Where’s My Stationery?

Before logging into my blog today, I half-read/half-skimmed an article.  It was written by a Sports writer, and he addressed the matter of internet rudeness.  I loved it.

First of all, I hate whiners.  I didn’t read his article to listen to him whine about the hate mail he gets.  I didn’t read his article to hear him moan about how it hurts his heart when someone disagrees with something he says.

Thankfully, he didn’t say anything like that at all.

He just told a couple of stories to illustrate his point.  We all know how I feel about stories… It turns out someone disagreed with something he’d said, so they tweeted him something hateful. They exchanged a few messages, and finally the offended man apologized for how rude he’d been, citing the anonymity of the Internet making easy to be so (rude, that is), and included a link with his apology.  A link, he said, that went to an article where he’d written out his criticism.  The link, it turned out, led to hard core porn.  The offender was trying to be funny.


I’m disconcerted.  Before the Internet, offended media-readers would write and mail their complaints in.  I’m inclined to think the porn stayed under the mattress.

This just bothers me.  It BOTHERS me.

The most I can do about it is try to close my eyes between coughs and losing games of Candyland and softly chant “Be the change you want to see in the world.  Be the CHANGE you want to see the world.  BE the change you want to see in the world.”

When you accent different words every time you say them, the quotes sound way cooler.

How this story ended was really great.  The sports writer looked the man up.  It turns out… the Internet?  Not so anonymous.  He called him and talked to him about what had happened. The guy apologized for it, but felt strangely honored that a great sports writer had actually tracked him down and called him.

I found that to be also disconcerting.

“Oh, you clicked on that?  Oh, you tracked me down?  Me?  Little me?  Well, how ’bout that?”

Don’t you think the reaction should be more like, “Oh!  This is… who?  Oh…. ahem… wrong number.  Sorry.  This isn’t he.  I lied.  I’m sorry.  I’m hanging up now.”

Stories like these are the very reasons I make sock monkeys, you know.  There’s something so safe about them.  Something innocent -something simple.  When you look at a sock monkey you feel like maybe the world is going to turn out alright.  When you flick their button eyes, you can almost imagine a world connected only by radio, telephone, and The Hand-Written Letter.  It makes you feel safe and warm and at home with yourself.

Oh I can’t tell you enough how much I long to simplify my life down to the dang wire.  Harboring sickness in my home for the last three weeks had made me have to cancel everything, stay home, and “just” be a mom.  I mean, I thought I already was “just” a mom, but I haven’t been.  I’ve been bopping around all of tarnation, leaving bits and pieces of my mind’s clarity along the way.  After three weeks of staying home and one weekend of solitude, I’m coming to realize that playing Candyland is really fun.  I mean, I’d rather play Candyland with my daughter than “chat” with “friends” on facebook.

I don’t really feel like I’m chatting, though.  I don’t.  Because they’re just words on a screen next to a picture.  But when I play Candyland with my daughter, she’s actually here.  She’s not halfway across the country clicking her little red gingerbread man up candy mountain.  She’s flesh and blood, sitting next to me, giggling, laughing, asking if she can draw the star card, even if she’s all the way to the chocolate space.

There’s more than something to be said for human contact. Internet “anonymity” is definitely worth forsaking in the interest of flesh and blood.  How I wish I knew exactly who read my site, and how much I appreciate the friends I’ve made because of it.  I’ll have you know, though, that there’s NOTHING I say here that I wouldn’t say if you weren’t sitting on my couch next to me right now.  I only wish that you really were.

I hope postcards come back into fashion.

I hope daily tea with friends comes into modern fashion.

I hope we can put down our phones and close our computers and GET BACK TO REALITY (and not the “reality” we see on TV).

In reality, it does not do to send sickening images around as a joke.  In reality, it does not do to let down our guard and show our worst just because we can and no one is looking directly at us when we do.  Social networking is somehow uprooting everything our mother’s taught us about being, well, sociable.

“Be sociable,” she’d tell us, and we’d reluctantly get off the wall and head toward the crowd and engage in conversation.

“Be sociable,” the Internet tells us, and we open five different accounts with cool usernames and start typing all sorts of oddities at the crowd, be they nice or mean or sugary-coated in green.

Last year, I made a goal to spend a week writing letters instead of sending emails and I never did it.  Today, though, I’m making that goal again.  I’ve HAD it.  HAD IT.

Don’t you want a letter?  Don’t you sort of get a little blue when you go to your mail box and find junk mail on top of a few bills?  Don’t you pacify yourself with a few facebook comments, but still wish you had a letter to read -a hand-written letter?

I want a letter.  I want to delete my facebook account.  I want to have my friends over for tea, even though my house is dirty.  Know why?  Because they don’t care.  And if they do, they’ll have manners enough not to say anything.  Being face-to-face with someone does that to you.  It enriches you.  It teaches you patience.  It teaches you how to find humor.  It teaches you to have joy.  It teaches you temperance.  It teaches you how to hold your dang-blasted tongue (sometimes the hard way).  It teaches you how to be polite.

Be the change, says I.  Be the change.

Letter writing starts the minute I log off.  I’ve got stamps at the ready, and I’m excited to use them.  Send me your addresses.  Send me your sister’s address.  Send me the Senator’s address!

I’ve got a world to change.

I’ve got stamps, herbal tea, a dirty house, and a world to change.

Thank goodness I’ve got my “bathing suit” on.


  1. I found myself chanting “YEAH!!……….YEAH!!!………..YEAH!!!!!” throughout this whole post. Also, it reminded me that I’ve had an envelope on my fridge that I’ve been meaning to mail you for a long time. Now maybe I will. :)

  2. You are really on to something here, something I have been thinking about for weeks actually. And do I detect a ‘resolution’ in there ;-0

  3. I couldn’t agree more. There is something hollow about Internet exchanges, something lacking even in the most heartfelt email. A letter. Oh. Letters. That’s why I love Christmas. Really. All the cards. Sent with love.

    I love the bit especially about living bits of our clarity everywhere. I feel it.
    But. I still love the ability to connect from afar. But the rules of good behavior apply here too.

  4. I want a letter. As a matter of fact, I’ll even start the cycle so you don’t have to. And we can be like Julia Child and her friend Avis.

  5. Ma Ma Deets says:

    I love you girl! You are saying it like it is! Put down the phones, turn off the computers and let’s have a good conversation! Yeah!

  6. I agree 100%. The internet makes it easier to communicate, but can it really be called communication? Where’s the “communing?” If you’ll send me your address, I’ll send you mine. There’s something amazing (and entirely uncommon) about real ink-and-paper letters.

  7. I agree. If you send me an e-mail with your address, I’ll write you back if you write me! :)
    And although the Internet can be hollow, I do have to admit that I, for one, am quite grateful for your website. It gives me something to look forward to every day. :)

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