Like most people, I try to start the year on the right foot by turning over a new leaf. I wanted 2024 to begin on a positive note, as the previous year was horrendous. As part of my New Year’s resolution, I decided to avoid interacting with True Dark Shadows Fans™ in groups on social media. Although I have made a handful of good friends in this group over the years, many of the other fans live in a different world, and interactions usually end in tears. This resolution lasted a little over a week. By the twelfth day of January, it flew out the window and caused the first flounce of the year on a Dark Shadows-affiliated group. 

My resolution was triggered by a distressing incident that happened just a few days before Christmas. A passing comment to a mutual friend about a plastic ornament turned into a Facebook drama. Less than 48 hours later, my phone blew up. Unknown to me, my comment and Worpthpoint link had somehow offended a woman’s sincerely held religious beliefs about plastic birds. As a result, she blocked me without a word, pitched a temper tantrum, and did a half-assed doxing. Tagged in a ranting post on her Facebook page two days before Christmas, she cried I was terrible because I did not praise her post about mystical traditions. I was a jerk and on my high horse. I only hung out with Dark Shadows stars (?). She was Greatly Offended – and on she went. And here I thought I’d helped someone identify a mid-century collectible. Since all this went on while I was blocked, I didn’t know anything was going on!

As the Unnamed Woman was one of the OG True Dark Shadows™ Fans and well on the dark side of 65, I found this activity disturbing and infantile. To be a little more strange, she unblocked me so her friends could take a shot, and I’d get a notification. Ready for the Festivities and the annual stress of interstate traveling to begin, this passive-aggressive childishness got on my last nerve. I blocked the woman and her chorus of harpies, swearing never to interact with a Dark Shadows fan again. Even the most well-meaning interaction with some True Dark Shadows Fans™ is equivalent to swimming with sharks, even if the sharks need Geritol and forgot their dentures. To avoid future unpleasantness, I unfollowed almost all Dark Shadows pages. Life is just too short to waste on pointless strangeness.

In the new year, I discovered something even more terrible than an OG True Dark Shadows Fan™ stamping tootsies – the show now has Millennial fans. If you thought the old fans were sensitive, hang on to your hat. The Millennial True Dark Shadows Fan™ is sensitivity on steroids. 

The current rallying cry for these keyboard warriors is “NO SPOILERS – EVER!” Strangely, they are referring to a TV show that is well over half a century old. Never mind if the show is in its one-millionth rerun or hundreds of articles about it exist. Old people over 40 are on notice. No one is to discuss Dark Shadows and related old telefilms on social media or anywhere. Millennials aren’t, like, old. They haven’t seen everything yet, so we are awful people who spoil their fun. Millennials are fragile flowers who can’t scroll past or just shut up, watch whatever program, and catch up with the rest of us. Everyone is rude, awful, and mean, even though people have been discussing these shows since 1972 and before.  

One of the few remaining Dark Shadows associated groups I follow is Mary O’Learly’s Jonathan Frid Documentary page. She is the producer for Dark Shadows and Beyond- The Jonathan Frid Story (2021). O’Leary, a friend and colleague of actor Jonathon Frid, not only gave us this very informative documentary, but she frequently shares a trove of rare photographs on social media. On the fateful day of 12 January, she posted a rare promo shot from Frid’s penultimate screen performance, The Devil’s Daughter, an ABC TV Movie of the Week premiering in January 1973. 

Certainly, those of us who watched this telefilm when it aired have some fond memories that we chose to share. Jonathan Frid played a mute, had no lines, and we reminisced about our disappointment. We chuckled as we recalled Shelley Winter’s over-the-top scenery chewing in this low-budget Rosemary’s Baby knockoff. The conversation was friendly as usual until the arrival of the dreadful millennial toddler. 

I confess that I was in a mood that night. I had reached my limit with fans of Dark Shadows, regardless of their age and fragility. Admittedly, I should have just scrolled past as the dreadful child’s lectures began, but I didn’t. However, I did try to be somewhat reasonable in my response.

She was not having any of it. 

Then I tried to snap her back to reality.  

Yes, revealing Batman’s real identity was uncalled for, but I guess she was the only person who wasn’t told by age 4. And she asked for it.

There was one more exchange before she announced she was blocking me. Why do people do that? If someone is blocked, they can’t see the announcement anyway, so why bother? An acquaintance of mine in the group, who was laughing hysterically over the exchange, said the poor wee child made a flounce and left the group in a huff. I’m hoping she went back to the sandbox for her age group. 

On the plus side, I did make it a whole twelve days without breaking my resolutions. Not the best but not the worst record; the worst was two hours into the new year. I also learned of a new and annoying hazard to avoid on social media. Younger generations should be more reasonable. Just because you may still be living with your parents, who cook and clean for you and may even fight your battles, doesn’t mean the world will change to accommodate you. Social media discussions and print articles about past shows and books will happen. Get used to it. If you don’t want to see any spoilers, simply scroll past and avoid reading anything until after you’ve watched or read whatever it is you’re interested in. Problem sorted!

In closing this chapter, would like to say a few things about the Unnamed Woman. She may never read this, but I would like to suggest that instead of making assumptions on social media comments, why not try sending a message to the person in question and clarify instead of reacting impulsively? This would be beneficial for everyone involved. It’s important to keep in mind that tone doesn’t always come across clearly in the two-dimensional world of the internet. People reading often project their own emotional turmoil onto what is usually a neutral comment. There’s no need to get paranoid and take offense over a listing for a plastic bird from the 1950s on Worthpoint. That’s just silly!