This is for all of you who have ever encountered a guest on your blog who was – how shall I say this? – less than encouraging about your post. Allow me to recount just such a time and give you the pep talk you need.
My blog was still in its infancy, not even enough miles for an oil change, when a woman stopped by to comment on the four posts that comprised the entirety of my work. I was journaling a trip to Maine in segments, and I was having a blast reliving the moments and adding the pictures. Sure, I had read through the anecdotes before posting them, but I had also determined that if I had a typo in them, the world could still go on spinning on its axis without causing serious damage to populations in other countries. I was wrong. And this lady felt compelled to show me the error of my ways.
My crimes were twofold: first, I had mistyped has for had; and if I had checked the grammar handbook for bloggers, I would have realized that this is a capital offense punishable by flogging. And if a cat o’ nine tails isn’t available, then you get really nasty comments instead. Second, I had used the term tranq gun, and this really ripped the lid right off of Pandora’s Box. Because of these flagrant indiscretions against humanity, this lovely woman tried to lead me gently back to the straight and narrow by stating the following:
- I give Southerners a bad name because of my inability to navigate the English language.
- She was thinking of calling my school and demanding my job since I have no business teaching children.
- Someone of my inferior intellect does not deserve to marry anyone unless the groom is an absolute idiot.
She left four comments, each one more uplifting than the last, until the warm and fuzzy feeling I had inside made me want to sing the Coca Cola song while swaying with a lit candle. Not that someone with my meager IQ can be trusted with fire.
So as I sat there looking at my blog that was barely a fortnight in age, I wondered if I could expect this level of insightful criticism from all of my readers. But then I thought that this person must surely be a cutthroat editor who, not having enough to edit during the day, must surf the web at night and offer her skills to those in sore need of literary attention. But imagine my surprise when I found her on Facebook (she included particulars in her comments) and learned that she was a 68 year old grandmother. Yikes. I suddenly had a vision of what it must have been like growing up in her household as one of her children.
“What do you mean you want to try out for cheerleading? Do you really think they’ll choose someone as ugly, fat and clumsy as you, Linda?”
“You want to be the treasurer of your class, Henry? I’ve seen thumbtacks with better budgeting sense.”
I’m sure that life with her as a mother was one big Smile-n-Hug fest. One of the first things I did was call my own mom and thank her for being an encouragement in my life. Second, I decided that I wouldn’t publish her scathing comments for two reasons.
- I felt a sense of pity for her. While I expect maturity and a sense of human decency from someone who has marked time for almost 7 decades, I was saddened to see this willful exposure of pettiness and malice. I felt like an emotional flasher had stumbled upon my blog and tried to expose her naked nastiness, and my choice of placing her comments in the trash was an act of kindness that provided a shield between her worst parts and the world.
- This is my blog. Let Cranky Britches get her own.
So allow me to wrap up this trip down memory lane by saying that this is the only time I’ve encountered such raw bile in a reader. There may be others out there, but if they appear on my blog, I’ll simply move them and their comments into the rubbish pile along with the rest of the porn. I enjoy writing; I’ve had a blast blogging. And if you have taken any such hits, then be encouraged. Go back to doing what you love. Don’t let Grandma get you down.
© 2014 – Traci Carver