Someone on the internet told me I have a “troll complex.” I don’t know what that means.

I had a troll complex once. I thought it would be a fun and interesting conversation starter at parties, kind of like having an ant farm. I imagined swanky events where men with highballs would ask me, casually, “So, do you have any pets?” and I could say, “Yes, actually. I have a troll complex.” They’d say “Fascinating! I never met a woman with a troll complex! Tell me more,” and it would be like that scene in Firefly where Kaylee brings all the boys to the yard with her engine talk.

I found a troll complex kit, complete with troll starter growth packets, on a shady website, but I could buy it with Dogecoin. Sold! I set up my troll complex and followed the directions, mixing urine and bottom shelf vodka with the growth medium, according to directions. After a few days with no sign of trolls, I started to think I’d been scammed, but a couple days later they hatched. Baby trolls with colorful tufts of hair and eyes squinted against the light of the green LEDs that illuminated the troll complex.

At first the trolls were playful and their naughty antics had a child-like purity. As they grew, they lost their charming innocence and turned barbed and malicious, but I still loved them the way you love the cat your kitten becomes.

My neighbors, alas, did not feel the same.

It began with passive aggressive notes in my mailbox and escalated to a formal complaint. Finally the co-op’s board decreed I had to get rid of them. They even put up a sign with a picture of a troll and a circle with a line through it in the lobby. (Terribly unfair, because I know the people on two have neckbeard that pees in the elevator sometimes, and they’re allowed to keep it! How’s a troll complex any worse?!!!)

First I put an ad on Craigslist offering a mature troll complex free to a good home but the only reply I got was from a guy who wanted to use them as “intimacy aids” in place of gerbils. I called the animal shelter but they don’t take trolls, though they did give me the number for a rescue society in Norway. I guess trolls are endangered there? The rescue society only rehabilitated wild trolls for release back into their environment, it didn’t take the kind you order off dodgy web sites.

I knew if I didn’t get rid of my troll complex pretty soon, there was going to be another meeting with the board and they’d probably evict me. Late one night I put the whole troll complex in the basket of my bicycle (someone spray painted “troll lover” on it — nice neighbors, huh?) and rode down to the utility box by the highway where the telecoms have a fiber juncture. I let the trolls go beside it. They stood, small and vulnerable, on the loose gravel beside the bike path, dazed by their new freedom. My heart was breaking, but I knew I had to stay strong. I stamped my feet and shouted, “You guise r amazeballs! ILU! BFF! <3 <3 <3!” and they scattered for cover in fear and confusion.

I still miss my troll complex: Hatey & Stalky & Flamey & Pervy & Ragey & Drunky & Snarky & Gay Basher. I hope those little guys made it into the fiber box and they’re somewhere out there in the wild internet doin’ what trolls do.

I got my first hate mail.

It’s been such a long time coming, and part of me is afraid it’s one of you guys taking pity on my long spell of haterlessness. While I appreciate the kindness, somehow it just wouldn’t mean as much if there’s not real bile behind it.

Date: Mon, 24 Feb 2014 05:07:25 -0800 (PST)  
From: Leslie [redacted] <jxr*******r@yahoo>  
Subject: Your an idiot  
To: The Amazing Frankie (Guise! That's me! :)  

I saw you posting on Authonomy. God you are such an ass hole... I'm sure 
before you became a famous jag off, you were a real wanker... 


Leslie [redacted]
[redacted]
Commieland

Admittedly, it’s not the greatest hate mail ever. It doesn’t even fulfill my basic requirements.

Leslie gets full points for irregular spelling and grammar. This is her strong suit as a hater, made ironic by the fact she discovered my loathesomeness on a writing site. She even managed to pull a classic your/you’re error in the subject line. Good work, Leslie!

I’m also going to credit her with a failure to separate fantasy from reality on the basis of “before you became [a] famous” — implying that I am now famous. I’m pretty sure this fame exists only in Leslie’s head. Otherwise, have your people call my people. We’ll lunch.

And, since I’m feeling charitable, I’ll giver her points for emailing under the influence, because with grammar like that, drunk until proven sober.

Leslie falls down when it comes to communicating to me that she sees me as the living embodiment of everything that is wrong in the world today—she might feel that way, but if so, she did a poor job of conveying the depths of her disgust for everything I am and represent. I understand I’m an “ass hole”, but Leslie doesn’t make me feel like the “Great Grand-daddy Goatse of all ass holes.”

Leslie’s vocabulary also signifies a lack of imagination. “Ass hole” and “wanker” are garden variety insults. I’m not asking for Shakespeare here, but some evidence of creativity would be nice. Overall, I felt like Leslie was just dialing it in, and she didn’t even bother to wish that I’d die in a fire or get hit by a bus.

Finally, I suspect Leslie’s a bit lazy. I had to set aside my policy of not replying to haters via email to request clarification on which post made me an “ass hole” in Leslie’s eyes. That information should’ve been included by default.

Date: Mon, 24 Feb 2014 15:10:20 +0100
From: The Amazing Frankie (Yep, me again!)
To: Leslie in Commieland <jxr*******r@yahoo.com>
Subject: Re: Your an idiot

Dear Leslie,

I don't think I can adequately convey how much your hate mail means to
me, but I have to confess, I'm not sure which post you are referring to.
Could you clarify?

Not that I'm denying I'm an asshole, I'm just so frequently an asshole
that you could be referring to any number of things, and when someone
takes the time out of their busy day to inform me of my character flaws,
I like to be able to fully appreciate the gesture.

Looking forward to your response.

Love,
Frankie

Overall, I give Leslie a weak 3/5 for this effort, which is, frankly, charitable. I’m also willing to look at further work, after all, it’s not like the hate mail is pouring in these days.

Advert: Hater Required

It has come to my attention that anyone who is anyone has a hater. 

My friends all swap stories of their haters, how they acquired them and how often they are hated. They pull creased and folded email printouts of their favorites from their wallets and pass them proudly, comparing whose hater is more rabid, more frothing, whose can simultaneously display the more tenuous grasp of reality and the more intricate understanding of Anglo-Saxonisms.

I am left in the cold when these discussions begin. Bereft and haterless, I can only look on with envy while my more hatable friends and acquaintances discuss relative levels of fanatic vitriol and tally up the exclamation points. Thus I am in the market for a hater of my own. 

To be my hater requires determination and persistence. I am not easily fazed and I am oblivious to all but the most forthright and emphatic hostility. 

I recognize that acknowledgement is the primary reward of haterdom and that my  blasé, devil-may-care attitude makes me a less attractive target for your hate. To counteract my inherent insouciance, I promise that I, as your object of abomination, will blog about the scorn and derision you heap upon me, at minimum, on a semiannual basis. I will also tweet what I consider the most creative insult from your emails each month.* (Please consider the limitations of the medium and keep your most quotable jibes to under 120 characters.)

Additional requirements: 

  • must have difficulty separating fantasy from reality
  • must be prone to emailing while drunk (under the influence of other
    substances is also acceptable)
  • must be able to see me as the living embodiment of everything that is
    wrong in the world today
  • must have colorful vocabulary and be able to vividly describe
    perpetrations of violence against my person

  • irregular spelling and grammar a bonus.

If you need some help getting started, these are some of the most easily hatable things about me: I am an atheist, I am a vegetarian, I am a woman, and I have had an abortion.

Please make your application in the form of samples sent to my email address: frankie[@]ninjatoaster.com.

You may also submit hate mail via Tumblr. In the event that it is necessary to decide between equally qualified candidates, the balance is in favor of applications made by email. Initiative is an important quality in a hater and copying and pasting my email address is more work than clicking a link.

As I make it policy never to respond directly to abusive or threatening communications, I will notify my new hater of a successful application via blog posting. You will know who you are.

Happy hating!

[*] Please be aware that this means any hateful communication you send me is subject to public posting, discussion, and even ridicule, in part or in full.