Too Much Time on Their Hands

Hurm. Didn’t mean for yesterday’s post to turn into a mini-rant, but it did. Which leads to an analysis of why it did. What I meant to be an amusing anecdote became a full-blown complaint, and you know who I blame? Internet comments.

To put it in purely geek terms, conversations are the internet comments you can’t ignore, and you should  always ignore internet comments. Yet, like that extremely vocal argument taking place across the street, you just can’t resist glancing over, can you? Taking just one peek. Maybe something interesting will happen; but no, like comments threads, it is usually merely tawdry and depressing.

If you want your nose rubbed in exactly how stupid, crass and uninspiring the bulk of the human race can be, all you need to do is look underneath any YouTube video. The most saintly among us would be rationalizing euthanasia within five comments.

To digress slightly – yeah, I know, big surprise – I made the mistake a few times of clicking “Everyone Near You” on UberTwitter, my Crackberry’s Twitter app, and, to quote Goering, that’s when I reach for my revolver. Using Trending Topics is equally horrifying. I think it was Kevin Church who had the bright idea to change the Trending Topic locale to Brazil – at least now I can’t understand them, and they can’t hurt me.

Now. To get back to what I was bloviating about: A few months ago, I was looking at some Internet video, or possibly some incredibly complex Lego creation, or… well, it wasn’t this video, but it was something like it:

I think you can imagine what the comments ran to, and I am going to admit that I have been guilty of trotting this one out far too often: “Somebody had way too much time on their hands.”

The difference is – and here is one of those instances when, like the argument across the street, I looked and something interesting did happen – this time somebody had a good rejoinder, to the effect of “Why do people say things like that, and always when something creative is involved?”

And they’re right. Alex Varanese didn’t do that animation in just a few minutes. It took time, and the patience of a thousand monks. Were I my former, relentlessly negative self, I would opine that a better reply would be, “That’s right, he had time on his hands, and he didn’t use it watching American Idol or sitting on his fat ass staring at a computer monitor and taking pointless evil potshots under cover of anonymity like you, you worthless piece of—

Well, as I say, I’m not like that anymore (though I can certainly fantasize about it. Just like I fantasize tracking every idiot down on “Everyone Near You” and smashing their smartphones to dust with a ballpeen hammer. I’m not that guy anymore). But that one comment, that was truth.  Every time I had said “Somebody had way too much time on their hands,” I was probably motivated by jealousy, in one way or another. And it was just plain wrong to be so dismissive of someone else’s work, to trivialize it as something some idiot did while they were bored.

So I’ve been working to remove that phrase from my vocabulary, and for what it’s worth, I think that’s where my sturm and my drang over “I gave up on that <arbitrary amount of time> ago” came from yesterday.

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