Friday, August 10, 2012

How To Be A Bigshot

This essay is a satirical look at bulletin boards, forums and the people who populate them. It is a work of fiction and is intended to be humorous. All characters appearing in this essay are fictitious and any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.

So, you're fat, bald and outta shape, and the hardest thing you've ever climbed is a one pitch sport route or grade III ice climb (which you didn't lead). Your skiing career is similarly lackluster - lots of resort skiing, and even some slack country, but you've never done a traverse, and the highlight of your ski career is bumbling your way up some easy ski peak. You've got few friends, fewer climbing and skiing partners, you've squandered any minor talent you did have, and you're stuck in a dead end job with a bunch of other losers. In short, your life is a long list of shoulda, coulda, woulda. And yet, you want to be a bigshot.

Or, maybe you're tall, skinny, have plenty of hair, you train a little bit, and you think you're training hard, but, really you're as weak as tepid bathwater, and an 86 year old Crossfitter would kick your butt. You are proud of being the strongest person in your group, but my grandmother, who never climbed or skied, and has been dead these past 30 years is stronger than the strongest person in your group (and it ain't you, dude). You suffer from such terminal nervousness that the hardest thing you've ever led is 5.6 on bolts, every two metres, and even then you were scared shitless. But you too want to be a bigshot.

The easiest place to be a bigshot is on an Internet bulletin board, preferably one that is designed, run and populated by people in a place distant to your own area. If you live in the east, join one in the west, or, if you live in the Intermountain ranges, join one from the Coast Ranges. What you don't want to do is join a local bulletin board where people will actually try to hook up with you and go out climbing and skiing. This must be avoided at all costs, as, these good folk will find out exactly what a loser you are.

The first thing you need to do on your chosen bulletin board is work out the hierarchy. You are looking for people who are as useless as you and, who are also (like you), pretending to be something they are not. Befriend these people. A judicious mix of bullying and sycophancy will win them over to your side. Don't worry, it won't be too hard. These people are just like you - weak, frustrated, angry, short on brains, but long on invective - they will recognize you for what you are and be only to happy to hitch their ego to yours.

You also need to work out who is really out there doing stuff - you know, the climbing and skiing that you pretend you do, but don't. As sure as Alberta votes Conservative, these people will be able to see through all your bullshit and will recognize you for what you are - an odious little pissant. Attack these people ruthlessly. Ageism, sexism, racism, any other ism you can think of is your friend here. The people who are really out doing stuff, especially if they are older than you or of a different gender, present twice the threat to your ego as someone who is your own age or gender. Hold nothing back. Again, don't be afraid, this is not nearly as threatening as giving it all you've got when you're out skiing or climbing. On a bulletin board, you can give it all you've got without facing any real fear of failure, and, all from the comfort of your parent's basement. You need never break a sweat, take a fall, or break a trail, you can concentrate on the real work of breaking people.

Have no morals. Don't worry about exaggerating or even out right lying about what you've done. So, you've never climbed a multi-pitch alpine route or built a multi-directional gear anchor, fake it. Ski 50 days a year, all of them at a resort, make it a 100, or better yet, 130, and all in the backcountry. These people are all so far away they'll never ski with you and realize that, far from being the next Greg Hill, you can barely drag your sorry arse up a short hill without getting winded. Lack of any kind of experience, such as mountaineering (real mountaineering not snow slogs or scrambles), multi-pitch climbing, multi-day ski traverses, climbing or skiing new routes, is not a reason to refrain from talking big. In fact, it's a reason to talk even bigger. Never climbed in the US, Mexico, Europe, in fact, never been out of your own backyard, again, no need to admit this shortcoming. A Google search will tell you all you need to know. Think big, talk big, just don't go big.

If, after all the bullshit, insults, lies, invective, and vituperative drivel you've spewed forth, the unthinkable happens and you get banned, don't stay away. Come back. The fact that these people don't like you and don't want you around is irrelevant. You have work to do here. You're a big shot. Create one, two, even three sock-puppets and keep that bullshit going. Don't waste any of your precious mental acuity (had to look that one up didn't ya?) on creating an alter-ego that is hard to recognize. After all, you're smarter than all the other people on the bulletin board aren't you - or are you?

Always have the last word. Even better, make the last word another insult. Preferably, use insults that actually reflect truthfully on your own character. Are you a liar, a cheat, a hypocrite, if so, these should be your insults of choice. Projecting your own insecurities on other people is a sure way to deflect any need for critical appraisal of your own character.

And finally, never underestimate the staying power of continuing to argue long after everyone else has left the discussion. So what if the last ten replies in the thread are all yours. After all, the great mountains of the world were eroded down to minor sand dunes by a steady drip, drip, drip, just like your personality. 

Motivation poster entertaining hilarity

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