Troll

Roscoe Delahunt is a troll; there seems little doubt of that. For years, he has surfed the Internet, looking for someone’s parade to rain on, and he has rarely lacked people to torment. In the heady days before the World Wide Web, when Usenet was the primary vehicle for Internet discourse, Roscoe, starting as an undergraduate at Case Western, established himself as the supreme flame lord, cross-posting much off-topic drivel to numerous inappropriate news groups. When social media became all the rage in the late aughts, Roscoe shifted gears and began to consider himself a pioneer in an emerging area of communication, anti-social media.

His favorite targets are those who post sappy memes on Facebook. When someone posted a graphic of two people holding hands, with the caption, “Re-post if you agree that your wife is your best friend in the entire world,” Roscoe posted back, “I don’t. My wife’s a blood-sucking harpy who tricked me into marrying her by saying she was pregnant.” When someone posted a photo of his child, Roscoe commented, “That kid doesn’t look anything like you. Could you show us a photo of the UPS guy for comparison?” He’s been warned several times, and had his posting privileges on Facebook suspended twice, which usually doesn’t worry him, since he has three different accounts he uses, one under a slightly adulterated version of his real name; one as “Timmy” an eighteen-year-old special needs student from Baltimore; and one as “Dilly Hunt” a co-ed from Los Angeles. The photo for Dilly’s account is of some hot-looking teenager Roscoe spotted on Instagram, and it always elicits interesting responses from the male audience whenever Dilly posts one of her grammatically challenged missives, such as, “i got me news kitten she defiantly cut i call here misty” with a generic photo of a cat.

On Usenet in the 90s, Roscoe was known as Atomic Punk, which is now the name of his blog, where he rails against “all the things stupid people do that piss me off” and he has an extensive list, not to mention over four thousand followers, who hang on his every word. No topic is off-limits to “the Punk” and he gladly skewers religion, politics, music, films, television, and the cult of celebrity, posting anywhere from a few terse lines, to several hundred words about once every two to four hours, around the clock. Whenever Roscoe’s on vacation, he sometimes lets his cranky seventy-year-old neighbor post in his stead, and his readers are often perplexed by the sudden shift in focus from insightful commentary on contemporary society, to complaining about the senior discount at Denny’s, and “those damn Brewsters upstairs”.

As infamous as Roscoe is online, in real life, he’s hardly noticeable at all. Somewhat short, very overweight, with thick glasses, and often looking like he slept in his clothes, probably because he had, Roscoe appears to those who see him out and about as someone who probably shouldn’t be left alone with children. He works as a customer support technician for an Atlanta computer firm, walking technologically-challenged people through installing software, or trouble shooting hardware problems, on systems way more advanced than their level of technical knowledge warrants. His experience with clients does little to elevate his opinion of the human race. On the phone, however, he’s a comforting presence, soothing frazzled nerves, enduring numerous apologies for “wasting your time” and generally making life slightly more bearable for people totally befuddled by the modern computing landscape. He works out of his home, and divides his time between offering solace to some panicked college student whose printer “just stopped working”; or some retired grandmother, who can’t seem to upload photos of her family from her iPhone to Twitter; or a harried executive, whose laptop just ate the PowerPoint presentation he has to deliver in twenty minutes. When he’s not on the phone with a client, Roscoe spends his time surfing cable television for stories about sharks.

Despite his socially unacceptable appearance, and enduring disgust for almost everyone he knows, Roscoe does have a girlfriend, Aileen, who he’s been seeing for about four years, after meeting her at Dragon*Con. When Roscoe and Aileen were first talking about getting married, she wanted to sit down with him and disclose all their previous sexual encounters. She had a detailed list. Roscoe strenuously objected. Instead, he told her they should just go to the doctor and get some tests done, and if everything checked out okay, they could proceed from there. In fact, Roscoe hasn’t had nearly as many previous relationships as Aileen has claimed she’s had, and he really doesn’t want her to know, nor does he wish to hear her wax nostalgic about some guy she met in a bar in college. Despite the discussions, neither seems in much of a hurry to settle down, which suits Roscoe, who’s not sure he wants someone to have unlimited access to his private life. He doesn’t really have much to hide, and that’s what worries him the most.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s