A woman I have known for a couple of years approached me. I did not know her well enough to know her first name, but I have seen and spoken to her many times because her son and mine attend some of the same classes.
She said, "I didn't know you are a writer."
Surprised, I said, "Yes, I have been writing for many years now. Did you see my column somewhere?"
I was hoping for a friendly critique.
"Yes, actually. I was cleaning my guinea pig cage yesterday and when I spread some newspaper in the bottom, I saw your face."
Not exactly what I had expected, but I've learned to roll with those kinds of punches. So what if her guinea pig would use my face as his latrine? That's life. I'm just happy she recognized me.
She continued, "So I checked out your website and found some really funny stuff there!"
Well, that's something, anyway.
I smiled, loving her honesty. She'd make a great best friend.
Over the years, I have received many honest reactions to my work. Some wrote to tell me how much they enjoyed it, and others were apparently mentally ill.
I write a humor column about life. Many times, life is quite funny, but sometimes it can make you cry and sometimes it can make you angry. Your attitude toward life is a telling characteristic.
Many readers see the same humor in life that I do; the strangeness of humanity if viewed with the eye of a visitor to our planet.
Some readers will be angry because I inadvertently used a politically incorrect term or dissed a certain sector of the population. They missed the opportunity for joy and chose to be angry at my error instead.
A few years ago, I wrote about the concern I was feeling for my young son because he was having trouble keeping his grades up. His dream, which I was all too willing to foster, was a Phd in Biology, but his grades said he'd be riding on the back of a garbage truck.
Apparently, there is a certain sector of the population that resented that comparison including a less-than eloquent trash collector that emailed me from his cell phone and told me exactly what he thought of my mother's resemblance to a canine, the supposed promiscuity of my sex life and his hopes for my speedy demise. His words were a little different.
Obviously, the humor was lost on this man. I, on the other hand, found a boatload of humor in the fact that his anonymous, but rude, message was rendered "Not Anonymous" by the fact that his cell phone number was listed under "From" on the email.
I was concerned that the poor man might use that language on someone less tolerant of idiots than me, so I wrote back to advise him of his error.
He immediately and profusely apologized which made my day. I have never heard from him again. Thank goodness. If ever someone needed a bit of humor, it was that hard-working man. Unfortunately, he chose to be angry instead.
But that's life Sometimes your face gets posted behind a refrigerator magnet and sometimes it's lining a rodent cage. Either way, it's funny, isn't it?