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“To talk much and arrive nowhere is the same as climbing a tree to catch a fish”
    ~ Chinese proverb

I hear the talk on campus
Of a program called TinyTalk
When I ask if it’s the same
As the ridiculous arrangement where one person
Types misspellings while another remotely sits back
Only to reply with responsive round of typos
Rather than just picking up the phone
To communicate in something closer to the way
To which we’re adapted
I’m told this is something different
No further explanation comes
No one’s yet coined terms
To describe what’s to be found in this kind of reality

I log in
Am welcomed to the Multi-User Dungeon
And get to create a character
To be my representative in this virtual world
I think diffidently about who I might be
No one here will know who I am
I can be anyone or anything
The fly no one notices for once
Suspended from the ceiling
But I’d be too easy to smash
A giant
But too many people already perceive me as
An imposition
The better to take out their ire
How about a smallish dog
Big enough that no one steps on me
Little enough that no one’s oppressed
I call him Marjoram
Such a creature has maybe never yet been called
An avatar

Marjoram’s excited with his new life
As soon as he’s instantiated
In a space with many rooms
He treads past the first few doors
Chooses one at random
Steps in
To find another adventurer
Punk Pathos
Drifting alone
That must be boring
Marjoram says hello

By way of reply
The stranger invokes a clever technique
To make the system describe
From a third-person perspective
What he’s doing
First he approaches from the corner
Then he glares menacingly
Then kicks the dog brutally
Over and over
Until I can’t stand watching
Log out
Walk off to wander the campus
Hoping to forget
What would come to be called social networking

It’s pointless
As I go through life
I sometimes catch myself
Thinking of Marjoram
Wondering if he’s still getting kicked

Thanks always returns

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