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If you, like me, have difficulty sleeping through the night, you probably have tried waiting out the darkness on-line, playing your favorite card and board games with strangers and “friends” all over the world. Not only does this stretch our brains and boost our memory skills, it helps us connect to others with similar interests and provides increased opportunities to socialize (even for those who are housebound). Unfortunately, it also increases our exposure to cyber bullies. who take advantage of the anonymity afforded by the Internet to unleash personal, psychological attacks.

Recently, I was playing beginner bridge when one of my opponents began complaining that I was playing too slowly. Not wanting to reveal my vulnerability, I simply said that I was having problems with my mouse. That was not good enough for “Luckycharm” who was relentless in her criticism of my abilities, and complained that my “slowness” wasn’t “fair” to the others at the table.

Should I tell her that I have Parkinson's disease and that slowness of movement is a main characteristic of this illness? Must each of us reveal our pre-existing conditions to qualify to play in a cyber game? Perhaps there should be a spot for this information under each person’s profile so the “imperfect” can be segregated in rooms where the “temporarily healthy” don’t have to be inconvenienced by our disabilities?



Sheryl playing online Bridge

Before I could formulate an answer, Luckycharm announced that she has MS, and would not be moved by my “playing the sympathy card.” Obviously not if this is as compassionate as she gets after living with her own incurable disease ... assuming she is who she says she is.

Refusing to allow Luckycharm the satisfaction of bullying me into quitting, I stayed in the game and ignored her. In the end, my bridge partner and I came from behind to win the match. Our victory spoke for itself.


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blogger partner WPC 2016 in Portland