It often happens that some good thing comes from even a terrible disaster. In early 2006, when the TROLL began cross-posting to the RBM newsgroup, I noticed that they periodically post FAQs for their group. I thought it might be a good idea to do something like that here at ARBR, at least to prepare newbies to deal with that group's most prevalent problem. Herewith: the TROLL FAQs, beginning at the beginning:

Q:Just before the TROLL was born, his mom had gained around 30 pounds, with a hugely distended lower abdomen. He claims that this was the result of an immaculate conception. What's the much more plausible explanation?

Q:When their sons are born, most mothers mumble something like "Give him to me," and begin nursing. What did the TROLL's mother say?

Q:Did the TROLL have a fairly normal life before he began posting at ARBR?
A:Yes, except for going directly from prepubescence to senility, totally skipping both adolescence and maturity.

Q:Which brings us to the present, right?
A:Yes, we're in the present; unfortunately the TROLL still seems to be stuck somewhere around 1957.

Q:Hmm-mm-mm... well, be that as it may, what are your best suggestions for relating to the TROLL on ARBR?
A:Don't read it, don't heed it, don't feed it, don't breed it.

Q:Okay-y-y, let's get into some pertinent personal info for the TROLL. Does he prefer a natural or synthetic chamois for cycling?

Q:Why does the TROLL have such a large helmet size? Is it because of his large brain or his huge ego?

Q:Why does the TROLL prefer to walk rather than riding?
A:It's faster.

Q:Why do the brakes never wear out on the TROLL's bikes and trikes?
A:Who needs brakes when he's going 5 MPH?

Q:What does the TROLL call it when he's going 10 MPH?

Q:What does the TROLL call it when he's going 15 MPH?

Q:What is the proper scientific term for the inevitably tragic result of the TROLL zipping downhill at 20 MPH?
A:Natural selection.

Q:Does the TROLL perform his own repairs?
A:No, we're trying to get him to a psychiatrist.

Q:No, no, I mean does he fix his bike, you know, flats and stuff like that?
A:Unless a friend offers to help him.

Q:So that's – to use the TROLL's inimitable style – always, positively ever, without exception, right?
A:Absolutely never were truer words spoken, in any language, anywhere in the entire universe.

Q:I've heard that the TROLL can't inflate a Presta tube by mouth to shape it before putting it back into the tire when changing a flat; why's that?
A:The TROLL sucks.

Q:Okay, enough about his cycling habits...
A:Yeah, a reader has probably already spent more time on these FAQs than the TROLL spent on a bike last year.

Q:Well, anyway, what's he like as a person?
A:As a person, he's like a TROLL. As a TROLL, he's like a bad TROLL. As a bad TROLL, he's...

Q:No, I mean to whom would you compare him?
A:Oh. Well, for his speed on a trike, his grasp of technical issues, his reading and writing skills, I guess my two-year-old granddaughter, maybe.

Q:But his personality?
A:About like hers in the middle of a tantrum, I'd say, but after a little bit of warm milk and a short nap, she's all cute and cuddly again.

Q:Would you say the TROLL is ever cute and cuddly?
A:Would you say a Tasmanian Devil would make a good lapdog?

Q:I'm asking the questions here; you're supposed to be answering them. But that's a good topic; what animal comes to your mind when you think of the TROLL?

Q:No, no. I mean a real animal.
A:Oh. A solitary lobo wolf, a cast-out pariah of the pack – pathetically old, lame, mangy, ticks and worms, missing most of its teeth, mean and starving... but constipated.

Q:Ugh! That's an ugly picture you're painting...
A:It's not a painting; that's a photograph.

Q:Well, okay, what fruit is the TROLL most like?
A:A moldy, desiccated prune.

A:Raw artichoke.

Q:Any other type of plant material? And let's try to get back to cycling here...
A:Okay then, a goathead thorn.

Q:Well, I guess that does it for animal and vegetable; how about mineral?
A:The frayed end of a derailleur cable.

Q:Alright. Now in human terms, can you give us a couple of quick phrases to tell us what the TROLL is like?
A:Alzheimer's disease; Tourette's syndrome.

Q:Oh, come on; there must be some expression that brings to mind pleasant thoughts about the TROLL. Isn't there at least one single word?
A:Well, yes: goodbye.

Q:Okay, we get the idea. Of course the TROLL is said to have a bit of an overblown ego; but that's usually a front, often an artificial defense for a shy person who's unsure of himself. So... once you get past the TROLL's ego, what is his personality really like?

Q:Didn't you forget to type in that last answer?
A: No.

Q:The TROLL has chosen a life of celibacy...
A:Who says he had a choice?

Q:My questions, remember. Anyway, some romantics believe there's a one and only one someone for everyone; if that's true, then the woman (presumably) the Fates intended for him must have spent her life alone or with another man. What will she say at the end of all things when she realizes that she could have shared her earthly existence and sex life with the TROLL instead?
A:Thank you, Jesus.

Q:Well, yes, of course - the TROLL does have a bit of a reputation for neglecting personal hygiene; but hey, everyone has some minimal standard, some clue that serves as a reminder for him to finally take a bath or shower. What does it for the TROLL?
A:His cats start kicking kitty litter on him.

Q:Okay, I can see why you contend that the TROLL is not exactly number one on the must invite list to a party, but isn't a little harsh to call him a TROLL? He alternates between insisting he isn't and that he is a 'good' TROLL. Shouldn't we believe an individual who, after all, claims immaculate conception, sainthood and maybe even godhood?
A: Well...

Q:Never mind; I see your point. But would anyone so well known, with such fame and recognition, blatantly tell a bald-faced lie that he knows no sensible person could possibly believe?
A:The phrases "I was doing everything that I possibly could to get the girl out of the car... There is no truth whatever to the widely circulated suspicions of immoral conduct... Nor was I driving under the influence of liquor" and "I did not have sexual relations with that woman" come to mind.

Q:But in this case - I mean, isn't there some real possibility of confusion in terminology or definition?
A:I think that only very liberal contributors to the ACLU are allowed to use the 'it depends on what the meaning of is is' defense.

Q:Okay, so-o-o... well, anyway the TROLL's still here on this newsgroup even though readers are pretty adamant that he leave. How many supporters – even fairly lukewarm ones – do you think he has in the group?
A:There was one, but the TROLL took that fool out with yet another obscene insult last week.

Q:But still, the TROLL insists he is the mainstay of the newsgroup, and claims he's posted more than 6000 messages.
A:Well, honestly, some of those he claims were actually posted by his archnemesis, and another bunch were one-liners which he has since defined as non-messages. Plus a lot of his messages have been directly contradicted by newer posts - e.g., he has said he's not a TROLL, then that he's a good TROLL, then that there's no such thing as a TROLL. That pretty much cancels out all three of those messages; don't you think?

Q:Yeah, but still: 6000+?
A:No, actually, if you read through the archives, I think you'll see that it's more like only 40 to 50 messages, each of which has been posted 100 to 200 times with fairly trivial variations. Some ARBR readers believe the TROLL has an old DOS-based scripted database program that sends the same replies over and over again, using keywords plucked from the original posting along with variable terms and phrases randomly inserted from a simple flatfile. For example, compare these two messages, pretty typical of the TROLL's work:

Old Fred wrote: "Pedaling uphill is harder." Old Fred is not only an Alabaman, but also a vegetarian. All Alabamans have ever been scurrilous weasels, and vegetarian Alabamans are the absolute worst. He is probably also a closet existentialist. I, Edgar Colon the Colossal Contaminant, have spent my entire life excoriating vile existentialists, and I fervently hope that global warming will scourge Old Fred and all other Alabaman existentialists from the face of the earth.

nget wrote: "I am a married tadpole rider." nget is not only an Eskimo, but also a top-poster. All Eskimos have ever been moronic scoundrels, and top-poster Eskimos are the infinitely worst. He is probably also a closet prognosticator. I, Edgar Colon the Supremely Senseless, have spent my entire life antagonizing asinine prognosticators and I sincerely pray that a plague of locusts will purge nget and all other Eskimo prognosticators from the surface of the planet.

Q:Oh. I see what you mean, but still, the TROLL must surely have – as he has so often claimed – served as some kind of inspiration for this group.
A:Well, in all fairness, I believe he has spawned at least one adage: A day without a post by the TROLL is like a summer evening without your neighbors' damned dogs barking all night long.

Q:But doesn't longevity count for something? I mean, he's been here quite awhile now, a good long spell...
A:[Snicker - snicker - snicker]

Q:What are you snickering about?
A:That's the first time I've ever seen the words good and spell used in the same sentence about the TROLL.

Q:Oh yeah, I've heard he has a bit of a problem with most common compound words, like foot ball. How does the TROLL usually spell them?

Q:Well, thanks. That's most of my questions for now. Are there any other suggestions you'd like to share for a new ARBR reader to prepare him for his almost inevitable encounters with the TROLL?
A:Two: Prozac and a Taser.

Please let me know if you think this list needs to be expanded and/or reposted at periodic intervals. After all, as we all now know, "repetition is of the essence".


HTBT Index

Last updated Nov 14 2007