Saturday, March 20, 2010


There was another letter in my private mailbox on the social networking site from this freakish guy I didn’t even know that friended me awhile back. I accepted the connection, because I saw that we had a friend in common, turned out she didn’t really know him either. They had met for two minutes at some writer’s party, the very next day he found her on the site. He was contributing short novellas to her comment threads, two things came through in his writings: a deep sense of artistic self-pity, and an inordinate desire to make someone, anyone his girlfriend. After a couple of months of pounce-responding to every one of her status updates within seconds of posting, Randy hit the delete button on my friend. She had done what any sane woman would do in response to a stranger leaving paragraphs of deep thoughts where only pithy clever ones belong – she ignored him. Then one day while enjoying the calm and balance of her social networking page, she realized Randy was gone. But he resurfaced on my page.

I had taken the same ignoring tact with the guy. Randy had been pounce-responding on my status updates. If I posted, “Boy, this is one beautiful day!” He would respond, “Y’know, Claudia, I too think this is a beautiful day, isn’t it strange how we were thinking the exact thing at almost the same moment?” He was really attached to “isn’t that uncanny” responses. “We’re on the same page” paragraphs, although we’d never met. It was annoying and kind of scary. He was implying that he knew me, his responses had a certain – I’m watching you through one of your windows and I may not be able to tell you the exact color of your nightie but you sure as hell can tell I want to rifle through your panty drawer and write poetry about it – quality. After ignoring days and days of pounce-responding he ratcheted it up a bit and sent me a private letter.

The heading read: Do you know Kati Johnson? “What the fuck is this,” I thought. I didn’t know Randy Margiotti, I sure as fuck didn’t know who the fuck he was talking about. On the social networking site, people often knew friends of friends, but I knew that Randy’s friends were not really his friends. They were women that he had randomly “picked up” on the social networking site. On one of his posts he wrote: “I’d really really like to meet Janet, Barbara, Gwyneth, Jocelyn, Claudia, Rebecca, and Joan.” It was almost a third of the women on his friends list. I wondered if he actually really KNEW knew any of them.

His note read, “Do you know Kati Johnson. If so, do you know if she’s OK??” I had had it with this guy. Apparently, Kati Johnson was one of his social networking site girl”friends”. One day, she had disappeared from his list. She had no doubt been the object of his pounce-responding affections and taken the appropriate course of action. I only knew this because Randy had posted an All Caps Bulletin asking all of his girl”friends” if they knew her, and what had become of her – and of course no one did, as he had randomly picked up all these strange women that had no connection to him or to one another. Although everyone offered words of comfort, “I’m sure she’s OK, maybe she just needed a break,” stuff like that – no one had the heart to say, “Kati no doubt suspected that you are a class A stalker, and now your ‘Do you know Kati Johnson?? all caps status update elevates it to felony status.” He never got his answer, but like all good stalkers could not let it go ¬– he took his investigation underground, questioning all of us privately in our mailboxes one by one.

I wanted him to go away. But I didn’t want to de-friend him, look what had become of Kati Johnson, she was now the object of an All Caps Bulletin! Besides, if he ever figured it out that women were de-friending him in droves, it could possibly drive him to taking his life, another popular status update of his that alternated between postings of Morrissey lyrics, and other popular sad sack themes made famous by pop musicians, American playwrights, and Russian novelists. He would also sprinkle in his own personal writings designed to convince all of us ladies what great boyfriend material he would make, such as, “Love is the only thing I am good at!” It struck the perfect balance of self-congratulatory and self-pitying – it became Randy’s trademark. His “things I will never do” top hits harkened the same notes, “I will never have a one night stand, I will never have sex with anyone on the same day we meet, I will never have sexual passion without saying I love you,” this was classic Randy. His status updates, or his “desperate cries for attention” as my friend Melissa called them, always begged the response in the comment thread, “Oh, Randy, you make all other men seem like common animals,” or, “Randy, you’re so sensitive, why can’t all men be more like you!” To which he would respond with some poignant, sad sack response in a last stitch effort to keep the thread going or else he would have to hit the typewriter again, or Edith Piaf’s Saddest Hits in order to come up with more provocative status update fodder in the next 20 minutes.

Randy had become a problem, this wasn’t the first private letter I had received from the little known poet who I literally didn’t know. I wrote a blogpost about a girlfriend of an ex of mine who I had pissed off by writing a lighthearted piece around her questionable character and spelling abilities, she had told my ex that she was hell bent on dragging me into court. I joked about her threat in a status update – which caught Randy’s eye. He pounce-commented that he too had gone through the same exact experience. I was wondering if it was a trick, he was given to those “isn’t it uncanny how we’re exactly alike” comments. But he soon clarified via private mail. There had been a lawsuit over a “libelous” blogpost. “Wow,” he had me going for a second, thinking I had underestimated him, the guy had it in him to write content that went before judges. Turns out, he was the one that filed the suit towards an ex GF that was writing about him. The blogger girlfriend said that he was unbalanced, dangerous, and should be avoided. She was so clear on that point that he was provably unbalanced and to be avoided that she felt confident and within the law to use his real name! But the judge ruled otherwise and Randy won. He won one dollar. And she had to take her blogpost down. He had actually never received the dollar from her and was still holding a grudge about it. That’s the thing about unbalanced dangerous people – they hold grudges and sometimes quote Morrissey on their social networking pages.

I’ve had a gun held to my head in college, had to crazy man chase me into the woods as a teen, and never felt an ounce of fear, yet the thought of de-friending Randy Margiotti scared the crap out of me.

So I let time take it’s course, I ignored his pounce-commenting and it finally ceased. I ignored his “Do you know Kati Johnson??” email, and he finally let it and her go. I still would get his – suicide threat – depressing melting snow photography – I have never made love with a girl who’s middle name I didn’t know – status updates with great regularity, until today. Randy was nowhere in sight, and nowhere on the site. I did a search, his name did not come up on my friend’s list. I did a general search – his name had disappeared completely. He had pulled a Kati Johnson. The ultimate cry for help status update: a sudden social networking site disappearance, my friend Melissa was right. “Do you know Randy Margiotti?” “I wonder if he’s OK!” “He was such a great man, he made all men seem like dirt, I wonder if he died or killed himself.”

Now his page is gone or we’d all comment in effigy; To know Randy is to love him, too bad none of us have actually ever met him.

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