All right, kids, true confession time: What is the most shameful, unflattering reaction you've had to a breakup? Perhaps there was some deliciously nasty form of vengeance involved?

I'll go first. I once had a miniature bonfire of my ex-boyfriend's head cut out of multiple photos after he informed me that we should no longer have any interactions, romantic or otherwise.

"It's not your looks," I remember him telling me. "It's your personality."


Over the next several months, I cried, gloated when I kissed other boys, and wrote bad poetry. This was 14 years ago. I was 16.

So why am I sharing this shameful time from half a lifetime ago? Because we've probably all done idiotic things in the name of heartbreak at some point in our lives. But burning photos, eating too much ice cream, even having revenge sex, these actions are not actually going to harm anyone else.

I recently heard a story about a ... well, man is too kind, troll would be more appropriate, who is taking pains to speak ill of a woman with whom he had a brief romantic interlude. And by "brief romantic interlude" I mean one date.

And, oh yeah, this was decades ago. Decades. More decades than I've been alive.

As my sister used to say, with extreme incredulity, who does that?

Bullying and rumor-spreading are hot topics right now. Efforts like the "It Gets Better" project, started by syndicated columnist Dan Savage, are working to combat the harm. Teenagers are at the center of this eddy, but as you can see from the twit to whom I made reference, adults are certainly not immune from such behavior.

No, being young is not an excuse for treating people poorly, even people who are unkind to you. This is a lesson straight out of "Bambi": "If you can't say something nice, don't say nothing at all." However, there's something of a learning curve. There comes a point where we all should have learned.

If I could offer an unsolicited, unexpert point of view to young people about heartbreak, it would be that no one is worth taking vengeance upon. Trying to hurt someone, even someone who hurt you, is beneath you. What's the expression? Living well is the best revenge? (And yeah, sometimes, the pint of New York Super Fudge Chunk helps). And none of this "I'll never find love again" wailing. You will.

But to people like The Troll ... well, I'd have plenty to say, but hardly any of it is printable, or indeed, nice.

Guess it's time to watch "Bambi" again.