I Wish I Were More Like My Online Persona

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Shoddy Chinese-Made Stock Market Collapses

SHANGHAI—Proving to be just as flimsy and precarious as many observers had previously warned, the Chinese-made Shanghai Composite index completely collapsed Monday, sources confirmed.

Why Westerners Join ISIS

With more than 150 Americans accused of attempting to fight alongside ISIS in Syria and countless young Europeans allegedly joining or supporting the terrorist group, many are left wondering what a population of extremists has to offer Westerners a world away. Here are some reasons these people might want to ally with ISIS

Nicaraguan Diplomat Drops Deadly Spider Onto John Kerry’s Blanket

ISLA GRANDE DEL MAÍZ, NICARAGUA—Creeping stealthily into the bungalow where John Kerry lay sleeping after a trade summit Thursday, Nicaraguan Minister of Foreign Affairs Samuel Santos López, illuminated only by a sliver of moon, reportedly slid open the lid of a small pine box and released a deadly Brazilian wandering spider onto the blanket of his American counterpart.

What’s Next For U.S.-Cuban Relations

After 54 years of closure, the U.S. embassy in Havana and the Cuban embassy in Washington, D.C. each began flying their flags once more this week, a symbol of the restored diplomatic ties between the two nations. Here is what we can expect from the relationship going forward

U.S. Soothes Upset Netanyahu With Shipment Of Ballistic Missiles

WASHINGTON—Following Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s heated objections to the nuclear deal struck between the United States and Iran, American officials announced Tuesday that they were calming the upset head of government by treating him to a nice, big shipment of ballistic missiles.

World Begins Another Day At Mercy Of 19-Year-Old Estonian Hacker

TALLINN, ESTONIA—With the private data of national governments and entire global industries at his fingertips, sources confirmed this morning that yet another day had begun with the whole world helplessly at the mercy of 19-year-old Estonian computer hacker Jüri Pevkur.

FIFA Frantically Announces 2015 Summer World Cup In United States

Global Soccer Tournament To Kick Off In America Later This Afternoon

ZURICH—After the Justice Department indicted numerous executives from world soccer’s governing body on charges of corruption and bribery, frantic and visibly nervous officials from FIFA held an impromptu press conference Wednesday to announce that the United States has been selected to host this summer’s 2015 World Cup.

Items Found In Bin Laden’s Compound

On Wednesday, the U.S. government declassified more than 400 documents and other material seized from Osama bin Laden’s Pakistan hideout during the 2011 raid that resulted in his death. Here are some of the items found in the former al-Qaeda leader’s compound

U.S. Worried About Living Up To Netanyahu Campaign Promises

WASHINGTON—Saying the Likud Party leader had set Israeli citizens’ expectations extremely high in the run up to his reelection Tuesday, top-level sources expressed their worry Wednesday about whether the United States would actually be able to...

A Timeline Of U.S.-Israel Relations

A congressional visit from Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu that has reportedly rankled President Obama is the latest issue in what have often been strained diplomatic ties between the two countries.

Mankind Tired Of Having To Remind Itself Of Good In World

PARIS—In the wake of this week’s terrorist attacks on French newspaper Charlie Hebdo and two ensuing armed standoffs that together left over a dozen innocent civilians dead, humankind admitted Friday that it is sick and tired of having ...

Schlubs From U.S., China Meet In Lowest-Level Talks

BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA—In an effort to strengthen diplomatic ties between the global superpowers’ most oafish representatives, sources confirmed Thursday that schlubs from the United States and China met in Australia this week for a series of low...

Iranian Team Openly Working On Bomb In Negotiating Room

VIENNA—Asserting the Middle Eastern nation’s right to a safe, peaceful energy program, members of the Iranian diplomatic team attempted to seek more favorable terms of a deal with the P5+1 global powers while openly assembling a nuclear weapon...

Where Is Kim Jong-Un?

North Korean supreme leader Kim Jong-un has not been seen in public since September 3. Here is the latest speculation on his whereabouts

How China Stifles Dissent

Recent clashes with pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong have refocused international scrutiny on the Chinese government’s efforts to quell social unrest and silence demonstrators.

Nation Admits It Could Probably Be Talked Into Another War

WASHINGTON—While they acknowledged that getting behind such a plan might take a little convincing, the American populace admitted this week that they could, in all likelihood, be talked into another war. Citizens across the nation told reporters tha...

Ugly Custody Battle Over Ian McKellen Narrowly Avoided

EDINBURGH, SCOTLAND—Following Scotland’s referendum Thursday rejecting independence from the United Kingdom, sources confirmed that a protracted and ugly custody battle over celebrated actor Sir Ian McKellen had been narrowly avoided.

Tips For Achieving Peace In The Middle East

With the Israeli-Palestinian conflict escalating, sectarian violence boiling over in Iraq, and Syria mired in a civil war that’s now more than three years old, the Middle East continues to be plagued by bloodshed and unrest.

Experts: Ebola Vaccine At Least 50 White People Away

CONAKRY, GUINEA—With the death toll in West Africa continuing to rise amid a new outbreak of the Ebola virus, leading medical experts announced Wednesday that a vaccine for the deadly disease is still at least 50 white people from being developed.

Who Is Vladimir Putin?

After troops from his country forcibly seized Crimea earlier this year, Russian president Vladimir Putin is back in the news for allegedly arming separatists in eastern Ukraine with the missiles that are believed to have taken down Malaysia Airlines Fl...

Understanding The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

Tensions have quickly escalated in Gaza following the recent collapse of peace talks and the subsequent kidnappings and murders of Israeli and Palestinian teens, with Israeli citizens now threatened by daily rocket fire from Hamas while Gaza residents ...

What Is ISIS?

The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, a formerly al-Qaeda–aligned organization known by the acronym ISIS, has been seizing cities in Iraq, carrying out mass killings, and marching toward Baghdad.

Understanding The Situation In Iraq

Violence has escalated in Iraq in recent weeks as the Sunni Islamist militant group ISIS has seized control of numerous cities and continued its advance toward the capital, Baghdad.
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I Wish I Were More Like My Online Persona

In the online world, I, Hankscorpio74, am known to be charismatic, tough, quick-witted, and tenacious as a copperhead snake. Like my namesake, Globex Corporation president Hank Scorpio, I am roguish and unflappable, possessing the confidence and flair of 20 men. Unfortunately, all of that changes when I drag my cursor down to "Shut Down" at the bottom of the "Special" menu. For all the admiration and respect I command in chat rooms, in real life, it's a different story. Oh, how I wish I were more like my online persona.

Online, I am king. No matter how formidable people may be in real life, the moment they try to mess with Hankscorpio74, they are sure to get the horns. (Or, to be more exact, the Doomsday Device.) When Hankscorpio74 suavely struts into a chat room, all the ladies are on him like Mynocks on the Millennium Falcon. Yet I have a hard time imagining the real-life Douglas Peltz being able to woo Hottie69 and LittlepartyChick into a private room for a "more intimate gathering" like Hank did a few weeks back in that chat room.

When a woman catches my eye in the real world, I'm usually too scared to talk. And, in the rare instance that I somehow muster the courage, I am met with barely concealed disgust. Is it my fault that Douglas Peltz has bad skin and a chronic runny nose? I often wonder if any of these ladies I see in real life are ones Hankscorpio74 has met and seduced on the Internet. Knowing how many conquests he's piled up, it's likely.

As masterful as I am throughout the Internet, there is one particular place where I am truly godlike: the Literati™ site under Yahoo! Games. Only the most brave or foolish dare challenge me, and both are disposed of with uncommon haste. I have seen web postings where people have discussed my Übermove. The Übermove is when I allow a mentally inferior opponent to get slightly ahead, causing him to grow more confident and, by extension, complacent. Then, when he least expects it, I put down all my tiles, not only getting the extra 35 points but demoralizing him thoroughly. The respect, fear, and admiration I earn with such moves stands in sharp contrast to the way I used to be treated in the high-school cafeteria, where my few friends and I would play travel Scrabble while being pelted by Nutty bars.

In the real world, I am at best ignored and at worst mocked and scorned. Yet, if my persecutors were playing Half-Life Team Fortress, they would be whistling a different tune as I expertly sniped them time and time again. Would my old high-school nemesis Doug Kilkrane have knocked my books out of my hands every day before science class if he knew the fear I strike into the hearts of opponents at Buffy The Vampire Slayer trivia? What has Doug Kilkrane done, other than throw baseballs well and date Amy Cass? Dick.

Hopefully, as I get older, aspects of my online persona will slowly creep into my real-life persona. Perhaps Hankscorpio74 will take over my actual personality, much like the ultra-suave Vic Ferrari occasionally took over Latka Gravas' on Taxi. Then again, I wouldn't want Hankscorpio74 to completely take over: The Douglas Peltz half helps balance out Hankscorpio74, giving him some much-needed humanity and humility.

If Hankscorpio74 were to completely take over, God help everyone, because no one would be able to stop him. But I suppose the only way that'd happen is if the real world became just like the Internet. Which probably won't happen too soon.

Oh, well.