Monday

12 January 2015

I understand that people online exaggerate, bluff, brag, and outright lie about the minutiae of their lives. Typically, that doesn’t bother me. I don’t care if you’re a 62 year old housewife from the Midwest who lives on the Internet as a 25 year old blonde with a huge rack. I don’t care if you’re a basement dweller who hasn’t seen much daylight for the last ten years but put yourself out there as a hard core biker with a farkled-out Harley Road Glide.

I don’t care because there’s not a lot of chance that someone will get hurt by whatever fantasy you’re living online. Suit yourself. If you’re not using your online persona for monetary gain, or to inflict pain on someone else, no big deal; if you do it to protect yourself, go for it.

But if you play the cancer card, or any serious illness card, if you put out there that you’re battling a horrific disease when the truth is that there’s not a damn thing wrong with you…I care about that. And I judge you HARD for it.

People do get hurt by that. You’re not only toying with peoples’ emotions and deep fears, you’re detracting from those who do have those illnesses. And when you’re found out, you also call into question the people whose lives are legitimately consumed by the simple act of trying to stay alive. You lie, you get caught, and people start looking hard at others who are fighting the fight you supposedly were. After all, if one person can try to get away with it, why wouldn’t someone else?

Here’s the thing: that lie isn’t sustainable. Face it, if you lie about having breast cancer, you’re going to trip up on the details and those who know a whole lot more about it than you do are going to figure it out. If you pile on top of that some fairly unlikely scenarios—oh, I had breast cancer for a few weeks last year but I’m all better now because I swallowed the red pill and had 3.2 x-rays while I hopped up and down on one foot—you’re adding flash to bring out the details of the picture you’re trying to get everyone to accept.

In the last year I’ve come to be made aware of three different people who are most likely lying about their diseases. Things just don’t add up. The devil is in the details, and these devils lack the highlights and lowlights that make their stories plausible. I’m not the only one sitting here puzzling it out; we’re all doing the same math and getting different answers.

Why does it matter?

It matters because we know others who truly are battling illness and disease, and our hearts break for what they’re going through.

It matters because things like this make people care, make people cry, make people hit their knees and beg the high power of their belief system to grant mercy to someone who’s just making up things as they go along.

It matters because it makes people feel impotent, being unable to do something to just fix it, to wish away the disease and everything it brings; it spurs people into getting online and checking every day, two or three or a dozen times, just for good news about the person they care about.

It matters because it’s mean.

Pretending to be John Doe, artist extraordinaire, doesn’t matter; that’s your own fantasy world and as long as you’re not asking people for money or other things, it hurts no one. Pretending to be Jane Doe, cancer victim, is so many kinds of wrong I can’t even begin to count them all.

If you are doing this, or have done this, you suck.

People know, and you suck.

16 comments:

Just Ducky said...

Well said Thumper! Me and mum agree.

Sweet Purrfections said...

All of us agree!

momsbusy said...

i agree! they better hope that they aren't the little boy who cried wolf. no one will believe them if karma comes back to bite them.

Erin said...

Amen! It is good of you to bring this out; I knew in a general sort of way there are a lot of creeps out there on the net, but to get specific information is so disheartening. It makes me want to cry. In my years as a nurse I did work for a short time in respite service (supporting family as well as the patient) Whoever is doing this has NO idea how much they are hurting the rest of us. All of us.

The Florida Furkids said...

Excellent post. I can't imagine WHY anyone would do this but it's so disrespectful of those who are truly in a battle for their lives.

Spitty-the-Kitty said...

I think people who do such things really *are* sick, in some deep and unknowable way. It's the only way to make sense of their behavior. No one "normal" would be so desperate and starved for attention as to engage in this sort of sick deception.

But, as you say, they are doing untold harm to those who truly do suffer from cancer and other illnesses.

Teri and her Cats ~ Coco the Couture Cat, Brighton, Disco NoFurNo, Kely and Sammy said...

The internet brings out the best and the worst in people. We can distance ourselves from cheats and liars, but we still can't forget the hurt they have caused...

Angel Ginger Jasper said...

I so agree with Spitty, they have to have something wrong with their head to do that. They do so much harm by doing it and so much upset is caused to true suffered that it is just so wrong. I hope they stop and really think about what they are doing.

Angel Ginger Jasper said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Flynn said...

I agree with you, it is a despicable thing to do.
You may or may not remember that I had cancer of the womb coming up to 4 years ago. I was very fortunate that it was caught early and a total hysterectomy removed it. The thing I remember most about it before the operation was the total frustration at not being in control. That evil thing had grown in my body and I had been unaware and not able to stop it. The strange thing is, because I had not needed chemo, it made me feel like a fraud. An operation and the cancer was gone. I just didn't feel like a true cancer patient which I know is stupid as I was very fortunate not to need the chemo treatment. I go every year for my check up and every year I get the all clear. I have 2 more years where I will be "kept on the books". Apart from some problems caused by the operation which I have learned to live with, life is good and I am very grateful for the doctors, operating team and nursing care that I able to get on with my life. I didn't intend to write all this, but cancer is a terrible thing and how anyone can pretend they have it has something seriously wrong in their mind. To do it to get sympathy is bad, but to do it for gain is despicable.
Jackie

Alasandra, The Cats and Dogs said...

We agree with you 100%, thanks for a very thoughtful and well written post.

Random Felines said...

well said - and it happens in different ways too...there is just something about putting someone in a dark room with a keyboard that deletes their internal editor

Mighty Kitty said...

I totally agree! That is just mean and very very sick! Have they no idea that "attention getting" in that way is just WRONG?

meowmeowmans said...

Thank you for this well-written and thoughtful post. Like many others, our family has been touched by cancer more than a few times, and it makes me sick that someone would act as if they had it just to get attention. That is utterly eveil and despicable.

Karen N said...

My sister has pulled the cancer card (and various serious diseases) more times than I can count. She's an alcoholic with mental problems, but given the pain I went through thinking she was so sick I can't forgive her those terrible lies. Not just lies, but huge circuitous whoppers.

I've twice had cancer and she never once called to see how I was doing, and our mom had it this year and she's never once asked her how she's doing. I secretly thought she might be jealous, worried that we would get more attention than she.

It's a terrible thing to have to push a family member out of your life, but I no longer have contact with her. She can get someone else to be her captive audience.

Thumper said...

Holy crap. That really, really sucks :(