Sometimes I don't respond to a comment for a day or two because I don't have reliable internet access. Sometimes I don't respond to a comment for a day or two because I need to chill.
It's nearly winter (even though in my neck of the plains-meet-foothills we keep reverting back to Indian summer -- and that's NOT a complaint), so perhaps it was high time I join my hardy outdoor flowers for a nearly freezing night or two and put myself on ice.
Or attempt to address my emotions with what I hope is a gut-busting response...
I've been blogging now for five years, four months and one week. I've been publishing free snowflake patterns since September 2009. In all that time, I've had six anonymous comments that brought me to tears and made me want to quit blogging altogether.
And now, because I've turned off anonymous commenting (due to spam, not because of rude, mean people), I have a new flame to add to the fire of warmth this cheerful, giving time of year.
I recently experienced an email exchange with a not-so-happy reader, and nothing I wrote could calm the volcanic eruption of criticism. On the bright side, at least this person wasn't anonymous.
As I attempted to keep my cool and be professional and understanding, a list I wrote back in 2011 to humor myself after one of the snarky anonymous comments came to mind.
Why is it jerks know just when you are at your lowest? Why is is some people think kicking a downed man (or in this case, a grieving snowflake designer) is so pleasurable? Five of the six unfavorable comments came while I was least prepared, able and willing to deal with snottiness. One landed on my blog while we were attending the unexpected funeral for my brother-in-law. The next came while one of my closest friends was dying of ovarian cancer. When my sister-in-law had to be isolated during her radiation treatments when she was battling cancer, I should have expected the meanest comment of all. But I didn't. I should have anticipated another zinger the day I was diagnosed with degenerative disc disorder due to trauma to the disc. But I didn't.
So, when that sixth mean comment arrived and I wasn't writhing in emotional pain and struggling to escape a vacuum-tight atmosphere of hopelessness and discouragement, man, did the humor muscle kick in full bore! I composed a list of potential but unpublishable responses, which in turn enabled me to compose and publish a kind, gracious response.
While trying to chill out during my most recent round of Cafe Mean Expresso, the list came to mind again. Remembering specifically Star Wars-influenced Number Five got me through the roughest part of the exchange, and I was able to blow off my hurt feelings and frustration without returning insults in kind.
Here is my face-saving list from when the anonymean sixth comment seeped through the spam cracks.
1. Is there an easy way to put non-handknit, dirty, smelly, used, worn, acrylic socks in the mouths of rude people? Or tie their fingers together so they can't type?
2. Dear Anonymous: Because my sole purpose in life is to please you and because what you want is all that matters in the world, I will now go harass a grasshopper or two. Thanks for making my day! (I'd been berated that week because I'd tongue-in-cheek blogged about stomping on the swarm of grasshoppers devouring my garden.)
3. Um, read the sidebar, which gives step-by-step instructions, plus how to change your computer settings back when you're done, complete with a link for how to easily print without having to change your computer settings. Or be unselfish for a minute and donate to a worthy cause (the fight against multiple sclerosis) and get a whole pdf booklet of snowflake patterns you can easily print on white paper. That's in the sidebar, too.
4. Don't just look at the pretty pictures. Take a minute and read why the pretty pictures are there. You might learn something. Or maybe your brain will explode and you'll be able to leave me alone.
5. These are not the snowflakes you are looking for. Move along.
6. Can you see me rolling my eyes and sticking my tongue out at you?
7. Do a search for free snowflake patterns on easy-to-print blogs. I'm sure you'll come up with something.
8. This ain't amazon.com, Lady.
9. Ante up for my annual secure server fee, monthly internet fees, phone bill (because I am dial-up powered), electric bill, my aging and ailing computer, my software, my sleepless nights, my crochet hooks, my thread and the reading glasses I just had to buy so I can keep going, and I'll consider redesigning my blog to please someone who doesn't give a hoot about anything published here but just the friggin' patterns. For about 10 minutes. If I'm in the mood. That doesn't mean I'll actually change anything, but I do promise to briefly think about it.
10. I'm too busy climbing mountains and riding my bike to respond right now, but take a number, and I'll get right back to you.
11. I'm not getting paid for any of this.
12. Using this pattern without fully intellectually digesting the heavily researched mountain history that inspired this pattern is punishable to the fullest extent of the law.
13. I'm going to write a mountain history next week, and you have to design your own snowflake to go with it.
14. Why don't you invest all the money you've saved by using free patterns to enroll in a beginning computer class?
I felt so much better after I composed this list, I wondered if I should save it and publish it on my blog one day. Laughter is the best medicine. Now if only we could find a way to make it cure cancer and multiple sclerosis...
Immediately after looking up this list and rewriting an introduction, a friend sent me the video below. THANK YOU!!! I had to go to an internet cafe to view it on my phone, but man, is it ever right on target!