Spread Love, or Just Keep Your Damn Mouth Shut.

In 2009, I wrote something that I thought was clever.

Turned out I was just being a dick.

I had gone to a concert with my roommate, Nate, at the Blue Fugue in Columbia, MO. There were a couple of bands playing that night, and one of the openers was from Utah. They were called Mad Max & the Wild Ones. They were a family band. (That’s them in the photo at top.)

Nate thought they were really good. I did, too.

But I also thought something was weird. The band was all children. The lead singer hadn’t hit age 10.

It bothered me. I went home and blogged about it.

And that was that. Until, of course, the band’s manager — also, the band’s mom — went home and searched Google. She found my post.

We traded some comments on my blog, and later emails. She was pissed, and understandably so — some asshole on the Internet was writing snarky comments about her kids!

It’s just that in this case, that asshole was me.

The conversation eventually settled down, and I eventually apologized. I never took the blog post down, because I didn’t want to forget the incident. The Internet is written in ink, and this blog is no exception.

What I’m building towards is this: There’s nothing clever about Internet hate. I know a little more now about what it feels like to be on the other side of that hate. Victories are fleeting, but hate stays with you. Especially Internet hate, where it’s often anonymous, and especially vicious. Somebody you’ve never met has just seen something you’ve done and taken the time out of their day to tell you exactly how much they think you suck.

Look, friends: Spread love, or just keep your damn mouth shut. Opening it to spew hate — especially on a blog, or a YouTube comments section — does you no good.

That night at the Blue Fugue, I could’ve just gone up to the band and told them what I thought. I didn’t, because I would’ve been a giant jackass to tell them to their face what I thought. Instead, I went home and wrote the thoughts on a blog, where I figured they’d never read them.

How is that any different?

I traded emails with the band last week. They’re getting older, and getting offers from legit bands to tour. They’re still out on the road, taking their stabs, making it happen. That’s awesome.

They’re coming through Springfield in a few weeks, actually. If I’m here, I’ll go to the show, and apologize in person, and tell them what I could’ve said the first time:

You guys may be young, but hot damn can you play. Don’t let the haters get you down.

Me included.