I did it again.

I was terribly unkind and I can't fix it, but it was three months ago. Three. And now, it's come and bit me in the ass in a most undignified way. I feel terrible, almost victimized, but I created the whole situation myself; from my living room. The majority of my problem social interactions, occur when I am all alone. It is just me and my computer and a hundred or so of my nearest, dearest, cyber-friends. I relish the anonymity. It gives me a cloak of confidence I would never have face to face, where I tend to stutter and use 'um' a lot. It also enables me to feel righteous, self-important, and smarter than most (even though, as I realize now, learning how to write a paragraph in college may not qualify me for those accolades.)

Alone, in my living room, just me and my computer, I can be quite mean.

So here is what I did: Three months ago, I wrote a rude, snarky, letter to the editor of a magazine I hate. It was pretty inappropriate, and cutting in my disdain. The following day I received an email response saying, "Too funny!" That was it. I promptly forgot about the whole letter writing debacle until last week, the editor/publisher, sent me a reply. It was devastatingly weird, but in an unbelievable way. I couldn't stand keeping the letter to myself and irresponsibly sent it on to my internet friends at my favorite foodie blog. The letter was funny. No one was meant to get hurt. I imagined sharing in technological camaraderie with my fellow foodie friends; sitting on our weathered leather chairs, in our oldest jammies, sipping coffee and laughing at some other nameless person's wackiness. Mean-spirited, yes, life changing, no. Unless that is, someone isn't operating with the same jaded sense of incognito the rest of us are wallowing in.


Her heart was on her sleeve and I smashed it. By myself, in my living room, I smashed it. Most people blame the editor of the FOOD magazine. I don't. I blame myself. I stirred the pot and then left the room when I realized the soup was going to boil over. In my nameless bravado, I felt the need to be vindicated and demanded a cyber-reckoning...and got it.


Allyson said...

Umm...wow. So, I don't think you should feel so guilty. I think this poor editor obviously has emotional problems and someone needed to let her know that her mag. was going under.

mhgood said...

Man, I read all the comments over on the FHN site from when they posted your story, and--WOW!

Look, no matter the spirit in which you sent your criticism (mean, true, or not), that editor's response was way far out of line for a professional. And THEN, no matter the spirit or hopes you had in sending in to the FHN site her crazy-silly response, her commented replies to THAT were way outta line for a decent human being! I mean, sure, some of the other comments on there were rude, personal attacks, and stupid, but this editor shouldn't have even bothered to respond, if she wanted to keep a decent level of professionalism.

So, sure, maybe your original criticism in your letter was a bit rude, stirring a pot that didn't need stirring. Maybe. I'll concede. But her response absolves you of guilt, I'd say. Her double (triple if you count her flippant "Too funny!" email) response displays her immaturity and inanity. You actually deserve thanks for exposing the editor of this magazine to all of us. Who knows? I might have been tempted to buy the next issue, since Guy will be on the cover. Now I know to run away as fast as I can. You've done me a favour and saved me some money.

Oh, yeah, and you've directed me to a website that will provide lots of eyebrow raising moments of laughter. So, thanks!