Note: The following entry contains some pretty foul language. Or at least, almost contains some pretty foul language. In repeating the choicest parts of an email I recieved last night, I had to redact some of the letters, but you can still tell what was being said. So, if you’re offended by reading almost-complete profanity, or if you’re one of my nieces, nephews, cousins, etc., who are too young to read such things, skedattle. Go on now. Git.
So, due to the lovely economy, my publisher doesn’t have much in the way of advertising funds, which means I’m doing the majority of the legwork on spreading the word about the book. As part of that, I’ve been commenting on any blogs or websites I come across that mention “real-life superheroes” (The subject of my book. But you already knew that, because you’ve purchased 12 copies each, right?). I usually try to ease into my spiel, or ask the owner’s permission before I post a comment because, let’s face it, it’s technically spam, and no one likes a spammer. However, last night I was tired from helping rearrange the bedroom all evening, so I just put up a generic message on the sites I hit, saying “Hey, I’ve got a book about this…blah blah blah…free PDF of first 1 1/2 chapters…blah blah blah…thanks.”
Within minutes of posting on one woman’s blog, I got a response that started with “Dear C**tbag,” and ended with “…and I hope you go die in a fire.” The middle was three paragraphs of similar, focusing mainly on the fact that “it’s because of c*mstains like you that I have to moderate this sh*t.”
Yikes stripes. I thought that was a wee bit of an overreaction, but that’s just me. In Internetville, wishing a painful death upon a father of three may be a perfectly proportional response to the mild inconvenience of having to click the “delete” or “do not approve” buttons on your blog dashboard (or just not approve it by doing absolutely nothing at all). In real-people land, however, I think it shows a remarkable lack of perspective. But again, that’s just me.
I’m not one to get into fights with strangers via email, so I just replied with a chipper, “You’re funny. I like you.” Needless to say, I haven’t heard from the young lady since. Good lord, I hope she’s a young lady. Like 13, 14? It would be doubly disturbing to think of an adult choosing to respond that way.
Anyway, as I said, I don’t want to fight with the shrill harpy who sent this, and I don’t want anyone else to, either, which is why I’m not mentioning her name or email address or website.
I’m assuming she’s either a.) mentally unbalanced, b.) 13, and just coming into that first rush of hormones that makes idiots of everyone between 12 and 20 (for men, 12 and 30), or c.) a really sad, angry, lonely person. No matter which, arguing with her would be like boxing a terminally ill TB patient: if I get the best of her, I’m a colossal jerk, and if I don’t, then I got beat up beat up by a termally ill TB patient.
There’s really nothing in that for Mikey.
I will make one comment on the language used by the repugnant virago, though.
I’m no prude, and I’ve been known to let a few choice words drop at what I deemed to be the appropriate time, but damn. (See?) That was pretty much all there was in her email – one foul, unrepeatable word after another. I read once that “profanity is the attempt of a lazy and feeble mind to express itself forcefully.” I like that. It cuts right to the source of the issue: if you’re too lazy or ignorant to express your point in a strong and intelligent way, just toss some f**ks and c**ts and c*mstains in there and it’ll make you sound, to you at least, like a force be reckoned with instead of a puerile fishwife.
So instead of arguing with or insulting the vicious termagant, let me just say to everyone out there: if someone pisses you off, especially if it’s unintentional, or if it’s something that you can just ignore and not have it affect your life in the least, then let it go.
Take a deep, cleansing breath, let it out, and move on. If you feel you must, go ahead and write the person, but it would be a good idea to at least start off being civil, see if there’s a reasonable explanation for what they’ve done. Say, that they’ve spent three years of their life writing a book, travelling around the country, missing time with family and friends, and spending all your advance money on hotels and rental cars. You never know.
Or, failing all that, you can just blog about it. Personally, I hold no ill will against the woman who wrote me and wish the vituperative harridan all the best.
PS: At the risk of receiving a hateful diatribe from myself for spamming my own blog, let me remind you you can still get the first 1 1/2 chapters of I, Supehero!! free just by writing to firstname.lastname@example.org and asking for it!