Welcome to the Airbag Asshat Support Group, a twelve step program for becoming a better commenter. This is a new beginning for some of you and an ongoing process for others. Before we get started … has everyone had some cookies and punch? Good. Let’s roll.

I understand that being called an ‘asshat’ can hurt sometimes. Maybe not as much as being called a mouth-breather, nimrod or Ashlee Simpson — but it hurts none-the-less. You know, sometimes words can hurt us more than things like on-coming traffic or being told, “let’s just be friends” by the girl you have been semi-stalking/befriending since puberty. Still the pain is there, it’s real and you need to find a way to deal with it but don’t confuse this with a huggy-lovey group. If you begin to cry you need to leave.

Let’s talk about why you’re here.

It’s likely that steps have been taken to try and ban you from ever commenting on Airbag again. For some of you this is confusing because according to your parents you’ve always been the perfect little angel and it’s always the outside world that is the problem. So when you run off at the mouth like it’s your first day with Terets Syndrome, well that can be a problem, Gabriel. A lot of you young or amateur writers of the group often confuse using the F-word as adding a layer a sophisticated raw energy to your comment. This might work at the bowling alley on Tuesday nights but it’s generally not considered good form. Airbag is not your El Camino.

Oh, uh before I continue, if you’re here for the Mantra Prayers for Another Textism Update session, that’s down the hall. Ok, yes, just out the door — oh yes, Go Dean! — and uh to your left. Ok, bye-bye.

Now looking to my left, I’ll talk to those of you who consider Airbag comments to be public domain, a place where freedom of speech is guaranteed in granite. I’m not sure where this idea came from but I can assure you that this is not the case. Perhaps after Airbag receives a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts I’ll consider a new liberal commenting policy, but until then I’m the captain and this is my ride.

Should you ever be allowed to comment on Airbag again there are a few ground rules to help you determine what is appropriate. If the comment you are about to write would make an equally good graffiti statement on an airport bathroom stall, you can bet your ass that it’s not going to fly on Airbag. Likewise if all you’re going to do is bitch and moan while trying to make an ‘educated’ statement about the authors failed attempt to use English, that’s not going to help your amnesty case either. Not that I don’t appreciate a good zinger, as long as it’s well constructed and not something I’m likely to hear repeated by an employee of Taco Bell. Wit is key. You can look up the word ‘wit’ in a dictionary when you get home.

Lastly, for the people gathered in the back — yes, hello! — let’s talk about anonymity. There are plenty of good reasons for being anonymous in certain circumstances. For instance when you’re trying to buy pot, dating the ‘ugly girl’ or waiting for the band camp bus in the parking lot of Walmart. All very socially awkward moments that are hard to own up too, well the first one is really about breaking the law, anyway, the point is there is a time and place for not telling people who you are. Leaving a comment on Airbag is not one of them. Look, nobody can see you through a website. We can’t see that you really do breathe through your mouth, nor can we see that you constantly fidget with your short-buss Protec helmet. It’s perfectly ok to be you, by you. Come out of that cocoon and blossom into a confident, brilliant butterfly. Go. Fly. Be free of the emotional baggage you are obviously carrying around.

Wow, so I guess we’re out of time. Let’s recap. Today we talked about the following:

  1. How using so called grown-up language doesn’t make you sound cool or brilliant. It makes you sound like a person who just got out of a cell block ‘D’ prison relationship. Airbag is not a Chevy car/truck hybrid that you can listen to 8-track tapes and talk like Jason Mewes.

  2. Freedom of Speech is guaranteed by the Bill of Rights in the United States of America. Airbag is not the United States of America. It is a personal website solely owned by a private individual who can damn well do what he pleases with your comment — just as you can do the same on your own website. Don’t have one? Get one.

  3. The ‘I’m not telling you who I am’ routine worked really well in the sixth grade when you wanted to tell Mara Colberg that, oh-my-gosh, you liked her and wanted to ‘go out’, but anonymity doesn’t fly past that stage. If you’re taller than 4’9″ and/or past the seventh grade then you need to start being comfortable with who you are and realize that you can’t go back in the womb and be re-born as David Hassleholf.

Ok people that’s all for today. Make sure you learn ‘wit’ for our next session and we’ll start our discussion on sarcasm.