Could 2013 be the best year for online comments ever?

If you made it this far online, you’re no doubt familiar with the mantra: Don’t read comments on the internet — for any reason, ever, no matter what, no matter where, or who or who you are with, or or where you are going, or, or where you’ve been. Ever. For any reason. Whatsoever. (~Michael Scott)

As recently as yesterday, I was fully on board with that message. I even retweeted a pair of tweets (what else do you retweet?) to that effect:

In fact, my resolve was fortified as recently as this morning, when I experienced first-hand adventures in commenting in response to my most recent thoughts on Russell Wilson.

Still, I found myself reflexively reading comments — because I will do anything not to study — and for the first time in recent memory, it paid off: I came across perhaps one of my favorite online comments ever.

Some quick background: On Sunday against the Redskins, the Seahawks lost their leading pass-rusher, DE Chris Clemons, for the rest of the season (i.e. through the Super Bowl). To replace him, they signed Patrick Chukwurah, who hasn’t played in the NFL since 2008 and hails from Nigeria. And so it was that in a thread announcing the signing, I came across my favorite comment of all time:

So he’s Nigerian? I think I have a copy of the email he sent Pete Carroll

Dear Respected Head Football Coach,

GREETINGS,

Permit me to inform you of my desire of going into football relationship with you. I got your contact from the NFL directory. I prayed over it and selected your name among other names due to it’s esteeming nature and the recommendations given to me as a reputable and trust worthy person I can do business with and by the recommendations I must not hesitate to confide in you for this simple and sincere relationaship.

I am Patrick Chukwurah ; the only son of late Mr and Mrs George Chukwurah . My father was a dominant defensive end in Abuja,the football capital of Nigeria before he blew out his knee on poor field conditions against Kaduna Tech. When my mother died on the 21st October 1984, my father took me and my younger brother HASSAN special because we are motherless. Before the death of my father on 30th June 1990 in a private hospital here in Abuja. He secretly called me on his bedside and taught me his pass rushing moves. I have kept them all locked away in a secret memory bank in my mind, waiting for the day that great respected coach would call on me.

Father also explained to me that it was because of this wealth of pass rushing skills rival teams made him play on shitty grass, and that I should seek for a God fearing coach in a city of my choice where I will play on fieldturf as God intended and use my pass rushing skills to deliver respected head coach playoff wins. Sir, I am honourably seeking your assistance in the following ways.

1) To provide a team for me to play on.

2) To serve as the guardian of these skills since I am a man of 33 years.

Moreover Sir, I am willing to offer you 1.5 sacks per game as compensation for effort input after the contract is signed to fund your trip to the Super Bowl. please feel free to contact ,me via this email address
patrickchukwurah@yahoo.com

Anticipating to hear from you soon.
Thanks and God Bless.
Best regards.
Patrick Chukwurah

PLEASE FOR PRIVATE AND SECURITY REASONS,REPLY ME VIA EMAIL:
Patrick Chukwurahl@yahoo.com

Granted, the comment came from, like, the one corner of the internet with a reputation for civilized commenting, but if you think of SBN as a proof-of-concept, it’s almost enough to give one hope.

Coupled with the recent discovery of what The Atlantic called “the single most important comment in the history of Internet comments,” I find myself suddenly hopeful that 2013 can mark a turning point — that we will look back at the Dark Ages of the internet and only dimly recall that there once existed something called Godwin’s Law. We’ve certainly gotten off to a good start. Now, we just have to stay the course.

It’s still early in the year. One can dream.

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