (his word) me about I-don’t-know-what, as I described in #1, above, I welcomed him into my home and kept my word with regard to everything I said I’d do for him, or had done on his behalf.

Almost five months later, just before he was banned on one social networking website on which we were both members, I tried to get The Colonel back on the rails by making an appeal to friendship, mentioning that I felt only affection for the friend whose photos were on a shelf in my living room, and asking him if we could somehow find some common ground again.  He immediately sent a copy of one of those photographs to the site moderators, together with a threat to forward private email correspondence that I had sent to him seven months prior.

A full ten months after that, the subject of those photographs came up again on his blog, when one of his camp followers, in an imaginative and highly entertaining takedown of yours truly said that I “stated on a public thread” (that’s false, it was a member’s only thread behind the site paywall) that I “displayed a photograph of [The Colonel] in [my] living room.”  She went on to excoriate me and to say that I’d proven by my behavior, including the fact that I had a photograph of The Colonel in my living room, that “something wasn’t right” with me.

God knows why a member of the profoundly ignorant and interfering busybody class believed she has any right to extemporize on the photos I choose to display in my living room.  But by his silence, The Colonel signified his approbation with her lunacy, and off she went, and so did the gang.

Subsequently, The Colonel has made quite a meal out of the photo I took in Thailand “without his permission,” as though I am some defaulting and subservient creature who crossed an inviolable boundary.  As a matter of fact, we were sitting on a bench in front of Chiang Rai’s White Temple at the time, he was looking pensive, I snapped a shot, showed it to him right then, and we both agreed that it was a really nice photo. Subsequently I emailed him a copy of the file, and when he was at my house in October of 2018 I printed out a few and gave them to him so that he could share them.

This photo was taken on me without my knowledge but being too awesome of a snapshot to keep to herself she eventually shared it with me…That picture was taken of me in July of 2018 by the former Ricochet moderator, She.  The photo was taken surreptitiously.

(The above comments posted with the shot itself, one that The Colonel has posted on his blog several times.)

Another perfectly nice and normal memory of a sweet friendship tainted, first by an ignoramus who decided to shoot off her mouth about something of which she knew zero, nada, zilch, and who, for some reason, thinks God has put her in charge of how, and where, I should display my photo collection, and then by the Colonel’s own repeated foolish and false storytelling about a perfectly innocent moment, in order to gin up outrage and more vituperation about me on his blog.

Crikey.  He was my dear friend.  I had a couple of nice photos of him, one from his two-month stay with us at our home, and one from my visit to see him in Thailand, and I chose to display them in my living room.  He’s seen them.  He didn’t object (in fact, he seemed quite pleased with them), until ignorant and interfering people with conspiratorial and deranged thought processes started winding him up about them, simply because I stated a simple fact about our friendship.  Just nasty people, all round.

EXAMPLE #3
Beginning with the post I mentioned in #1 above, The Colonel has repeatedly used my marital situation and status to defame and demean me.  He has used my husband as a prop as he’s concocted false scenarios to insult me, to cast aspersions on my faithfulness, my loyalty, my abilities or desire to carry out my wifely responsibilities, and by extension, my commitment to my marriage.  He’s accused me of visiting him in Thailand only to demand sex from him.  He’s told the world that my husband and I didn’t sleep together.  He’s accused me of lying about my husband’s military service.  He’s pretended that I was so obsessed with having sex with him and so desperate for “carnal relations” that he was afraid I would hurt (or do something worse to) my husband of forty years just to catapult myself into his bed or onto my knees before him.  Lest you think I exaggerate, here are a few of his greatest hits, these occurring between October 2018 and May 2020:

Neither I nor Grampa wants to sleep with his wife.  We have our standards.

In response to yet another comment, in yet another post, about my supposed insatiable desire for sex with him:

Never heard the one about a happily married woman scorned.

From a post that was published at least twice. I don’t know if it appeared more often than that:

My fears were justified when She, sitting in my fave chair one morning while drinking coffee that I had just served Her asked if and when we were going to have sex…I figured I could buy myself 5-20 years by saying ‘Not while your husband is alive’…To my shock, horror, and disbelief She asked me the very next morning to clarify what I meant by not having sex with Her while Her husband was alive.  Immediately I became concerned for his safety.

To be clear, the following excerpt is from a different post than that mentioned above:

A married woman, who shall remain anonymous, asks me not if but when we are going to have sex.  After regaining my composure, I said, ‘Not while your husband is alive.’

From a post in which he accuses me of lying (in posts I’ve written on social networking sites) about my husband’s military service.  He’s flat-out lying about that (as he is about most of what he says about me).

Mr. She was a non-combat arms reservist who neither was activated nor deployed overseas.  Not that there is anything wrong with that, but Her Marine was already over and done with his one contract before She married him.  It is not like Her Royalness spent lots of sleepless nights worrying about him being in harm’s way…She shouldn’t act like he is some kind of war hero.  He would not be proud of how She distorts his service.  Speaking of stolen valor…

And again

Hell hath no fury like a female houseguest who wants to get banged good and hard.

In a discussion about whether there might be “blowback” against The Colonel, should he continue with his absurd and defamatory assertions about me (these from a post all the way back in August of 2019.  It may be the first one in which he and his camp followers start to lie like rugs about me on his own blog; I’m not sure):

One of their moderators wanted me to talk pillow talk to her and such.  When I refused her kind and generous offer, she obliterated their code of conduct by posting about my private life. [🤣🤣🤣  Sorry, couldn’t help myself; a fine example of the psychological trait known as “projection.”]

Blowback for doing what?  Refusing to give her my essence?

(Yes, grasshopper, I think The Colonel must have watched Dr. Strangelove one too many times.)

I am cheap but can be had.  I do however draw the line with married women unless, you know, trophy.

In response to a concern that I might confront him for “damag[ing my] reputation”:

She still has a reputation?

And the comment, on Ricochet’s main (public feed) which finally got him banned from the site:

Someone tell Moderator She that if she cums [sic] to see me in Thailand, I will let her have sex with me.

Just reiterating that all the above posts and comments were made on public sites which anyone browsing the Internet could read, as was his comment that I “claimed that [he] offered to perform cunnilingus on [me].”  (Because all my friends know that’s exactly the sort of thing I talk about all the time and exactly the sort of comment I would make.  LOL.) Glory be.  I had to look that up to find out what it was.

He also made numerous comments on posts that stayed behind the member paywall on a particular social networking site, so I won’t quote them here, accusing me of wanting to perform various sex acts on him and of being fascinated with the size of his…umm…manhood.  The potential audience, on this site alone, was thousands of members, although I’m pretty sure, by this point, that only a handful were bothering to read his posts.  I mean really.  Would you want to read that sort of narcissistic tripe, unless it was your job to do so? (Regrettably, it was my job.)

He was banned from that same site for writing the following comment about me on a post that had been promoted to the main feed, and was therefore visible to the Internet-at-large “Someone tell Moderator She that if she cums [sic] to see me in Thailand I will let her have sex with me.”

Perhaps you’re starting to get the idea. I really don’t know where he finds room for the wide and deep wells of venom, hatred, bile, and witless spite he obviously harbors for me, nor do I know where they come from.  But I guess he finds reason and space for them somewhere inside his big head.

I only know that during our years of close friendship, I’d usually try to reel him in and bring him back to earth when he’d get a bit out-of-round, or go off the rails in his relations with others. I think anyone who truly has a care for him would do that. I’m sorry, more for his sake than for mine at this point, that rather than trying to keep him grounded in his increasingly absurd and desperate attempts to destroy me, all those in his immediate orbit for the past couple of years seem to have egged him on to new heights of idiocy by joining in and piling on with the kind of advice which just causes him to expose himself as even more unchivalrous and morally bankrupt than he already has: Here’s a pretty good example of what I mean–this advice which was offered in response to another one of The Colonel’s vituperative posts in which he made several more false claims about me and others.  One of his camp followers (another one speaking from a position of complete ignorance) suggested the following:

You know what? Charming as I may appear, I can be a really mean girl when I choose so this is what I recommend: Somehow, let all those idiots and hypocrites on L1 [Ricochet] know that one of their moderators went out of her way to spend a fortnight with you.  I’m looking at you, She.

This was followed by a leering comment from another of his familiars, as follows:

Right behind ya [name]; an *unaccompanied* fortnight, right?  Pics are available too….Aren’t they?

I mean, really, ugh.  Excuse me while I disinfect my keyboard and wash my hands.  I can’t even.

The result of this direct public challenge from two of his “friends,” both of whom thought it was perfectly appropriate to wind The Colonel up some more, to indulge in that sort of bitchy and lubricious speculation about me, and to call me out directly in a forum where I wasn’t present and had no way to respond or present the facts, was The Colonel’s vile post a couple of days later, in which (among a series of other nasty and defamatory lies) he professed frissons of fear that I would injure (or worse) my husband just so I could have sex with him, and in which he also said:

Now sitting in my Home half a world away from Her loved ones, She is asking me to make love to Her a mere two weeks after a visit to my house by the Thai cutie below. [Insert large photo of one of the interchangeable Thai cuties.] Good God people, there is not that much testosterone in the known universe!

Who, in their right mind, thinks that the Colonel looks better, more manly, more chivalrous, and more gallant, for having written any part of that post?  (Either in January 2020 when it was first written, or in May 2020, when he reprised it?)  Certainly not I.  And not just because of the things he said about me.  You know what they say:  “God gives us our relatives.  Thank God we can choose our friends.”

And I do.  I’m happy for who my friends are.  And who they aren’t.

(An aside:  I remember a conversation, at the old airstrip/golf course, one morning when we were drinking breakfast in the little thatched shack–something The Colonel did, apparently, every day–Heineken. With ice. I don’t know if that’s still the case.  I’d told The Colonel that I wanted him to feel comfortable about going out, here and there, and that I’d be fine on my own for a few hours if he did.  I reminded him that he’d asked me (before I got to Thailand) if I’d mind whether he went out before breakfast to play a round at the golf course at which he was a member at the time.  I said, then, and after I arrived, of course I wouldn’t mind.  I suggested that if he wanted to go out in the evening and have a couple of rounds at “Wattsy’s” (a local watering hole he took me to a couple of times and at which I had some delightful conversations with the “sex-pats,” who seemed to be mostly fish-out-of-water old men who knew exactly how to treat an elderly Western married lady traveling on her own, and who wanted nothing so much as to talk about how much they missed their families back in the States, or Australia, or UK, or New Zealand.  Most of them were veterans of the armed forces.  Terribly sad.  I told The Colonel that I didn’t want to get in his way, and that I’d brought reading material and embroidery, and was perfectly capable of amusing myself for a few hours at a time if he wanted to go off and do something on his own.

His response to what I thought was a rather rational and reasonable suggestion on my part?

I just met this girl in Chiang Rai.  I’d like to get to know her better.  Would it be OK if I left you by yourself for two or three days and went to stay at her place?

He’d only just got over his visit with the testosterone-depleting “Thai cutie,” who he mentioned in the excerpt above, and whose photo he posted on his blog–a girl whose name, I know, and whose manifest virtues he’d been proclaiming to me for weeks (he talks on his blog as if the revolving door of his picaresque, transactional dalliances was some sort of secret from me, but it was not–I spoke with him several times while she was staying in his home–the first time they’d ever met.  I even know her name, and it ain’t “Miss BKK.”) I asked him what the difference was between that “Thai cutie” or Miss (later Mrs.) BKK from Bangkok–was ever a city so aptly named–whose name I also know, and to hours of whose often acrimonious conversation I’ve listened as the Colonel spoke on the phone with her while he was sitting in my living room with her on the speakerphone.  His response to my query:

“She [new girl] is in Chiang Rai” (i.e. local) “and [Miss Isaan, Thai Cutie]  and [Miss BKK, Supreme Court Law Clerk] are not.” LOL.  What a gentleman.  (BTW, none of those three should be confused with his other girl from a little further North, whom I actually met and with whom I spent a very pleasant evening while The Colonel cooked us dinner.  Glory be.  Never a dull moment. LOL.)

I told The Colonel that, since he was the one who’d invited me to visit him,  since I was traveling alone, since I was in country for only ten days, and since I had thought that he’d bestir himself for the greater part of that time to function as my gracious host (as one does with people who’ve come to visit or stay), I’d really not appreciate his leaving me on my own for several days in his little house in a country where I didn’t know anyone, didn’t speak the language, and couldn’t even read the street signs, or use the telephone, while he went to bang his brains out on some girl his daughter’s age he’d just met, and while I had to fend for myself at an address I didn’t even know and which he couldn’t tell me or write down for me (because he claimed not to know it himself–after living in country for nine months–an even longer story–don’t get me started), and where I had absolutely no contacts other than those at the British Embassy (whose information I’d had the forethought to look up, print out, and put in my purse before I set out from the States.)

It was shortly after that, that I got out my iPad, started up Google Maps, and saved a screenshot of the satellite image of my “current location,” with road names and enough of the surrounding city so that, should something go haywire, should I find myself dumped Lord knows where at the side of the road, should I wake up the next morning to find The Colonel vanished, I’d have a way to show, explain, email, the location of his house to a taxi company or to someone who might help me either get back there or pick me up there and take me to the airport.  That’s how scared I was becoming that I might not ever find my way home.

Nice story, isn’t it?

Here’s how The Colonel told that story on his blog:

With all due respect to Mrs. She, I was willing to wait to make love to an unmarried woman until after Her departure.  On the other hand I did ask for one night off of male-escort duty to have a date with my current GF and was severely reprimanded by Her Royalness for foolishly assuming that at least some of my time belonged to me.

And when he was in my home in October of 2018, and I challenged him on that, he told me that his sisters-in-law would find his behavior entirely acceptable.  LOL.  Only if decades of exposure to The Colonel and his brothers has numbed their brains to decent behavior.  Or so I think.

You see, I believed The Colonel’s intentions towards me were honorable, and that he would be adult enough to keep his fly zipped for the ten days I was with him, and to act as a gracious host to the woman he called his “best friend in the world,” the woman he’d invited to his home, the woman that her family was trusting him to keep safe, and that he might have been able to rein in his lascivious interests (I won’t call them “love interests” because they are not) for that short period of time, or at least that if he “felt an uncontrollable urge” he would take care of it discreetly and not throw it in my face the way he did by threatening to leave me on my own in his house for several days duration while he gave his latest acquisition a thorough test drive before she slipped through his fingers or got a better offer somewhere else.

I was there for ten days, at his invitation.  Ten days.  Not “a fortnight,” which I had “gone out of my way to spend with him.”  But ten invited days, during which he’d told me we’d have a great time and do a great many things together.  (Newsflash:  None of them involved kneepads or a shared mattress.  Not a single one.)

Now, ladies.  You tell me.  Who in this story started out with high esteem for The Colonel, and who actually expected him to live his vaunted and advertised values of chivalry and respect for women?  LOL.  Glory be.  Talk about bait and switch.  What a sad disappointment.

This is a man who professed deep feeling and deep friendship for both me and my husband.  A man who knew exactly how compromised and sick my husband was.  A man who knew that my husband had, at most, 1-2 years to live; not the 5-20 he pretended to be “buying himself” by putting me off and telling me we couldn’t have sex while my husband was alive.  Jesus. Just publicly mentioning my dying husband’s prospective lifespan (as The Colonel did multiple times) and using it as a plot element in his ongoing fantasies was a spectacularly cruel and distasteful move. (My husband, who suffered from dementia and several chronic health conditions for years, died in his home, in his sleep, while I held his hand, on July 3, 2020).

And yet The Colonel, knowing the circumstances of my marriage, my vulnerabilities and the difficulties of my life, a man in whom I’d confided much, to whom I’d consigned many of my vulnerabilities, and who I trusted completely–a man I considered a member of the family– wielded his overwhelming anger and spite (for God-knows-what) as a weapon, to publicly embarrass, demean, and humiliate me, and to strip away any dignity to my marriage and my life as he lied about, and mocked and ridiculed me in front of our mutual online friends.

There are no words to describe a person whose life is so bereft of any sense of honor, chivalry, and decency that he would behave this way towards a woman who befriended him, who took her into her home, who never did him a bad turn, never treated him other than with kindness and affection, and who brought him into, and behaved towards him as a member of, her own family.  No.  Words.  Other than, perhaps a few of his own:  As The Colonel himself said to one of his camp followers–about someone else, of course:

It doesn’t take any courage to say mean things about a woman on the Internet.  A harmless widow at that.

I doubt he was looking in a mirror at the time.  Self-awareness isn’t his strong suit.  Nor that of any of the rest of them.  LOL.

I was wrong about there being “no words.” And I’m delighted to give The Colonel credit for being, in this one instance, 100% correct.  There is a word to describe such a person and his enablers.  And that word is “coward.”  They are cowards, all.

EXAMPLE #4
I’ve mentioned The Colonel’s camp followers several times.  There are four of them, all females in their 50s and 60s.  All four are former members of the social networking site that The Colonel and I both belonged to (I’m still there).  Three of them were banned from that site.  I’ve met one of the women IRL.  The other three don’t know me from Adam’s off ox.  And yet they have weighed in on intimate details of my life.  They have called me “crazy,” said I have “serious issues,” said there’s “something not right with [me]” and repeatedly called me a liar and a false friend, and worse.  They’ve written posts on his blog about posts and comments I’ve written elsewhere and defamed and insulted me from the sidelines.  One of them has turned up on threads on which I’ve commented on another site and attempted to shoehorn her hero into the conversation there.  They’ve impugned my integrity, my ethics and my morals; they have lied about me, accusing me of saying and doing things I have not said and done.  They have encouraged The Colonel to further betray me and to tell more stories about me, saying things like “Somehow, let all those idiots and hypocrites on L1 [Ricochet] know that one of their moderators went out of her way to spend a fortnight with you.  I’m looking at you, She.” They have joined The Colonel in gossiping, mocking, and ridiculing me as too old, and too white for him; as he’s compared me unfavorably with photographs of young, nubile, scrumptious Thai “maidens” (hohoho) he may or may not know, as he asks their advice–“Behold the awesomeness.  If you could have this or some social security year old American granny, which way would you turn?” Or “Help me choose, Her [photo of some luscious Thai girl about Sir’s daughter’s age] or She [me].”  They have jumped on his every command, risen (LOL) to every challenge, and given the answer he wants every time (imagine my surprise), often while insulting and defaming me, a person who’s done none of them any wrong, in the process.

The whole thing is like nothing so much as a geriatric remake of Mean Girls meets Pretty Little Liars meets The Stepford Wives.  Ugh.

Such ugliness of spirit and emptiness of soul is utterly beyond me.  I’ve learned, over the last couple of years of my life that it exists, and I guess I’m thankful that it took 64 years before I ran into such a thing IRL.  My life has been blessed.  Live and learn, I suppose.

A few months ago, when The Colonel once again attacked my character and integrity, and once again used his “friend” (LOL), my terminally-ill husband as a tool to do so, I sent a communication to him and his four camp followers reminding them that they were lying about me and asking these four women to stop encouraging their fearless leader in his campaign to vilify and destroy me–a woman who has done none of them any harm, and has never done any of them, including The Colonel, a bad turn in her life.

As I expected, the reaction from two of them has been hostile, as they’ve  responded with threats of law enforcement or litigation, and have accused me of “stalking” them. The litigious trope is one that’s been repeated on The Colonel’s blog more than once as they vent their incessant series of grudges and never-ending drain-circling grievances against all those they imagine have done them wrong in the online world over the last many years. (And they say I am the one who can’t move on.  LOL.)

I’m sorry, girls.  That’s not how it works.  If any of you are reading this (and I suspect some of you may be), you need to hear this loud and clear:  I’ve seen what you’ve done over the past year or two.  I’ve seen what you’ve said about me, and I’ve seen the lies you’ve told about me, all of them on publicly visible websites, no subscription, logon, or password needed to read any of them.  You and your friends have written many, many posts and/or made many, many comments about me over the past two years.  Even last month (November 2020), The Colonel couldn’t resist the temptation to take at least one of you down a spurious and defamatory rabbit hole in which he presented a completely fictitious scenario and called me professionally incompetent–in my chosen and very successful decades-long career field–and a liar, about a matter of which I am certain he knows the truth.  The post had nothing to do with me, but he managed to shoehorn me into it somehow, as yet another means to defame and insult me.

To give the devil his due, at least that story wasn’t about my supposed Elephant’s Child-size insatiable sexual appetite for him.   Neither was the story about the package to [a foreign country].  I won’t bore you, dear readers who are still with me, with too many gory details.  Let’s just say that I agreed to send a package to the Colonel for one of his camp followers (when she was still behaving in a friendly way), directing it to an address he’d given me when he was living with us.  Eight months after I sent it (to a very foreign address, although one that is still within the USPS system), it was returned to me with a sticker on it indicating that it had not been picked up (I have the USPS texts indicating that it had been delivered.)  I sent the entire package, postmarks, USPS forms, stickers, labels and all, to the person for whom I’d sent the package, and told her he hadn’t picked it up.  This, of course became fodder at some point on The Colonel’s blog, in the form of a fantastical, time-warping, impossible story he told about it, which claimed that I was lying about sending it at all, and to which the person for whom I’d sent the package signed on to and embellished some more, even though she’d seen the clear evidence that I’d sent it and that it had been returned only because of the Colonel’s failure to pick it up.  (She’d taken the oath of fealty to The Colonel by then, and from the sound of things, they’d been talking about it offline, or perhaps earlier on his blog and I just didn’t see it.  Contra The Colonel’s fondest dreams, I don’t spend my life perusing his idiotic stories and vitriolic rants.)

Anyhoo, at some point in this squalid little exchange, The Colonel stated that he’d never had an address at the place where I’d addressed and sent the package.  Well.  All I know is that 1) he gave me that address when he was living with us, and 2) if you type that address into Google, the results that display have The Colonel’s real name all over them, along with several other of his addresses, at least two of which I know are correct because 1) I sent a package to him at one of them myself and he received it, and 2) before I agreed to keep his car for him for eight months, I made sure the owner’s card and insurance information were in the glove compartment, and, of course, they had an address on them too.

Crimenutely.  Quite a few of The Colonel’s stories are demonstrably, provably false: This is one; the story about how I’ve misrepresented my husband’s military service and written about Mr. Right as if he is “some kind of war hero” is another.  Good luck to anyone who thinks they’ll find such a thing, anywhere in anything I’ve written about him. Again, I don’t know where these wells of splenetic hatred come from, or what they’re based in, but they’re ugly.  And they should give pause to any woman with a shred of sense who signs onto The Colonel’s lies and who pretends that what she’s looking at here is a “he said, she said,” situation.  “Falsus in uno (or duo, or tres…), falsus in omnibus,” as I’m pretty sure at least one of The Colonel’s “horrid crew” (h/t John Milton) already knows. (I expect that The Colonel who, in spite of his portrayal of himself as a stupid, downtrodden, disadvantaged, and ignorant redneck, is extremely bright and has enjoyed a perfectly good liberal arts education at his state university can translate it too.)

It’s almost as if The Colonel wants to be found out.  Or as if he’s trolling me, as I said earlier, and wanting a response to his outrageous remarks.  In either case, from now on, as the old saying goes, “want will be his master.” At least, on my part. Because I just don’t have the bandwidth to try to reach him anymore.

When is one of you “girls” going to ask him why he can’t stop talking about me and why he seems so unable to let me go?  When is one of you going to recommend that he try for closure and resolution with me, rather than ignorantly joining in and escalating the situation so it continues to unsettle him and keeps you involved in his torturous mental gymnastics? When is one of you going to suggest that such conversations, and such comments, especially when they contain personally identifiable details, or even photographs, about the subjects under discussion (who aren’t participants, didn’t ask to be featured on his blog, and can’t respond to anything he or you say), be they friends, family, or last night’s real or virtual one-night stand, really aren’t suitable fodder for the public Internet airwaves, and that writing about all of them in the way he does just makes The Colonel look obsessed, mean, nasty, pathetic, and small?

In short, when is any of you going to act towards your friend like the lady, and the friend, you purport to be, rather than as an enabling and fascinated sycophant or as a brainwashed fool?

I’m a forgiving sort of person.  My list of “Sins that must be forgiven, whether they’re done to me or to someone else” is quite long.  But “Standing by and doing nothing while a friend publicly and repeatedly humiliates himself” is nowhere on it.  That’s behavior even I cannot forgive, pace C.S. Lewis.  My personal Inferno contains an even lower Circle of Hell, reserved for those who “egg a friend on to even greater heights (depths?) of public and repeated self-abasement for their own amusement and entertainment.”  God preserve me from friends like that.  They’re the absolute worst.

You’ve not stinted in referring to me over the months and years as “Ricochet Moderator She, Former Ricochet Moderator She, L1 Moderator She (it’s quite clear to a marginally literate reader of your blog that “L1” is your code word for Ricochet, a site whose founders, administrators and members most of you hold in contempt)  and on at least two occasions that I’ve seen, The Colonel  has called me out by my given name.  He’s also not stinted in providing supporting detail which can be used by anyone who’s familiar with any of the blogs or social networking sites on which I’m known, to easily identify me. (Particularly since I’ve never really taken pains to hide my identity, even though I write under a pseudonym.  Many of my posts contain links and details that clearly identify who I am IRL.) That’s a potential audience of thousands.  Or millions.  I’m sure none of you writes what you do hoping that no-one is reading it: I bet you hope it’s widely read.  And I bet you hope your venom and vicious spite is having an impact. (If you didn’t hope that, you wouldn’t write, on occasion, of your bafflement that I’m still widely respected and popular, especially on the website on which we were all once members.)

You have no-one to thank but yourselves for that last outcome.  Through your cattiness and vulgarity, and in contrast with your vile public “exposés,” the fact that I’ve largely been able to muster public silence and grace in response to your repeated tawdry public attacks has stood me in pretty good stead. Semper Fidelis. Loyauté M’Oblige. Not for any of you.  I couldn’t care less about any of you.  I have kept silent only for him.

Because you must know, if you give it a moment’s thought, and have a scintilla of self-awareness, that I have not spent the last two years writing public screeds about any of you; I have not lied about you, insulted you, mocked you, or ridiculed you; I have not publicly called you lunatics, or sex-obsessed old women, or desperate, bored and lonely housewives longing to get “banged good and hard;” I have not invented stories making you out to be sad, pathetic, deranged, lying nutjobs; I have not used your husbands (those of you who have, or had, such a person in your lives) as plot devices in any stories, or insinuated that you’re unfaithful in your marriages.  I have not tried to pry dirt on any of you out of a little gaggle of our mutual online friends (and we have many); nor have I incited a little mob of those same friends to swarm and harass you online, or to write op-ed posts criticizing you in false and defamatory terms when I don’t like something you’ve written elsewhere.  Nor have I taken any of those mutual friends, stood them up and badgered any of them into abjuring The Colonel, throwing him under the bus, and taking an oath of fealty only to me.  In short, I have done exactly nothing to any of you, ever, to cause you to behave the way you have towards me.  But everything I’ve listed above has been done to me, either by you individually, collectively, or in concert with The Colonel himself.  You should be ashamed of yourselves (as if). Whatever it is that motivates you is an aspect of human nature that’s entirely beyond my comprehension, and frankly, I’m glad that’s the case.  (The Colonel is fond of posting meaningful musical interludes.  Mine, for this moment, would be The Allan Parsons Project, and their recording of “I Wouldn’t Want to be Like You.”  God forbid.)

Just because I have noticed what you and the Colonel have been doing, and I have finally called each of you out on it, you don’t get to accuse me of “stalking,” you.  “Projection,” or the behavioral trait in which one accuses the other side of being or doing what one is, or what has done oneself, is The Colonel’s stock in trade.  It looks as if the apples don’t fall far from the tree.  Please stop projecting your own vile behavior onto me.

Look in the mirror, please.  And see what, if anything, looks back.

WRT The Colonel, I wish him nothing but the best.  I’ve always told him so, and I’m sure he knows that, somewhere deep inside himself, no matter how hard he tries to convince himself and others differently by telling everyone, everywhere, on a regular basis, that I hate him with the white-hot heat of a thousand suns, or that “‘[my] promise of undying love has turned to red hot hate,” or that it is “holding onto [my] hatred of [him that] brings meaning to [my] life.” That’s just another of his lies, a particularly nasty one, since it strongly implies that my life is so empty there’s nothing else that matters in it save my obsession with, and hatred for, The Colonel.   (If you’re at all inclined to believe this pile of narcissistic shit, please go to my blog’s search page and look for posts about “family” or “friends.”  Or just read a representative sampling of my posts.  And then, if the answer’s still not clear, give the matter a little more thought and try again. Lather.  Rinse.  Repeat. ♻)

God knows (I suppose) why The Colonel tells the lies he does.  He must know that I wish him nothing but health, happiness, safety, joy and a purposeful life. (“Purpose” is what The Colonel used to say makes us human, when he and Mr. Right and I would have long philosophical discussions at the dinner table about the meaning of life.)

My best hope for him, as a friend I cherished (although that ship sailed long ago), but one I cannot bring myself to wish ill, is that he’ll pull his head out of his rectal cavity one day and perhaps fall in with a pack of one or more truth-teller friends who really do care for him and his well-being and health, and who’ll  help him get himself sorted out rather than simply using him as a vehicle for their own titillation, amusement, and entertainment while they watch him self-destruct.

It’s no fun to be pursued across multiple websites, three so far–that I know of–by a small horde of slavering jackals intent on flaying me alive, and determined to destroy my character, morals, dignity and reputation, especially as I watch them twist, embellish, and simply make up fact-challenged, fake news, versions of reality just to satisfy the insatiable narcissism of their pack’s alpha male.  I’ve done my best to keep this story off the public airwaves.  I’ve been asking The Colonel to desist with his vicious, lying, self-serving public campaign to gaslight and ruin me since October of 2018. And just a few months ago, I told his “jackalettes” that I could see what they were doing, and I asked them to knock it off too.  Perhaps they will.  I live in hope.

Meanwhile, I’m happy to let this post stand as my first and final recounting in the public domain of the sad series of events that has taken place over the past twenty-six months, a series of events which disrupted my life for far longer, and to much greater effect than it should have, while I bounced off the walls inside my head trying to ascertain why someone I was very fond of had, apparently, either 1) lost his mind, or 2) been hiding his true self from me for years.

Both of those solutions were unwelcome and insupportable to me, although both are admirable from the POV of Occam’s razor, and I should probably have just accepted one or the other of them at face value from the start instead of beating myself to flinders for months wondering what I had done wrong or how I was at fault.  (For anyone in a similar state of head-banging confusion, I highly recommend this book, a quick and inexpensive read, but one which did more to set my feet on the road back to reality than anything else: Fifty Shades of Narcissism: The Secret Language of Narcissists, Sociopaths and Psychopaths.)

On that note, a word for my friends, of whom I am blessed to have many:  Thank you for your kindness and support.  I know that you know that the vast majority of the problems on display in the saga I’ve recounted do not lie in me.  And I appreciate knowing that you know that, more than I can say.  But telling me to just “ignore” it, or “move on” or “get over it,” before I’m ready to do so really isn’t helpful.  There are some hurts that are just too deep to process all that quickly.  The fact that I, who consider myself (and am considered by those who know me as) a kind, decent, honest, honorable  person and a pretty good judge of character, misjudged The Colonel so horribly, that I let a man I thought was good, honest, trustworthy and chivalrous into my life, that I shared my home and my family with him, exposing him to people I love and to people who love me, that I trusted him with my intimate secrets and my vulnerabilities, that I pretty much gave him access to everything in my life (as, at the same time, he assured me I knew more about him than anyone else alive–I suspect that’s probably still true, BTW), and that he then he betrayed me in such a spectacularly false, hurtful, humiliating, embarrassing, fashion, demeaning and insulting every bit of my character, intelligence, age, looks, morals, fidelity, integrity and marriage, making me out to be a fat, ugly, undesirable, obsessed, dried up old granny, so desperate for sex that I’d act in criminal ways to get my very sick husband out of the way just to achieve my supposed orgasmic dream (“Someone tell Moderator She that if she cums [sic] to see me in Thailand I will let her have sex with me” and “She asked me…to clarify what I meant by not having sex with Her while Her husband was alive.  Immediately I became concerned for his safety.”), and calling me, along the way, things like “evil,” and “Satanic” as he rounded up a little posse which he encouraged  and manipulated into joining his mission to publicly humiliate and destroy me–that is one of those hurts that goes too deep to let go of on a whim or even on a friend’s assurance and say-so.  And it has taken me a very long time to be able to articulate that in front of you all.  Now I can, and now I have.  Please forgive me for taking this long to get to the nub of the matter–I know that, if you’re my real friend, you will.

I pray for The Colonel’s camp followers in the terms that my beloved stepdaughter lays out for certain people in her own life:  We are instructed to pray for those who “despitefully use [us] and persecute [us]”–Matthew 5:44. Sometimes that’s hard, so we’ll put them in the category of “you have to live with yourselves and that must really suck, so here’s one for you.” 

I pray for The Colonel because, somewhere in my heart, there’s always going to be an approximately Colonel-shaped hole where my friend used to be, one that I expect will remain forever.  It’s always sad to lose a friend, but it’s possible, even in difficult circumstances, for the break to be humane and livable if the friends treat each other with humanity, decency,  kindness and grace.  It’s a different story, perhaps a uniquely twenty-first century story, when you are ghosted, gaslighted, lied about and humiliated before your friends and the world, and when you have to watch a coven of shrieking harpies, most of whom know jack shit about you, conspire with your once-beloved friend to ruin you and dance on your virtual grave.  That has been the coda to my life-affirming friendship with The Colonel, and it’s been hard to accept.  But it is what it is.  And I move on.

And yes, I persist.  And in that, I honor and revere my father (Exodus 20:12) and my late husband (Ephesians 5:33), neither of whom would have expected anything less. Illegitimi non carborundum.

With that, I set fire to this post and watch it waft up the chimney and into the ether and I move on to 2021 and to what’s really important in life.  “The Lord do so unto me” (Ruth 1:17) if I’m ever so dumb as to think or do otherwise.  And here she is. (She’s a gawky, sweet, kind, caring, seventh-grader now, our family’s little love-letter to the future):

Happy New Year, everyone!
Please join me in my family’s annual toast to absent friends and loved ones, everywhere.

Much Love,

RightWingKnitJob

 

3 thoughts on “On Stalkers, Cyberbullies, and (Finally) Turning the Page”

  1. I’ve received several pieces of positive, private, feedback on this post, and I appreciate them, and the sharing of your own experiences with online stalking and the social media mobs, more than you know. Thanks.

  2. Thanks again to those who’ve commented privately, either those who know whereof, and who-of I speak, or to those who’ve got their own stories to tell. And thanks for making me understand that I’m not alone. My trip to Thailand did have one or two lovely moments, and I wrote about one of them here: Suwanee’s Cooking School in Chiang Rai, Thailand. One of the loveliest days of my life. As reprehensible as “The Colonel’s” behavior (and that of a couple of his driveling loons) has been since then, I’ll always be grateful for that day.

  3. Update to certain remarks from the OP:

    I’m sure none of you writes what you do hoping that no-one is reading it: I bet you hope it’s widely read. And I bet you hope your venom and vicious spite is having an impact. (If you didn’t hope that, you wouldn’t write, on occasion, of your bafflement that I’m still widely respected and popular, especially on the website on which we were all once members.)

    Oh, my very goshness. And still (late June, 2021) it continues, in very much this vein. One might think, over time, that you’d recognize what your behavior looks like to the rest of the world, and stifle yourselves. But, apparently, one would be wrong. LOL.

    Because you must know, if you give it a moment’s thought, and have a scintilla of self-awareness, that I have not spent the last two years writing public screeds about any of you; I have not lied about you, insulted you, mocked you, or ridiculed you; I have not publicly called you lunatics, or sex-obsessed old women, or desperate, bored and lonely housewives longing to get “banged good and hard;” I have not invented stories making you out to be sad, pathetic, deranged, lying nutjobs; I have not used your husbands (those of you who have, or had, such a person in your lives) as plot devices in any stories, or insinuated that you’re unfaithful in your marriages. I have not tried to pry dirt on any of you out of a little gaggle of our mutual online friends (and we have many); nor have I incited a little mob of those same friends to swarm and harass you online, or to write op-ed posts criticizing you in false and defamatory terms when I don’t like something you’ve written elsewhere. Nor have I taken any of those mutual friends, stood them up and badgered any of them into abjuring The Colonel, throwing him under the bus, and taking an oath of fealty only to me. In short, I have done exactly nothing to any of you, ever, to cause you to behave the way you have towards me. But everything I’ve listed above has been done to me, either by you individually, collectively, or in concert with The Colonel himself. You should be ashamed of yourselves (as if). Whatever it is that motivates you is an aspect of human nature that’s entirely beyond my comprehension, and frankly, I’m glad that’s the case.

    Boy, howdy. I live in a world of honor, decency, kindness, beauty, family and friendship, and I want no part of the sort of lives you lead, things you say, posts you write, and comments you make.

    Just because I have noticed what you and the Colonel have been doing, and I have finally called each of you out on it, you don’t get to accuse me of “stalking,” you. “Projection,” or the behavioral trait in which one accuses the other side of being or doing what one is, or what has done oneself, is The Colonel’s stock in trade. It looks as if the apples don’t fall far from the tree. Please stop projecting your own vile behavior onto me.

    Look in the mirror, please. And see what, if anything, looks back.

    To become an expert in this last phenomenon, please do spend a few minutes perusing your favorite authority, Wikipedia, on the subject of vampires, mirrors, and souls.

    It’s no fun to be pursued across multiple websites, three so far–that I know of–by a small horde of slavering jackals intent on flaying me alive, and determined to destroy my character, morals, dignity and reputation, especially as I watch them twist, embellish, and simply make up fact-challenged, fake news, versions of reality just to satisfy the insatiable narcissism of their pack’s alpha male.

    Now officially updating the total number of websites to four (that I know of) on which sudden, unhinged, out-of-the-blue, irrelevant-to-the-conversation-at-hand, ugly public attacks which include threats and still more inaccurate details, have been made on yours truly (convenient that they mention my name and my RWKJ identity, so there’s no doubt who they’re talking about). Unfathomable to me, these long-standing, continuing, unprovoked attacks from the aforementioned shrieking harpies, which indicate their inability to remain civil and coexist peacefully, even in their own little closed circle, in a world which I have the temerity to inhabit along with them. SAD. As Donald Trump might tweet. If he could.

    PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT TO THOSE CONCERNED (because I care): Please try to understand that 1) sticking your neck out and embroiling yourself in a situation that has taken place between two other people of which you are neither–a situation of which you’re completely ignorant and determined to remain so–rarely ends well for you when you’re being led down the garden path by the persons dripping exaggerations, falsehoods, and poison in your ears, and 2) erupting into conversations which are about something completely different, with vicious rants about me, never serves you well and usually ends up with you even more isolated and resentful than you were to start out with. For your own sakes, knock it off, please. You can thank me later.

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