Coronavirus doesn’t stop Calgary man from spreading laughs globally via text message

Calgary man said he's had enough with social distancing and has started random, good-natured text fights

The usual set-up message for how Brad Penman starts a fight. CONTRIBUTED.

After Calgary man Brad Penman shared Facebook posts about random coronavirus “fights” that he initiated with strangers via text, the world answered with laughter and gratefulness.

A few days ago, Penman had selected random phone numbers and invited them to an arranged jousting via text message.

“I got bored of not talking to or interacting with people, so I started picking fights and people started laughing,” Penman told LiveWire Calgary

Penman said he decided to start picking virtual fights because he was bored with the current demand for social distancing in the coronavirus world and wanted to entertain his friends. He never intended for his actions to get attention.

“A couple of my friends are on immunosuppressants, so they can’t leave the house at all, and I figured I might as well make them giggle,” he said.

“A friend of mine told me to take my posts off of private, because they were funny, and it exploded. To be honest, what I did was pure stupidity just to entertain my friends.”

Social media accounts exploding

Now, Penman’s social media accounts have more than 1,000 followers each, whereas before, Penman said his Instagram had no followers and his Facebook was only followed by people he knew.

“The next thing I knew I was getting messages from Australia, New Zealand and Uganda with people basically thanking me for making them laugh,” he said.

The nature of the conversation that Penman was posting has been somewhat vulgar. He said that he hasn’t gotten any criticisms, nor has he said anything bigoted in the texts.

“That’s the weird thing, I haven’t had anybody crap on me yet,” he said.

Penman said he hasn’t been able to go through all of his comments on his social media accounts, estimating there are about 2,000 unread comments.

Penman said he always asks “I’m bored, you down to fight?” before engaging.

“[The fights] are supposed to be in good nature and non-threatening,” he said.

“It’s just easier to say ‘I’m bored, do you wanna scrap,’ kind of thing.”

Text ‘fights’ going beyond Alberta borders

People have also posted area codes and phone numbers with requests for Penman to start fights.

“I had probably 200 messages of people giving me their phone numbers, or other people’s numbers. I’ve messaged those people telling them not to put their phone number on the Internet,” Penman said.

He said that people also have reached about how the state of the world is affecting them negatively, and how his tirade of posts have lifted their spirits.

“I’ve got lingering messages about people who are suppressed and depressed, not because they chose to be, but because they have to, and they’re saying I’m making them smile,” he said.

Will the show go on?

Penman doesn’t know if he’ll continue with challenging people to verbal jousts over text messages. He just hopes people enjoy it for what it is and don’t take it too seriously.

“I’m not saying I want all this attention, but at the same time, there is a lot of people laughing and cheering me on,” he said.

“I’m kind of at odds with what the hell do next. I’m not driven off the accolade, and I’m not making anything off of this, it’s just to keep people happy and sane.”

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