While I’m not always able to reply to email, I love getting comments from readers — I do personally read them all. I even appreciate the bad stuff. I prefer the fun stuff, of course, but even rants can be useful. Here’s one of each type, so you get the idea:
After I used a quote from Romanian philosopher Emil Cioran as one of my taglines, Doru, a Romanian-born writer living in Japan, wrote “Lovely surprise, lad, seeing you read good books. I only hope you didn’t find the quote somewhere on the bloody net. :-)” (I indeed didn’t.)
And, he added, “Keep up the good stuff, your letter makes a lot of people laugh (and groan, and swear, and light a Marlboro while opening the wine muttering ‘stupid gits’ under their breath).”
The Other Side of the Coin
But not everyone gets it. After rolling my eyes over a guy in Tennessee who wants to “do the good ol’ boy thing” (his quote, not mine) and marry his car — and literally tried to get a marriage license to do it.
My tagline was, “And all this time we thought the ‘good ol’ boy thing’ was to marry your cousin.”
A reader who Doru might refer to as a “stupid git,” Dan, rather took offense:
As a southern man, I’m deeply offended by your crude remark about marrying my cousin. … If I have to file suit to get this stopped, I will. [emphasis added]
My response: my mailing address is — as always — included in every issue; be sure to send my summons via Registered Mail. Dan continues:
Individuals of all kinds have their idiosyncrasies but to lable [sic] ANY group is wrong. Not that it really makes any difference, aristocracy in history offen [sic] married close relatives to keep the blood line and money in control. We know what happens to both humans and animals when they are interbread [sic], that’s why there are laws against it.
All I can figure is Dan “thought” that the “your” in the story meant him, specifically, and every other reader in the world knew him, and knew it referred to him.
Confusion does not have to be sputtering, however. Joe in Massachusetts (who wanted me to know “You do good things for many, man. Thank you.” — thank you, Joe!) had a question that comes up now and then:
In the honorary unsubscribe, were all these powerfully independent thinkers subscribers to your newsletter? I assumed so, but with a person of great capability and renown signing off every week, I’m just starting to feel doubt. Perhaps you are simply referring to the Big Unsubscribe.
Just so. I indeed can’t know who is reading this since anyone can put any name they want on their email. The “Honorary Unsubscribe” is just that: honorary.
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Nope: Dan didn’t sue. He apparently unsubscribed in protest, though.
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