How to be a Troll, by Benjamin Franklyn

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Posted in another group today, but seemed apropos given what the last
couple of days here have been like:

From the Pennsylvania Gazette, November 15, 1750


Rules for Making Oneself a Disagreeable Companion

RULES, by the Observation of which, a Man of Wit and Learning may
nevertheless make himself a disagreeable Companion.

Your Business is to shine; therefore you must by all means prevent the
shining of others, for their Brightness may make yours the less
distinguish'd. To this End,

1. If possible engross the whole Discourse; and when other Matter
fails, talk much of your-self, your Education, your Knowledge, your
Circumstances, your Successes in Business, your Victories in Disputes,
your own wise Sayings and Observations on particular Occasions, &c.
&c. &c.;

2. If when you are out of Breath, one of the Company should seize the
Opportunity of saying something; watch his Words, and, if possible,
find somewhat either in his Sentiment or Expression, immediately to
contradict and raise a Dispute upon. Rather than fail, criticise even
his Grammar.

3. If another should be saying an indisputably good Thing; either give
no Attention to it; or interrupt him; or draw away the Attention of
others; or, if you can guess what he would be at, be quick and say it
before him; or, if he gets it said, and you perceive the Company
pleas'd with it, own it to be a good Thing, and withal remark that it
had been said by Bacon, Locke, Bayle, or some other eminent Writer;
thus you deprive him of the Reputation he might have gain'd by it, and
gain some yourself, as you hereby show your great Reading and Memory.

4. When modest Men have been thus treated by you a few times, they
will chuse ever after to be silent in your Company; then you may shine
on without Fear of a Rival; rallying them at the same time for their
Dullness, which will be to you a new Fund of Wit.

Thus you will be sure to please yourself. The polite Man aims at
pleasing others, but you shall go beyond him even in that. A Man can
be present only in one Company, but may at the same time be absent in
twenty. He can please only where he is, you where-ever you are not.

If you always do what you've always done, you'll always get what you've
always got.

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