For the most part, readers have accepted my reasons for closing the paper with well-wishes and a sort of enthusiasm. Letters and e-mails have come in almost every day from individuals expressing good luck with notes of understanding. And even though some have conveyed feelings of disappointment, almost each letter has been uplifting.
However, the old saying is true: one bad apple spoils the bunch.
Why is it that we can receive a thousand compliments and pats on the back, and one word of negativity can almost in an instant take all that way – or at least diminish the good that comes from words of encouragement?
One of the last e-mails I received was from a woman in Lamont who criticized me for closing the paper so abruptly. I don’t mind criticism for that. I did pull a fast one. I just don’t understand why people think they have a right to talk down to others, think the worst and then express those thoughts with the intention of harm. I know people find it hard to believe, but newspaper people have feelings, too. We often are accused of not being human, but I can assure you we are.
My crass e-mailer only wrote a few short sentences, each meant to dig a little deeper into my conscience, and she ended her rant with, “It makes one wonder about the motive.” That was the burr that has been stuck under my saddle for a couple days now.
I tried to leave it alone. Generally, I don’t respond to nasty e-mails unless they require clarification of something misunderstood or misinterpreted. This one, however, was a little different. Obviously, this woman thinks I plotted closing the paper for some sort of underhanded personal gain.
I closed for personal gain, yes, but I don’t consider going back to college and spending eight glorious months with my children all to myself a scheme. Did she even read my final column before sending an e-mail accusing me of developing some twisted conspiracy theory for closing up shop?
My first e-mail back to her was simple: “Motive?” I wrote. I did not appreciate her word choice there.
I haven’t heard back from her. I would love an explanation as to why she felt righteous enough to criticize me for making a decision and presenting it honestly and straight-forwardly to our readers.
If anything, e-mails such as hers are EXACTLY one of the reasons why I want to further my education … so I can educate others about the impact of words and how they can leave a bad taste in one’s mouth when used incorrectly or without forethought or just out of plain meanness.
Words are powerful. That’s why I love them so much. I have definitely used them incorrectly and to shame others. I don’t feel good about that, and I have learned from my experiences. I hope I can teach others how to do the same.
We would all do well by learning some tact and exercising respect. That’s a good motive, and one I hope my e-mailer takes into consideration.