An Open Letter to the Stranger who Called me an Idiot on the Internet

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.

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,

Idiot

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About Paul

This is the part where I'm supposed to write something interesting about myself and you'll read it and think, "That's not that interesting." So let's not do that and just think about pizza instead, on the count of three. One, two, three. Donuts. Now, wasn't that interesting?
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26 Responses to An Open Letter to the Stranger who Called me an Idiot on the Internet

  1. aqilaqamar says:

    yeah, you should and not focus on that. Writing is a learning curve. Like sports; even a genius needs to learn.

    Like

  2. Don’t let those type of people get to you. What I find interesting is that he called you a ‘writer.’ He didn’t say you were a wannabe or that you can’t write (he’s probably filled with envy). I think he just hates himself, because he probably wants to be like you and he can’t achieve that due to wasting energy trying to put other people down. Even when other people do good, others will find ways to hate you. Sadly, that’s our world.

    I agree, insults shouldn’t exist!

    Like

  3. Paul… Please don’t listen to other people. To me, you are great. But hey, I’m just one person! Keep doing your thing Paul, some of us look forward to reading what you write.

    -Love Jenn

    Like

  4. markbialczak says:

    Oh, Paul. The comment leaver didn’t think you were an idiot. He didn’t think at all before leaving the comment, really. He just wanted to disagree. That’s all.

    If you enjoyed reading the comments before that moment, go back to reading them again. Sure, reading that first “idiot” or “jerk” or “imbecile” stings like hell. But it really isn’t personal. Like you say yourself, the comment-leaver doesn’t know you.

    When I worked for the Syracuse daily and its website I got called names online for my stories, and it stung. But I left it there as quickly as possible and kept on reading for the learning process.

    Have a good night. You are a good writer, a smart person, a good person. Don’t let quick and easy online comments wound you for too long. Shrug it off.

    Like

    • Paul says:

      Thanks for the advice, Mark! I was hoping you’d read this because I know of your background as a writer. A lot of other comments were of the negative variety too. Not insulting me, specifically, but just saying things I’d rather not read. It made the joy of writing less fun.

      In the past 3 weeks I’ve let it go and shrugged it off. I’ll go back to reading the comments eventually but for now I think I’ll just focus on writing about sports for the love of it and not concern myself with how people react to my articles.

      Like

      • markbialczak says:

        Especially when people can comment anonymously, they will take great pleasure out of ripping the writer, Paul. That’s the way of online writing for big websites. Sports sites are particular lightning rods for controversial, negative commenting. I am very good friends with many Syracuse sportswriters, and they put up with a lot of what you are experiencing, Paul.

        I am glad that you love writing the articles. For which site are your writing sports? I’d like to read your work.

        Like

  5. wingedprisms says:

    Well done Paul! Your true Canadian came out. Very nice. 😀

    Like

  6. Well dang. I’m sorry Paul 😦 That was really mean of the reader to do! Please don’t give into him. Readers like me LOVE to comment on your stuff because we love what you write! Continue doing your thing.

    Like

  7. deannasallao says:

    hey there! i’m loving your recent posts!
    I also blogged about “An Open Letter to the Man Who Opened My Eyes To the World”. How can someone give the whole world to you and in a snap they’re gone?

    here’s what my recent post is all about…
    https://talkaboutbeauty.wordpress.com/2014/06/26/an-open-letter-to-the-man-who-opened-my-eyes-to-the-world/

    would be so nice to hear from you! 🙂

    cheers! xx

    deanna ( http://www.talkaboutbeauty.wordpress.com )

    Like

  8. Little Rants says:

    I’ll reblog this.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Little Rants says:

    Reblogged this on lilrant and commented:
    Before you call someone names…

    Liked by 1 person

  10. amorefado says:

    After all…You ARE Canadian. HAHA that was cute. Some people don’t realize how much a simple word or action can really hurt someone and stick with them. This happened to me YEARS ago and it still sticks to me until this day. You’re a much better and bigger person than I am because I reacted way differently. I applaud you, continue on for you are a great writer.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Paul says:

      Thanks that means a lot! It still bothers me sometimes, but I try not to think about it. What’s interesting is that whoever says these things about us, they won’t even remember it because they probably do it so often, yet it sticks to us.

      Liked by 1 person

      • amorefado says:

        EXACTLY! I actually confronted this person years later and they had no idea. We need to pay attention.

        “People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel” – Maya Angelou

        That’s what came to mind when you said you didn’t quite remember what was said exactly. Please remember that this person is light years more miserable than they can ever make you feel.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Paul says:

        Great quote. I found comfort in thinking that people who write these comments probably do that for a living while sitting in their basement on a computer for 14 hours a day. So by default, I win, no matter what they say.

        Liked by 1 person

      • amorefado says:

        MA THE MEATLOAF!

        Liked by 1 person

  11. theonlysup says:

    hard truth is that u cant expect everyone to be nice n polite to you.
    what other think about you should never be a focus. you should continue writing whtever u r passionate about .

    Liked by 1 person

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