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The word “vitriol” always reminds me of drizzling some truffle oil over sautéed mushrooms. I have no idea why, but it instinctively seems like something a chef would do, make a vitriol. I imagine a bit of wild rice on the side.

“Vitriol” actually means cruel and bitter criticism, sulfuric acid, venomous language. Nasty and vile words full of poison and hatred. Long ago, perhaps just somewhere over the rainbow in my imagination, vitriol was socially frowned upon so we avoided it in public discourse. Hopefully we avoided it in private discourse too, but people are more inclined to fall into the heat of the moment behind closed doors with people they are emotionally entangled with.

My point being, vitriol has always existed, it just never became an Olympic sport, a competition, a national past time, a matter of pride.

Let me put in a disclaimer here, I’m a big fan of talking things out, even of venting your spleen, or of having good and proper rant. Vitriol is something different, those little fiery arrows reflect the condition of one’s own heart, not the subject matter at hand. It also becomes this fleshly thing with a mind of it’s own, one that removes your ability to think critically. Perhaps it actually prevents critical thinking, so rather than managing oneself emotionally and applying some wisdom, you can just knee jerk out a verbal one finger salute and call it good.

Vitriol really has a mind of it’s own. We all have choices, we all are accountable, we are all in charge of our own selves, but I mean vitriol can take on a life of it’s own and just do it’s own thing and those who are spewing it forth aren’t even connected to what is coming out of their mouth anymore.

If I could change one thing here in the 9th circuit of hell, that would be it. I would slay the vitriol and sauté it up with some truffle oil. I shall sound like a very prudish Miss Grundy, but we really do need to clean up our language. Our words matter, they set the tone for our families, for our relationships, for our public discourse, for our entire nation.

Our words have such incredible power in ways that half the time, we don’t even realize. Vitriol is not powerful, it is actually a symptom of being weak, powerless, and out of control. It is kind of like fighting back by just repeatedly throwing up on your own shoes.

I’ve been reading some local threads on social media. Wouldn’t you like to come join us? No, no I’d like to install a splash guard and lock my doors. Your drug of choice, the way you avoid any critical thinking and the risk of human relating, is by using endless vitriol against those who trigger you.

My heart just broke the other day, so deeply sad, such Godly sorrow that just made me ache all over, and yet I feel somewhat vindicated in my life mission here. This lady who is trapped in addiction said, “let’s just sit and talk with all the pretty words, the ones we always use.”

She knows, even in her brain fog, that she now lives in a prison of perpetual vitriol, a thousand ugly words constantly yapping at her heels.

I want to write a happy ending to this tale and yet so many have now died in the shadows of all that vitriol, with the cage door open. That’s the hardest part, words are so powerful that they can keep you trapped in a prison long after the walls have crumbled all around you.