What kind of sad person reads a story—say, on CNN.com—and is so outraged by its tone that he (and, sorry normal guys, it's inevitably a he) researches the writer, finds her blog, reads every page of it and then fires her off a nasty email? Two days in a row? Does this person have nothing better to do with his time? Doesn't he have a job? A wife? A life? As the New York Times illustrated last week, generally not.
I'm no stranger to hate mail. I get it fairly often and mostly it amuses me—except for the death threat. That wasn't so funny. Mostly I just ignore it, but this week I received two letters in two days—both from the same freak. Here's the second one:
Ah, the fat card. As any woman who's ever put herself out there knows, the f-bomb is the preferred insult d'jour. Furthermore, it doesn't matter if the woman i's a size two or 20—this is always the first bomb lobbed her way. Normally I just ignore these jerks—because honestly, I don't care if some shut-in thinks I'm fat or ugly or a slut (#2 and #3 on the most-used insult hit parade). But this week I had a little time on my hands, so I did a little research.
Google revealed that—shock of shocks—my troll is a fattie. He's also, wait for it—an IT guy. No offense to normal, cute, dorky IT dudes. If anything, you guys should be really pissed that this guy is reinforcing negative stereotypes. So I wrote back to this fella—whose name I will kindly conceal—and asked him a few questions that he was generous enough (flattered by the attention enough?) to answer. Here's what I wrote:
Hi [REDACTED BECAUSE I'M NICE],
I'm actually curious as to what kind of person sits down, researches and then writes "insulting" (I guess that's what you're going for) letters to people they've never even met? I'm actually not terribly insulted, because you're right—I could lose some weight—and there's also the fact that I don't especially care what you or anyone else thinks of me, lookswise. As long as you read what I write, I continue to get paid.
But, like I mentioned, if you could, please take a few minutes and
answer the following questions—after all, I'm pretty open about who I
* Are you straight or gay?
* Who is your favorite writer?
* Do you have a job? I don't need identifying details, I'm just wondering what it might be.
* Are you single or in a relationship?
* Do you consider yourself a happy person?
* How many of these types of letters would you guesstimate you write a week?
* What charities do you support?
* What is your relationship with your family like?
Also, dude, if this is you [Redacted website featuring a photo of a rather rotund gentleman], I wouldn't be throwin' around the fattie card! I'm just sayin'. . .
He actually answered and, as I mentioned, he fit the troll stereotype to a T (for troll):
3. Network Manager II ($50K/Year)
5. Define Happy
6. You're the first
7. Texas Marine Mammal Stranding Network
8. I just sent my nephew a fly fishing rod for his camping trip with me
I know I am a bit overweight, but hey I am not the one writing dating advice
A miserable, divorced, overweight IT guy who hasn't read a novel since The Scarlet Letter in grade school. Could he possibly be more of a cliché?
Can I just say that I have yet to receive a nasty note from a hot, happy, together guy—I guess that's because they're out there having lives and getting laid. Yet instead of feeling vindicated, this is actually quite sad. I mean, I'm not feeling full-on sorry for my IT troll, but imagining him sitting there alone, in a basement office lit only by computer screens, wearing a slogan t-shirt covered in Twinkie crumbs, shaking his fists towards the heavens at the gall of these uppity internet broads . . . well, I feel a dollop of empathy mixed in with my scorn.
So I hope any of you ladies in a similar position to mine—on the receiving end of insulting hate mail because you have the ovaries to put yourself out there—will picture this guy the next time some internet jerk calls you fat or ugly or slutty or whatever. Because the source is most likely kinda sad.