Santa’s Mail Box?
Copyrighted by Lorna Tedder. Originally published in Third Degree of Contrast.
I’m checking out my mailbox for who’s been naughty or nice. Sometimes I get unsigned posts and anonymous emails through online forms. Those intrigue me.
The hate mail is easy to pick out right away and I usually know the identity of the sender before I reach the last exclamation point (usually about five anywhere a punctuation mark is needed and often where it isn’t!!!!!). People have little habits in their speech, specific problems with their grammar, regional idioms that clue me in.
It’s funny how someone will attempt an anonymous attack and yet use a signature phrase. A signature phrase is one someone uses 20 times a day without realizing it, though everyone else does! For example, “I’ll be frank,” “Be that as it may,” “You really oughtta know,” and “What a stinker!” And that includes the co-worker who sent an “anonymous” email to me back in the mid-90’s and referenced my children and Lizzie Borden in the same sentence as well as some private information only this person knew about me from their job.
The same goes for a lot of times when I hear gossip about me—I often know precisely where it came from because of the specific kernels of truth that are buried in the muck. So next time I see them and they’re polite to my face, I already know. It’s funny watching people do that, thinking they’re playing a game and winning.
But the nice emails and posts? It’s weird how often I get wonderful, nice, exhilarating emails and screened posts that are anonymous. I can understand the special ones, ones where people tell me an essay of mine changed their lives in a good way that helped them leave a bad situation or they want to confess that they’ve endured a similar situation they can never talk about openly. Those I understand. I leave some of them screened, especially if they ask me to. Often times, they post to essays from months ago that won’t be easily found by regular readers but they know I’ll be alerted to their comments.
Some of the nice responses are beautiful but sad, too. The man who writes to talk about how he fell in love with the perfect woman but he didn’t think he was good enough and so he did the noble thing and walked away without ever telling her how he felt and that he did it because he loved her too much? That one breaks my heart. I have no way of answering him back, but I hope—from what he said—that he changes his mind and at least lets her be part of that decision.
The woman who tells me I’ve changed her way of thinking about the world she lives in and of good things happening in her life, that one is inspirational to me. But she left the message via a feedback form at the Spilled Candy site— no name, a fake email address, and no city or state—and I can’t tell her how much her letter meant.
And then there are a couple of people who have called me their “personal angel.” Oh, but those just make me all snuggly-feeling and warm inside. Anonymous posts. I can’t tell them how much I appreciate them, too, but if you’re reading, thank you.!!!!!