Trash Day

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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:

  1. I give Southerners a bad name because of my inability to navigate the English language.
  2. She was thinking of calling my school and demanding my job since I have no business teaching children.
  3. 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.

Sometimes I like to stare at the pretty flames ...

Sometimes I like to stare at the pretty flames …

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.”

You should see these guys with a calculator and a spread sheet.

You should see these guys with a calculator and a spreadsheet.

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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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

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47 responses »

  1. Thanks for stopping by A Slice of Life Writing, Traci. I’m delighted to find your blog and shame on that one commenter for her rudeness. I’m happy you didn’t allow her words to discourage you from continuing your blogging journey. It’s a wonderful path and you’ll find (as I expect you already have judging by the comments here) that it’s peppered with encouraging and uplifting people.

  2. Some people just can’t help themselves. The comments I get have been nice and encouraging in the main but I did have one the other day questioning a fact on my travel blog. I think he had his own agenda but still, it did make me check to be sure I was right. Maybe they should go into proof reading!

    • It really is an issue of people who need something better to do with their time. I can’t imagine why attacking strangers over the internet gives some people such a charge.

  3. I wish you would write my blog; you have a way with words and can turn a phrase that, well, just makes me smile. You had/have the right/write attitude about that crabby granny and good for you she didn’t get to you. Me, I’d even settle for trashy comments just to know someone has a thought 🙂

    • What a compliment to receive given the high caliber of your own writing! But I knew that anyone who could read an anecdote about Maine and make such cutting remarks about my personal life is a few saucers short of a tea party 🙂

  4. Wow–your account of Cranky Britches and her gratuitously scathing comments is simultaneously horrifying and uplifting. I’m sorry you had to endure the flood of bile, which has to be especially acidic for an English teacher, but it’s oddly reassuring to know that even a blogger of your caliber has experienced such an indignity. There’s hope for us all…

    • You’re always so gracious, Rebecca. I use Mean Old Granny as a reminder of how it feels to be flayed and always try to write something uplifting on my students’ work, even when they need to overhaul a draft. Constructive criticism is fine; cruelty is intolerable.

      • Here, here! Some essays require a lot of creativity when crafting the positive teacher responses (I remember writing things like “This idea has some interesting possibilities” when I was really desperate for an uplifting comment), but it’s never wasted effort. Keep up the good work and fine perspective!

    • Facebook, texting, emailing … the whole shooting match. 🙂 Actually, I think I’m one of three people in this country NOT on Facebook. I’m overwhelmed sometimes just with managing my blog!

      • Traci ~ I think I’m the 2nd of the 3 people you mention NOT on Facebook. Although I’m from Canada, I’ll just include myself in your list. Let’s face it, it might still be 3 people even if you add another country into the mix.
        We’re a rare kind these days. You’re the first person, in this blogosphere world, I’ve met who’s not on Facebook – so it’s all sorts of fateful that we ran into each other. 🙂

  5. You’re a better person than I am. I had one very scathing remark about compromising my intergrity by getting a tattoo blah blah blah…I couldn’t help it – I commented back, with scripture – how man looks at the outside and God looks at the heart. I expected more for a fight but that seemed to do the trick. I’ll try the trashcan next time (and will secretly take delight in hitting the delete button)…I’m married to my worst critic – he just knows better than to post it online! 🙂

    • Some people see a positive side to every comment, but certain comments are just blatantly vicious and belong in the trash! And I love that verse from Samuel when he was judging David based on his appearance and God redirected him 🙂

  6. I am so glad you trashed those comments and soldiered on. I would have missed your writing had I known about it at the time and have enjoyed every post since following you 🙂

    • Thanks, Alastair. And I love the fact that while my Black Cloud Granny was close to home, I have a fan overseas! Keep creating your photos and Stillwalks journeys! 🙂

  7. I’m pretty certain I’d take her off my Christmas card list. 🙂 These blog Nazis really bother me, and I do everything I can to block them forever.

    • Too funny! I like the thought of them frantically churning out nasty comments that go straight into the trash where they belong 🙂 Maybe one day they’ll learn the power of kind words!

  8. Only little people “belittle” others. I love your blog and look forward to seeing it in my email. Don’t let Satan steal your joy. I know that it is only a short time before we see your name in lights. And I don’t mean the headlights nor the police car lights. Continue the “good” fight – don’t give in to the jealous enemy. “Haters” are only envious and insecure people. You are the real deal.

  9. Kudos to you! Delete and move on! Try not to dwell. I too had a couple naysayers and as hard as the criticism can be, my thought process went something like this: “How dare you!?”, “I don’t even know you!?”, “Why on earth and I letting this complete stranger get under my skin?”, “See ya, wouldn’t wanna be ya!”
    Just remember, for every negative comment I’m sure there are 10++ positive ones….keep on blogging 🙂

  10. Hooray for you! I’ve had people make totally inappropriate comments on my blog. Recently someone decided that I should have worded something differently: “You might want to delete this comment, but I would suggest you change this ‘….’ to this ‘…'” Not that the way I wrote it was grammatically wrong! It just wasn’t the way SHE would have written it. Also this blogger wrote numerous posts about how to be a successful blogger, as if only she could shed light on the subject. I found her really annoying and unfollowed and spammed her comments. Obviously some people have way too much time on their hands. 🙂

  11. Ouch! That bites. You were much nicer about it than I might have been. I might have trashed her first, let that sit there a few days, then trashed it all. This IS your blog 🙂 You do have a way with words. You can add so much charm to the story of this wicked fairy grandmother that I found it amusing 🙂

  12. I’m glad Grandma is getting a public flogging now for bad blog commenting: spam, trash she deserves it all. But, as always, you have turned trash into gold.

    No conflict, no story, I say. I suspect there was a lot of jealousy in this woman’s system. If I were 68 and old, I would be so jealous of your wit and humor that I couldn’t see straight either!

    • I have a hard time picturing you in a fit of jealousy because you have such a gracious demeanor, Marian. Besides, anyone who’s ever visited your blog can tell how much people love to interact with you and how much they love your posts. And while we may both hit 68 one day, we will never be “old” 😀

  13. You got me at the 68 year old grandmother….I am not sure why people believe they are doing a public service by spreading their cranky. How hard is it to just move to another blog if you have an issue with the one you are reading? Why do some people find it their personal mission to spread their venom?

  14. Way to handle that mean ass granny – and yes, it is unimaginable to think what being around someone like that would be like full-time.
    I can’t stand self proclaimed “grammar nazis” – way to trash her useless comments.
    I’ve had one comment that was just straight up patronizing. The person completely mis-read my actual message and decided to judge rather than inquire (seriously, the message was straight up about self-love/acceptance and the like).
    As she wished me “humility” I ever so humbly reminded her that what we wish for others is what we most need ourselves. Silence….
    After checking her blog out to see if I could learn a thing or two from her apparent perfection I realized we weren’t going to be bff’s anytime soon – not a thing in common up in there.
    Let cranky bitches be…just not in my general vicinity.
    Loved this, a very enjoyable read!
    ~Andrea<3

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