• Paul Serran

To Slay a Villain

Updated: Nov 16, 2019

You wouldn't believe if I told you how many times a week someone touches my heart with protestations of gratitude the likes of which I only thought deserved by doctors, fire fighters and law enforcement heroes.

You wouldn't believe because it's unbelievable.

If you take a look with dumb lenses, all I do is go online, write, post graphics, and block a lot of shills.

Not exactly "Purple Heart" material, right?

And yet, a lot of people go out of their way to tell me in no uncertain terms how much they value and cherish my work, how they pray for my well being, and they tell me about the beneficial impact that my relentless efforts have had on their lives. I'm constantly awestruck, and statistically moved to tears, like, more than twice a day.

Before my Mom passed, I used to show her some of the things people wrote about her son - and she was delighted, of course, but most of all she was puzzled and even confused that that could be happening so fast. After all, last time she checked, I was a flunky out-of-work writer who played in bands that never went anywhere. And, now, this?

Right out the bat, I attributed it solely to the ancient power of storytelling.

Ever since the dawn of mankind people gathered around the fire, after a day of violence and manual labor, to listen to stories and songs.

It's embedded in our DNA to crave for stories. I always had this gift, an ability that I groomed and developed non-stop throughout all my life. And it's pretty much a lost art.

So, I thought - it's just the stories. The best, most mythical group of stories were handed down to us. A MASSIVE collection like "A Thousand and One Nights".

It's non-fiction, but I had to use all my sci-fi, occultism, mythological and symbolic studies to tackle those gems. But it so happens that this is not the whole reason for people's reaction.

You see, I have this temper. A bad one.

Like my father before me, and his father before him. It's only fair to say that I have spent a good part of my daily mental and emotional energy during my adult life trying to keep this trait of my personality in check. I usually make a good job at that. Usually.

In Twitter, I never cursed in the first 6 or 7 months. Nice try.

The one trigger that never fails to unleash my fury (like my ancestors) is the sight of a villain. Oh, boy. A scoundrel bullying or lying and deceiving someone makes me go berserk. It's the family "curse". And I guarantee you, in 3rd-world Brazil, there is no shortage of that.

As a terrified kid, I always wondered why my father thought his sacred duty to confront every mini-tyrant he encountered in his path.

He paid dearly for this, personally and professionally.

My dad famously pointed the finger right at the nose of the most important Executive in Globo TV Network and told him to go fuck himself in that voice that always made me tremble.

The security escorted my dad out of the premises of the TV station, and - my dad always made sure I remembered that - the security guys were perfectly polite to him and smiled with their eyes, and secretly, they all loved my dad for standing up to that mini-tropical-Harvey-Weinstein.

Cut back to me, decades later, storytelling in Twitter, finding an audience.

Because I am a Brazilian, had a small audience and also never went into posts of the enemy to argue - it's a waste of time and energy - it so happened that I was able to grow my account, initially, with very little harassment.

But I was paying attention on the experience of Thomas Wictor, who was attacked by hundreds at once. I found out he acted like I used to, in fakebook - blocked fast, took the last word for himself, and also was ***vicious*** to the shills, using a brand of humor that scandalized some.

The time came when I finally entered the radar of the enemy.

And the trolls, shills and false friends came with full force. I was very surprised how that did NOT derail me, and actually I derived a lot of pleasure blocking people and saying outrageous things about them in a humorous way that scandalize some.

So there I was again, like my dad, and my Admiral grandfather. A Berserker.

I was sure I was gonna lose a lot of friends and followers for that. How big was my surprise when I found out MANY people loved that I was saying what needed to be said, and was keeping the conversation in my posts troll-free. WOW.

That led to a deeper, even more moving and startling realization: every one of my friends, here, loved me the way I was: unedited, no pulling punches and mincing words.

So I did that: treated the friends like the Kings and Queens that they are, respected everyone who respected themselves, and BROUGHT HELL to the unwelcome.

The problem is: NOT EVERY VILLAIN I found was on the other side. Quite a few were (and are) embedded in our own operation.

NOW, how do I deal with that?

I decided to nuke the most obvious ones, and decided also that I was not gonna engage the more popular, more cunning ones - I felt the damage would be too extensive. So, this accounts I blocked, ignored, and kept people from hassling me with their tainted content.

Thursday some such moron was having a meltdown for some ridiculous reason, and logged on a fake account to bother me into promoting him - who I loathe and despise, as he knows. So I went ballistic against him, his fake accounts, his friends, his friends' fake accounts, the shills, bots, trolls and also some nice uninformed people caught in the fray.

I spent the whole day fighting, some 80 accounts were blocked, but, then, this came up - from one of the best writers and human beings in this platform.

This moved me in such a way! It made me stop, go to the top of my building and look around at the mountains, and think about my dad, my grandfather.

Such a profound emotion. It struck a chord, and I noticed how this bad trait of my personality found a way to express itself in a constructive way, was sublimated into a blessed warrior's wrath.

I came back to Twitter, and you wouldn't believe if I told you how many protestations of gratitude I found waiting for me, the likes of which I only thought deserved by doctors, fire fighters and law enforcement heroes.

You wouldn't believe because it's unbelievable.

Rio de Janeiro, November 2nd, 2019.

Paul Serran

© 2019 BY PAUL SERRAN - Rio de Janeiro / Brazil