I'm going to be 45 minutes late: the politics of a stranger on Facebook have suddenly become my whole world

The problem is that as of 1:47 p.m. this afternoon, I have made it my life’s work to convince a random stranger in the comments that we actually don’t need meat or dairy for a healthy diet.
(Shutterstock / fizkes)

Hey, Barry. I know we have an appendectomy scheduled for 3 p.m. Totally on board, totally. But listen: I'm going to be 45 minutes late to scrub in because — well, look: a guy I vaguely remember from Grade 5 French posted this thing on Facebook about how the new trade deal with the U.S. affects dairy farmers.

That's not the problem. The problem is that as of 1:47 p.m. this afternoon, I have made it my life's work to convince a random stranger in the comments that we actually don't need meat or dairy for a healthy diet. He thinks we do, and that the radical militant vegan agenda is trying to take his rights away. I cannot stand idly by and let this "person," "CHARLIE BENSON-ROWE", spew such ignorant garbage across the otherwise serene, pastoral meadow that is the internet. This is it. For some reason, Charlie Benson-Rowe IS the hill I will die on.

It began with one reply. Glib and casual. I hesitated, because I knew I had to get ready for my O.R. shift. But in the end, I cracked. I typed, simply, "lol, dairy's full of hormones and meant for baby cows." Harmless.

512 comments later, Charlie Benson-Rowe and I are deep in it. He's called me a "left-wing nutjob" and I've called him a heartless capitalist moron. By any objective measure, this argument is going exactly nowhere. And yet, I am physically incapable of disengaging.

"Okay, I'll just be five minutes late for my shift," I muttered as I rolled up my sleeves and pelted him with horrific stats about factory farming. And then it was 15 minutes, and then 20. I glanced at the clock. It was approaching 2:30.

"Okay, I'm ABSOLUTELY cutting this off at 2:45," I promised myself as that little red Facebook notification kept giving me a fresh jolt of self-righteous adrenaline each time. I copy and pasted five different links to studies connecting agribusiness with climate change. "SOME SOURCES" I typed, proudly.

But THEN, Charlie Benson-Rowe told me IN ALL CAPS that climate change is a hoax. What was I supposed to do, go to work about it??! "2:50, and that's FINAL," I vowed out loud as I rolled up my sleeves harder, like so hard that they're now doughnutted up by my neck. It's a look.

Anyway, here we are at 3:15. Just to bring you up to speed, Charlie Benson-Rowe is a conspiracy theorist and a deranged dinosaur who's clinging to old ways of life because he's terrified of change, and I'm a stupid hippie who's forcing my bullshit ideals on others.

Listen, has the patient checked in yet? Sometimes patients are late to check in. That would be GREAT. I just need 25 more minutes to successfully convince this asshole that he's uneducated and wrong. Let me know. If the patient HAS checked in, you might want to go ahead and start without me. I'll be there by the time you need to stitch him up. PROMISE!

Maybe a bit after.

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About the Author

Sophie Kohn


Sophie Kohn is writer and producer with CBC Comedy, a stand-up comedian in Toronto, and a graduate of Second City's Conservatory program.