Dateline: the day after Yom Kippur, 2016
Last night, as the fast ended, I sat with my cup of tea and a slice of Elite Confectionery’s finest honey cake, and perused Facebook — all of which are collectively, I believe, the official modern day remedy for post-fast headache and stomach rumblings.
Imagine my horror when i discovered in my feed that someone who I once knew at school had taken my pre-Yom Kippur blessing, the words that I had elegantly crafted myself for the specific purpose of communicating with my many friends and relatives, and plagiarised them in their entirety as his own. No credit. No sharing. Theft, pure and simple.
I was (almost) speechless by this act of sheer impudence. The person in question and I had never been close — high school is full of cliques, and we were neither of us ever in the popular kids’ crowd, but we were also not in similar social groups. But we knew each other. All in all, cliques aside, it was quite a friendly atmosphere for a high school, particularly in the final two years. So I didn’t know him well, and from a distance had thought of him as nice enough, mostly harmless and a bit weasley-looking.
Apparently, “weasley” just about describes it. Word for word, he lifted what I said. Word for fucking word. Not a word of apology, remorse or regret. Grand theft status.
I was (am) absolutely livid. Incandescent with rage, even. And yet, the reaming that he deserves will never happen. I just spent 25 hours in self-reflection and personal prayer, thinking of how I could be a better person. While the temptation to explode all over his Facebook page in lethal writer mode, with words that would cause him to rethink his very existence, was enormously strong, I curbed myself and blocked him instead. It’s not that I said nothing — discretion may be the better part of valour, but there’s a limit to how zen and spiritual I can be when I’m riled. When I saw it, I straightaway commented about how I **forgave him for stealing my words without permission or say-so**, and how **giving credit would have been the right thing to do**. The little shit de-friended me on the spot, which further fuels the “weasel” hypothesis.
I use words in my daily life as my tools and props. Words are what allow me to express myself in my personal life, and are also the very things that enable me to make a living. I’m blessed to have always had this ability with language — one of my earliest memories was writing out my frustration at my mother by viciously criticizing a dress of hers. I never showed it to her, but it eased the tangled fury in my head and I could breathe again. I was six years old.
I choose to use my power for good, rather than to sully my talent with the blood of this pathetic individual. And there would be bloodshed, make no mistake. If I chose to tear him apart using my keyboard as a weapon, be very sure that I would. I choose not to, because I’m better than him. I shall let the higher authorities do their worst with him (Facebook? Ha!) and I have prevented him from ever seeing another word that I publish.
The theft of intellectual property leaves a person feeling as violated and laid bare as a physical robbery. This may even be worse, since physical items can be replaced. Yet, his conscience is his business, and for him to reconcile with her Ladyship god almighty as he sees fit. He’s clearly a sad little person with low self esteem, and the inability to own his own shit. Poor poor him.