"'See, there were these two guys in a lunatic asylum... And one night, one night they decide they don't like living in an asylum any more. They decide they're going to escape! So, like, they get up onto the roof, and there, just across this narrow gap, they see the rooftops of the town, stretching away in the moon light... stretching away to freedom. Now, the first guy, he jumps right across with no problem. But his friend, his friend did not dare make the leap. Y'see... Y'see, he's afraid of falling. So then, the first guy has an idea... He says 'Hey! I have my flashlight with me! I'll shine it across the gap between the buildings. You can walk along the beam and join me!' B-but the second guy just shakes his head. He suh-says... He says 'Wh-what do you think I am? Crazy? You'd turn it off when I was half way across!'" - The Joker, Batman: The Killing Joke, 1988
Some while back, I took to online trolling in the most unavoidably hilarious way possible: by posting a (fake) ad selling used but clean underwear. Let's get a few things straight:
1. I don't actually sell dirty-but-clean underwear
2. I did this because I wanted to see how strictly (if at all) Facebook's Marketplace screens their sales.
Spoiler alert: Facebook doesn't bother with screening for dirty underwear. In fact, I think it's so unique an item, it actually rises to the top of the cream, so to speak. Also, it is one hot commodity. I put the ad up several months ago, almost a year ago, and that one ad has had more shelf life than any real ad I posted for my actual car and couch around the same time. You see, I was trying to figure out if the algorithm sank my request for sale of my couch because there are just so many couches always for sale on the marketplace. I had some other things on the marketplace for sale, too, though we'll stick to the couch as it basically fits all of the issues I've had with selling online through Facebook.
I really did this to see how much attention I could draw to a wholly unique and, in my opinion, gross item, and see how it all unfolded. I'm not one to troll people in the traditional sense. I don't like to make fun of someone's features or tell them they're stupid for feeling a certain way about a topic, though I have my moments where my prejudices and own beliefs supersede my ability to be a rational and caring adult. I really wanted to unearth some of the more crusty types of people who walk among me in my local neighborhood, and boy, did I get plenty of attention! Now, I'm not saying the fake underwear became a hot item, nor am I saying it garnered a lot of attention. It didn't get that much attention, no, but the ad itself has never needed to be reupped or reshared in the marketplace for it to continually get requests for purchase.
Now, let's talk about those requests, the meat of this tantalizing little tale, shall we? The conversation starts as standard affair. Nobody wants to commit to asking in their own words, so I usually get the "Is this item still available" button press as a first response. No one wants to fully commit to needing used underwears, I suppose. Where it gets fun is in the replies. Oh, yes, those are indeed fun. I've taken liberties with my replies. I told one panty patron he had just missed the sale because I began wearing the underwear again, and there was no way I'd be taking them off anytime in the near future to sell to him.
Another man insisted I remove them immediately and send them to him, asap. I politely refused, telling him my dryer was broken, and I'd be remiss to send him damp underwear in the fear it would mold during the time it was being mailed. I said I only sold the freshest dirty underwear, and under no circumstances would I be selling moldy drawers that could potentially taint my reputation. I should probably make it a habit to post this kind of low-level trolling under an account not so distinctly "me", but too late, laughs have been had. These stories make for fantastic beer conversations, and people want to know the driving force behind why I troll people through the marketplace.
A great part of it is getting great satisfaction out of making the 99% of people laugh who see the ad and know it's fake, and the conversation I have with the 1% who think it's genuinely a good place to get their jollies off through the fetish they find most attractive. Sure, it IS creepy they want my underwear, or what they perceive to be my underwear. It's also creepy that I "sell" it. I get the totality of the narrative. I never explicitly claim the theoretical underwear as my own. I just merely sell it. I'm sure there's a metaphor somewhere in there (crack dealers).
Look, I live to laugh. I subscribe to Mel Brooks' line of thinking regarding the existential "when is a joke too much" question. A joke is too much when I don't feel comfortable telling it, or when it makes my heart hurt, or I know it's offending people I identify with on some moral and ethical level. I think all jokes are permissible, though you will find many I will never make because I don't think it's my place to make them, or it affects me emotionally in a way that makes me feel like less of a person. If you've made it this far into the writing and you hate me because of my stance on what I find funny, understand it does and doesn't matter what you think. Let me sell the fake dirty underwear. We're all a little illogical, at times. And, try as we may to make sense of beams of light across a long gap being physically impossible to cross, sometimes we try to walk across, anyway.