In the life of even the most cynical man there comes an event capable of convincing him that there truly is a God.
Such an event occurred to me last week when someone tried to steal my Twitter account.
The problem for this poor enterprising hacker was that I had already been planning to leave Twitter for several months, I just wasn’t quite sure how to go about it.
Obviously it seemed straightforward enough but things that seem straightforward rarely are.
I had already removed Twitter from my phone but naturally could still access it if I wanted to. And of course I could completely deactivate my account but as a borderline journo I thought I should still be able to keep an eye on the media’s preferred platform for confected outrage and ritual abuse.
And I had many friends and people I admired on there who still dropped nuggets of gold into the sea of dross. It would be a shame not to see them again.
There was also the question of whether to even let them know. There is something rather sad, albeit understandable, about the person who declares that they are leaving Twitter in the unspoken hope that someone will beg them to stay. There is only one place for that kind of desperation and that is in all of my former relationships.
But it is of course unspeakably rude to just disappear from people with whom you have built up remote, unlikely yet still very real friendships.
There were many people I was thinking about, including one bloke in particular. We had never met in real life but were still deeply connected. The usual online banter changed dramatically one weekend when he mentioned he was in hospital and about to be discharged onto the street with nowhere to go. Thank God I happened to see the message in time and was able to call a mate of mine in the Salvos, who were able to find him a place to stay.
Obviously these are the Salvos’ heroics, not mine, but like most tough guys my old mate would never have called the Salvos himself. He just wanted to talk to a friend and didn’t have many others around him at the time.
As fate would have it, the very last communication I had on Twitter was a private message from this man. He wanted to let me know that, as a result of the chain of events that started that day, he had finally managed to get a permanent home.
This was honestly the happiest anything on social media has ever made me and I had just managed to reply telling him so when my account was taken and I was able to say no more.
If that is not the perfect way to go out then I don’t know what is. And so when I got locked out I was the happiest man in show business. The cosmos had taken care of everything and I hadn’t even had to make a decision, let alone lift a finger.
But sadly every Yin has a Yang and no good deed goes unpunished, which brings us to my new friend Hamza from Turkey – which is a magnificent place to visit by the way.
After several days of blissful peace and serenity, untroubled by hashtags and trending outrages, I received a message on WhatsApp from Hamza telling me he had taken my account and asking if I wanted it back.
To give you an idea of my state of mind at the time, and an inkling of poor Hamza’s chances, you might liken this to a surgeon expertly extracting a lump of cancer from a patient’s body and then waking up the guy on the operating table and asking him if he’d like it put back in.
Long story short, I told him he could keep it.
This frustrated Hamza’s business model somewhat and so he understandably persisted, offering to return it first for $1000 and then for any amount of money I chose to nominate.
After I politely declined all of these generous offers, Hamza said he would then sell my account to somebody else and get perhaps $4000 for it.
I strongly encouraged him to do just that but noted, out of fairness, that we should probably split the proceeds 50/50. To my great surprise and delight Hamza agreed.
And so over the course of 48 hours or so Hamza went from demanding I pay him $1000 to promising to pay me $2000.
But then Shakespearean tragedy struck. A kind friend had generously taken it upon himself to find out how to regain my account and, mortified at the thought of having wasted his time, I dutifully went through the steps. It worked.
And so I will still be leaving Twitter but this time it will be my decision, not fate’s. Having seen so much more of the real world recently I can promise you it is a far better place to be.
But I still have just one niggling regret about the whole thing.
“Buddy, you got the account today,” Hamza messaged me late Wednesday night.
“I was going to sell it for 4000 dollars!”