To whom it may concern:
How are you? That’s wonderful. I know what you’re expecting. You’re expecting me to call you names, express my anger, and call you out in front of a wide audience in hopes of rallying an angry mob that agrees with me wholeheartedly. After all, that’s what an open letter is, isn’t it? Or have I been misled?
I’m not going to do that. No. I won’t stoop to that level today. I’m too Canadian for that.
As you know, I write sports articles for a media company that get posted on the Internet. I knew what I was getting into when I first started a few months ago. I was going to be writing about sports – one of the most controversial topics in the world. I knew that not everyone would agree with my opinion. I knew that some people would hate my articles completely. I knew all of this. I was ready for it.
But a small part of me was naive. I thought many people would agree with my articles because my ideas were supported by facts. I was wrong. Apparently facts don’t matter anymore, especially when talking about sports. Just ask the other person who commented on one of my posts who said I didn’t fact check. Ha, if only he knew the amount of hours I spent checking my facts.
Three weeks ago you read one of my articles and felt the need to comment. You kept you’re comment brief. “This writer is an idiot.” Or maybe you used my name instead of “this writer.” I only read it once, so who knows what the beginning of your sentence was. Perhaps you can clarify?
I saw it. It hurt. Other people piggy-backed your comment and continued to berate my articles, and me. I don’t think anything I wrote was wrong; it’s just that sports spark unnecessary hatred towards people with a differing opinion.
At this point you’re probably thinking to yourself, “wow is this guy really getting all caught up in being called an idiot?” Yes. Yes I am.
I’ll be honest, in that moment, I wanted to quit. You won. For about an hour I was convinced I had written my last sports article. I’d only been on the job for a couple of months anyways. If no one was going to appreciate my writing then what was the point? I didn’t sign up to be called an idiot by someone who has never stood in the same room as me. If you were a family member or a friend – not even a close friend, you could be someone I’ve met once – then I wouldn’t have taken it as hard.
But you are a stranger. A stranger behind a computer screen, pressing post, and insulting someone you will never meet. At this point I’d like to ask, “How dare you?” but I won’t because I told you at the start that this wouldn’t be like most open letters.
I don’t want a response from you. I don’t want an explanation for your comment. I don’t want to know why you felt the need to tell me I’m an idiot. I don’t want an apology. Forcing you to say the word “sorry” isn’t an apology.
Maybe I am an idiot. If I am, thanks for the heads up and disregard this message. But I don’t think I am. Then again, if I’m an idiot, my thoughts are wrong. Look at this tangled web you’ve got me in!
I know it sounds petty that I got mad about someone calling me an idiot. I mean, you could have called me far worse, or even threatened me. In fact, calling me an idiot is barely anything. I could have just let it slide, laughed it off, and been on my way.
But it stuck with me.
And so I’m writing this letter to you to say two words:
Thank you for being rude. Thank you for judging me. Thank you for feeling the need to tell a stranger they are an idiot over the Internet.
Because of you, I developed something I desperately needed if I want to continue posting well thought out, and factual, sport-based articles on the Internet. And that is tunnel vision.
Since I read your comment, I have not read any comments on any of my articles. I don’t even visit the site that I write for anymore because I would be too tempted to see what people are saying about me. I’ve gone cold turkey in the curiosity department.
Before you came along, I would read the comments twice a day, maybe three times. I don’t mind people choosing to disagree with my opinion, or challenging the things I write. However, you didn’t do that. You just called me an idiot and continued your day.
You see, I realized that I can’t please everyone. I should have already known that, but I’ve always been the type of person that wants to make others happy. If you knew me, you would have known that.
You have motivated me. Not to prove you wrong, but to ignore you, and others who share your sentiments. I have enough things running through my mind on a daily basis, I don’t need disparaging comments to be one of them.
Again, I realize that you only called me an idiot, but I’d rather live in a world where the word “idiot” doesn’t exist, rather than a world where it’s known as a mild insult.
Thank you for your time,