How a Potential Transgender Troll Taught Me a Valuable Lesson
This morning, completely on a whim, I decided to search Gumtree haphazardly to see if there were any interesting acts looking for a bassist. I wasn't being terribly specific. When I entered the 5 letters into the query, I had no clue that I was about to stumble onto something that challenged not only my perceptions of humour, but my discernment as a citizen of the internet.
I scrolled through the typical “LFG” posts and “will gig at parties” adverts until I reached the posts that were looking for other musicians. A few of them were interesting, and I'm particularly fond of female lead singer bands like Metric and Paramore, so when I saw the Ad for a female indie/pop singer my interest piqued. My friend and co-worker, who is a guitarist, is usually my cohort when it comes to any musical expedition. This might be our chance to have a female lead, all we would need is a drummer. It required further research.
I clicked the ad, and wasn't surprised to see that the photograph wouldn't load. Admittedly, I was at work, and it’s not uncommon for the web blocker to filter random content. No matter. I read the ad and was further intrigued. Based off of the read, it sounded like she wanted to play her own music with a few covers, but she had an album on Itunes! She was already involved. I’m not beyond playing originals that aren’t my own. This was still looking promising.
“….she had an album on Itunes!”
Riveted as I carefully imbibed my morning cup of steaming coffee, I had to learn more. I hadn't expected to get this far. This was an off the cuff “I wonder” web search. Eyes, still glued to the ad, I reached out to grab my phone. I went to Google Music and typed her name and album, and a result appeared! I couldn't believe it. She actually had an album. Then the 4G on my phone delivered what my work PC could not, an image.
It was too small, I had to look harder. With bated breath, I enlarged the picture.
Disappointedly, I sat my coffee on my desk. I contemplated for a moment. Why was this album called “Bed”? Did they get me?
“Chase” I shouted to my guitarist co-worker, “Is this a man?” as I held my phone toward his face. He scanned the image, then made eye contact with me unlike any other eye contact we’d had. I could see it in his eyes. Pity. I’d been had. He’d been listening in on my speculate about this whole thing live. From, “Let me look for fun” to “Is this a man?”. He thought I’d been internetted. Did I really accidentally speculate at the thought of being in a band with Caitlyn Jenner? I don’t think a band could handle that much hero.
I refused to accept this. This was too clever. That’s when I realized. There’s music here! Maybe this “person” is very talented. Maybe. This had gone too far to be a hoax. I listened to the song, and heard what could only be described as a nasally man who’d just had three cigarettes and swallowed the ashes singing over a keyboard loop. As the song blared loud enough for my co-workers to hear, I was embittered. I’d been had, publicly. The roller coaster of whim, to prospect, to utter embarrassment had all occurred over the course of about 6 minutes, in front of everyone.
I stopped the song, and sipped my coffee. There is no way someone went this far to troll. It’s just not possible. It’s far too obscure a way to do so. I already had my phone out, and people were already laughing at me, so why not take it a step further. I went to the ad on my phone. It was only then that I realized this whole thing could have been avoided in the first place. I clicked through the pictures on the ad that couldn’t see before on the PC.
How did I let this happen? She(?) didn't even try to hide it. It was right there, on the front damn page. It was my computers fault for not loading the images, this whole thing could have been avoided. This person might be serious. If they are trolling, they might be a genius. If they aren't, I might be a horrible person. Then I realized there were videos on YouTube. This would be it! Surely, if this was a troll, this video would be viral. I went to the video on YouTube.
How was this not the new rick-roll? How is this not the link when you get someone to click something by accident? How had this not ended up on Reddit yet? All of those things could have saved me. Then I realized I was one of the first people to be accosted by this. I, for a moment, was special. I was sitting on something hidden and precious on the internet. I was not a victim, but one of the fortunate few. I was a pioneer. I had discovered new land, even if I didn't want to colonize.
I had an epiphany. A simple truth revealed itself to me this morning. This is what the internet is for. It’s not for talented people or professionals. It’s a place where people with absolutely no talent or contribution can claim noteworthiness or even fame. It’s a pretend for TV for those of us who will never be on real TV. It’s a place where anyone can have an album ready for purchase with no merit or indication towards the talent levels of the individual.
I realized I was looking at Art incarnate. This was meta. This person, who is genuinely confident in sharing what by all standards should be embarrassing, has made me look inside myself and rethink my interpretation of what the internet is. No Rolling Stones Top 100 album has done that for me. Marcie did. No Taylor swift single has ever made me stop and think. Marcie did. And without the glory of the internet, and it’s open door policy, I would have never had a chance to experience this. It made me feel something. It changed my perception. It was Art. I thanked Marcie silently.
Then I finished my coffee.