Sunday, January 18, 2009

Hurt... Is it Live or is it Internet?

Strange title to some I am sure. A little bit reminiscent of that long ago Ella Fitzgerald commercial for memorex tapes. A person had to listen close to see if it was live or taped. As I sit here at 2 a.m., thinking about hurt I have felt off-line and on-line, I thought about questions that I used to see asked in chat rooms that I frequented so much 4 or 5 years ago. I started in a 30's chat-room when I first came on-line. I quickly fell into line with all the other "newbies." There were people from every country in the world at my finger-tips. There was the element of intrigue and secrecy to play with. Never one to understand the element of falsehood, I came in with both barrels, full name and all. I waltzed through the rooms with my charm and smiles and won the hearts of lady after lady. Two or three to talk to was so easy. A very bad place for a man that took the entire world as VERY REAL.
I would see people typing {this was in the days of no "voice chat." Before there was Cheetah-chat and yahoo voice. Those were the days of ICQ and simply typing your thoughts and emotions. People would type "I love you's" and "Meet you here tomorrow night". Words typed in front of me... in my own "PM" box {again before we called them Instant messages they were known as Personal messages} would seem so real to me. People would type how they were so badly hurt and others would type "It's the Internet Stupid... get over it!" Those were words I did not understand. Why was it different? And then the question would pop up again. Is it the same hurt here as in "real life?"
Real life. I would ponder those words and think hard on them. "Can you really be called a cheater if it's on-line?" "Is it really being un-true if it is in cyber-space?" "What harm can a little playing do?" The answers to those questions touches me deeply as I sit here tonight. The reality of this "Internet" is a personal reality for me. The answer to all those questions impacted my life in a huge way. The "just the Internet" statement fell short of truth for me. I almost lost someone that was precious to me for ever because of the "Just Internet." I fell into the life of on-line living. No longer were these people just Internet for me. I woke thinking about the net and my friends and said good-night and kissed ladies and sent them off to their beds every night, while my "real" wife laid in bed, waiting for me. She had no idea how "real" these ladies had become to me. She had no clue that I talked to them in ways meant only to be shared by lovers and husband and wives.
These people were real enough to stir my emotions. Real enough to sway my heart and cause me to want to spend more time with them than with my own family. They were VERY Live and Very real. Cheating was real and tears my beloved cried when I cheated were Very Real. Moving out for a time and almost losing her forever was Real, it was Live! For 20 years, no human contact had ever swayed my emotions nor threatened the sanctuary of our marriage. And then I found the Internet, or perhaps... It found me. Either way, it changed my life forever and caused real tears to flow from the eyes of my beautiful wife and my children. It didn't get more real than that. I didn't have to listen close any more. I didn't have to think about the answer to that question any longer. Was it Live or was it Internet? They are one and the same.
Tears I cry tonight for a hurt that has come to me ARE real and Live. Feelings that cause me to feel sorrow and loneliness are so Live. Voice has been added now and camera's so that the intimacy can grow even deeper are in every home. No longer the "innocent" playing or teasing. The reality of it all comes flooding back to me, here, in the middle of the night or the beginning of the new day, however it is seen. Cyber-life and cyberspace have become the reality of our world now. 31 percent of couples today met on-line. Love affairs that have destroyed marriages are responsible for 26 percent of those break-ups. Children without their mothers or fathers are victims of the Internet life.
Bill Gates, you gave to us technology. You brought the P.C.{personal computer} into our homes. You showed us the fast lane to knowledge and gave simple people the chance to see what the rest of the world saw. And you gave to us infidelity and sneaking around in our own home. You put into every person with a computers hands the ability to hurt others from afar. You opened a door into all of our homes and gave a whole new playground to sickos and petafiles. You brought a whole new meaning to "loving from afar." Is this your legacy or are we simply the victims of our own short-comings.
When you hurt someone on-line with words or actions, remember it's LIVE. When you feel something stirring inside of you as you talk with someone on-line, remember it's LIVE. When the next time you seek fantasy and reality to become one in your world, remember... IT IS LIVE. If you can feel it in "real" life, you can feel it here. Be careful how you touch hearts here. Use the same compassion and respect here as you would if you were face to face with someone. Be kind because you don't know what battle rages on the other side of the screen. But mostly... Always remember one very important fact. IT IS LIVE, It IS Internet. They are one and the same.


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