On a certain forum, I occasionally engage in spirited discussions on topics surrounding Urban Legends and Folklore. Sometimes, the discussions get a bit heated, and I have been known to be sharp with people who argue poorly or use bad science as evidence. I've been called a lot of nasty names for this before, but imagine my surprise when today I received this in response to one of my postings:

For making that statement, I curse you to die: may you suffer unmentionable pain and torment up to your final days, alone and in misery, with all the people you know laughing at your suffering, and under the full knowledge that I am the one who drained away your contemptuous life. May the knife of your own callousness and self-hatered turn in your belly as you see images of me laughing at you in utter disgust. Hail Satan!

Immediately I started on a rebuttal explaining why I don't think this curse would work; I don't believe in curses or Chain Mail and I'm not quite sure if I believe in God, there is absolutely no way the people who love me would laugh at my suffering, if I ever were in a place of unimaginagable and unending pain and suffering, I would take my own life and finally, I hold no malice towards this person and since with the exception of his curse, his postings were unremarkable, I won't remember him long after this. But I stopped. I realized that here was someone with some unresolved pain and issues who is focusing them needlessly upon me.

Years of Catholic training kicked in. I forgave him. I uttered a quick prayer to whatever powers govern the Universe, if any. I wrote back replying that I forgave him for his curse, that I wished him peace and happiness. And then, I realized I meant it.

In some ways, the worst thing you can do to someone who hates you is not to hate them back. If I had allowed his irrationality to provoke me to rage or fear, he would have won. His aim was to unsettle me and to hurt me, but all he really did was make me feel some compassion for him. This is obviously a person in a world of hurt who needs help. I won't be having any sleepless nights over him, I hope he doesn't have any over me.

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