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People actually troll when on the toilet... Picture: Stock
People actually troll when on the toilet... Picture: Stock

Trevor Laffan: People are very easily outraged, they’re even trolling from the loo

IT can be a difficult journey at times as we try to navigate our way through the daily stresses and strains of modern living.

Just surviving is tough enough, so we shouldn’t be trying to make things more complicated than they already are.

But that’s exactly what we do sometimes. We let small stuff get under our skin and spend too much time getting stressed out about insignificant issues, like what other people are thinking or saying about us.

There’s no shortage of people who are completely intolerant and love to blow things out of proportion because they’ve been offended. Offended to the point of becoming completely outraged.

Just trying to make a point on social media these days can get you into all kinds of bother. You can easily end up in a war of words with complete strangers, suffering the most horrendous and abusive comments that often descend into pure vulgarity. Trolls appear at the drop of a hat to attack and spread their venom and it doesn’t take much to get them going.

I heard a discussion on the radio the lead up to Christmas. There was a panel involved and they were talking about how ‘Are you all set for Christmas?’ is one of the most often asked questions at this time of the year. Fair enough, it probably is.

A lady on the panel became very animated on the subject and said she gets very annoyed when people ask her if she’s all set for Christmas? She said her husband makes the dinner and that this particular question might be more appropriate for him. She was offended, and she was deadly serious.

I reckon I have often asked people that question myself and I have been asked it thousands of times too, but I have never taken any notice of it. It’s just like saying hello or passing a comment on the weather.

We often say these things to start a conversation or as a greeting. If I ask you if you are all set for Christmas, it’s not because I really care whether you are or not. I don’t expect you to give me a blow by blow account of how your Christmas preparations are coming along. I don’t want to hear about it because I couldn’t care less. I’m just trying to be polite.

I don’t understand what is so offensive about the question though. There is no hidden meaning in it. I’m not secretly accusing you of being a bad parent, a lousy cook or a bad organiser. I’m not taking notes to compare you with others and I’m not making a list of the ‘World’s worst people who are not all set for Christmas.’

But they’re not alone. There are others who have a problem with the greeting, “Merry Christmas” or “Happy Easter” and would prefer us to say, “Happy Holidays” instead. Quite when, where or why that became a problem and started offending our sensitive nature I’m not sure, but Donald Trump is taking credit for tackling the issue. President Trump took to Twitter to inform us that he has led the charge for people to say the words “Merry Christmas” again, and he’s taking credit for its revival.

“People are proud to be saying Merry Christmas again. I am proud to have led the charge against the assault of our cherished and beautiful phrase. MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!!!” he said.

I wasn’t aware that we had stopped saying “Happy Christmas” or that it had fallen out of favour. I hear it being used everywhere during this festive season, so maybe it’s just that the “Let’s ban Merry Christmas” campaign hasn’t reached this side of the Atlantic just yet.

We were a lot more tolerant of opposing views and beliefs one time, but those days would appear to be gone. I was abused online about a piece I had posted on the Internet and the guy wasn’t just unhappy with me, or merely annoyed, he was outraged.

I could sense his anger and I suspect that if he knew where I was living, I might have found the head of a dead horse in my bed. Another reader challenged him and told him that his comment didn’t make any sense. Then he admitted that he hadn’t read the article but made his mind up based on the headline only. So, even though he had no idea what he was talking about, it didn’t stop him blowing his top.

That’s the kind of nonsense we’re up against and it’s why we shouldn’t take too much notice of it. But a lot of people do take this stuff to heart and in some cases, it can push them over the edge. Youngsters, particularly, take it personally and find it difficult to deal with.

There will always be those who like to get noticed. They’ll moan for the sake of it or because they just want to get some attention. It can be done easily now through Twitter, Facebook, Instagram etc. or they can just phone Joe.

In the old days the outraged would have had to approach you in person to say their piece and it’s a bit more difficult to have-a-go when you’re looking someone in the eye. In the pre-Internet era, they’d have to write a letter, buy a stamp and go to a post box and by the time they had all that done, they’d have forgotten what the problem was.

So maybe the reason for the outrage is simply because we have the means to express it instantly with little effort.

I saw a comment somewhere recently that said it was worth keeping in mind that most of the comments about you are made by people sitting on the toilet. That kind of says it all really.