Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Go figure

 As many of you know, I write a weekly column for a local publication. I have wide latitude to write about whatever I wish, and it's largely an Everyman narrative, as an observer of life. My editors are great about posting my exact words, with an occasional spelling or punctuation correction, for which I am grateful. 

Although infrequent, I express an occasional opinion and will sometimes touch on the political landscape. I have readers who agree and disagree with me, and I receive emails from both sides. I am always happy to get feedback, and I enjoy the interaction.

I have no problem with someone taking issue with something I've written and, in fact, some of the more thoughtful correspondence has come from those who disagree. That is fine with me. 

And it's funny, I've been accused of being both far right and far left. People perceive things in a variety of ways. 

I am always quick to say I don't purport to have all the answers on anything. I like to think of myself as a listener, and  I give due consideration to those who send emails taking me to task for something. 

A few months ago, however, a guy sent an email with a subject line that simply read: "What a jerk you are!" There was no additional content. I replied politely, telling him there was nothing other than his subject line, and asking if he meant to say more. (I admit I was almost certain I already knew the answer, but wanted to at least give him the benefit of the doubt). 

His response read as follows: "I don't want to spend any more time on your incredibly dishonest and biased column . . . I have unsubscribe (sic) to the Home news."

There are no paid subscriptions to the publication. You can sign up for a daily email and/or you can agree to donate a nominal amount per month (as little as five dollars) to support the efforts of the publishers, but anyone can read the content for free. 

But since he said he was "unsubscribing," I forwarded the email to my editor, who recommended I not further engage with him. She was not the least bit concerned about losing him as a reader. People who resort to name calling, she said, are not interested in having civil correspondence. I did not reply to his last email. 

That was back in January, right after the storm on the Capitol in Washington. I had written that, in my opinion, then-President Trump had lost any credibility he ever had. Obviously, this reader disagreed. 

Fast forward to last week's installment in which I wrote about the COVID vaccine. You can read it here: 


I thought this was pretty benign, and respectful of others' opinions. But guess who didn't think that? The same guy who in January called me a jerk and told me he was "unsubscribing!" 

He said I might think the vaccine is the way to put this behind us, "but there are a lot of intelligent people that do not agree with you including 40-50% of the health care workers you are praying for."

(I don't think I said I was praying for anyone, but I appreciate his believing I'm a person of faith). 

He also said I was "flippant" and "disingenuous."

There is so much I could have said in my response to him, but I simply thanked him for writing and explained that if I came across as flippant and disingenuous, I must not have done a good job expressing myself. Two people very dear to me died of COVID, I told him, so it's a matter I take seriously. 

I also told him I was glad he was still reading, making a mild jab at his previous email. 

Not surprisingly, I've not heard from him again. 


Jeff said...

it is amazing how thin skinned folks are these days. And I worry that not enough people will be vaccinated even though the vaccinate rates are going way up. Next week, it will be 2 weeks since I had my second shot and I'll be full covered (or 94% covered!).

Bob said...

Same with me, Jeff! Almost there!

The Weaver of Grass said...

I have just had my second jab (Pfizer) here in the UK/ We have to trust our medical advisors wehave to follow their instructions and we all have to hope that one day it will all be behind us. One thing is for sure - if we take no notice of what we are advised to do then the whole wretched out break will take far longer to disappear.

Kelly said...

My entire family (children aside) is almost fully vaccinated. I believe only my older daughter and her SO still need their second shot. My son got the J & J "one and done" the week before it was halted. (he's not worried, nor am I... but I won't get into that) Whether or not they reinstate it (possibly later this week?) I fear it is going to slow down the remainder of the vaccination process. I've read that many who were called to reschedule with an alternate vaccine were opting out entirely. We really need for more than half the population to be immunized.

Ed said...

I find that 80% of the people get riled up when I talk about Trump. 40% think I'm a raving liberal and stop listening after the word Trump. Another 40% think I'm a right winger and stop listening after the word Trump. Only about 20% will listen to anything said after the word Trump. I think you are in this 20% Bob. I can't wait until he is just a footnote and everyone can move on.

Debby said...

These are strange days. Tim and I were coming home from somewhere and there was a big obscene sign about the president and the vice president which suggested that she slept her way to the top. I said, "When do you suppose that this craziness will stop? When will people take down their trump flags and their yard signs and their f Biden signs?" and Tim said, "Never. It will never be over. "

His answer shocked me. I hope he's wrong.