Right now AnimeCon.org/Chrono LC CEO Ryan Kopf (who runs Anime Midwest, Animinneapolis, Meta Con, Con Alt Delete, Yoi Con, and several other events) is suing me in the state of Illinois over articles I wrote about him on my geek news site Nerd & Tie. Please consider contributing to my legal fund so I can continue to fight this case.
So there's this guy I've known for years who has the strangest fixation on me. Like it's super weird.
Every time he's mildly displeased with his own life, he decides that *I* need to be "knocked down a peg." Like he's decided he's the arbiter of humility - and yes, the irony in that is incredible. I also shouldn't say that it's just me -- he's also weirdly focused on my friend Nick. That, in many ways, is even stranger as he and Nick have barely interacted over the years. At least this dude and I have had contact.
There are long periods of him being perfectly fine, but then out of nowhere he'll lash out again. In some conversation, often ones that don't even involve me, he'll post to Facebook how "Trae isn't funny" or how I'm so arrogant. I won't have said anything to trigger this though. He'll just do it all on his own.
It's like it's a fixation.
It used to bother me more - like in 2010 I wrote a whole blog entry about this guy (Edit: Two entries actually - that linked one is a follow up to this one). In the comments of that post he said he was glad my feelings were hurt and that he hoped I "learned something" from it.
It was so fucked up.
I realized then that this person was not and had never been my "friend." I mean it should have been obvious before, but it was super clear now. I talked with a mutual friend about how weird this was, and we both agreed this dude was weirdly obsessed with me. As I knew that my work in the con scene would keep thrusting me into the same room as this guy over and over again, I couldn't get him out of my life. It wasn't an option - but he now became someone to be managed not befriended.
I know that sounds cold, but it was the only way to emotionally insulate myself.
You see, he co-runs a company that offers a particular service to conventions, and -- honestly -- they are really good at what they do. I'd argue that they are one of the best groups out there for what they offer. Some of the cons that worked with them early on no longer want anything to do with them though.
All because they don't want to deal with THIS ONE GUY.
I'll admit I've only pretended to be friendly to him the last few years because it was convenient for me. I put up with his garbage because I needed something from him. But the cons I work with have moved to different providers (a decision that was made NOT by me ironically), so I haven't been pretending anymore. A few weeks ago, he randomly lashed out (again) and I told him how weird it was and that he needed to stop.
He said the conversation wasn't "fun anymore" -- I of course asked when the hell it was ever supposed to be "fun."
That brings us to last night.
On a mutual friend's Facebook status there was a discussion about the Ready Player One movie and how the poster wasn't excited about it. I made a minor reply about the (lack of) quality of the book's prose and posted a link to ProZD's video on it. I was very much not a part of the conversation, but at least half a dozen other people were. All of them were critical of the film - and then he appeared. And, in his response to someone else, specifically tried to call me out by name.
In a discussion I wasn't even really a part of.
He went on some rant about "snobby geeks" who think we're "better than all the other geeks out there" which is bizarre. He also said we didn't like it because of all the pop culture references, and how we're anti-pop culture? Like I'm not sure what he thinks "geeks" are into. Like... what we love IS pop culture these days. Half the properties referenced in the very trailer we're criticizing are things I love. Loving that stuff intensely is what MAKES me a geek in the first place.
And I could go into a whole thing about how you can love something while still being critical of its flaws, but that's not the point. The point is, this was a discussion I wasn't involved in and he weirdly made it about me for no reason. There was a whole discussion, all while I slept, and in the morning I saw the fallout.
Well, half of the fallout.
You see, I couldn't see any of his posts. After arguing with people WHO WERE NOT ME in a discussion I WASN'T INVOLVED IN he decided that his only available course of action was to block and unfriend me on Facebook.
That's not... that's not a normal reaction to things.
So, I guess I should come to a point here. The point is, in what I believe was an action meant to thumb his nose at me, he has actually done the opposite. I had left him on my "friends" list because it was socially necessary. I had continued to be socially "friendly" because there were potential social complications to cutting ties. As he's decided to cut ME out though, it makes everything so much simpler. I am finally free of having to interact with him.
It's like a weight has been lifted. I mean, it feels great when toxic people choose to do the work of cutting themselves out of your life for you. I honestly feel amazing, and I had to do literally nothing to make it happen. Ultimately, an act I believe that was meant to harm me has brought me nothing but joy (and shit ton of giggles this morning). And if the person this is about ever happens to read this, I guess I just have one thing to say to him...