The Mail I Get

I got an email today on Facebook from  somebody I don't know (I "friend" everybody except scammers and phone sex operators) from a writer's organization that I've never heard of. It read:

I've heard good things about you for awhile.

Maybe it's good timing that you just added me as an FB buddy.

Our scheduled speaker for November 14th just had kidney failure — and I'd be your new BFF if you could jump in and man the guns for that Saturday at about 6:30 PM.

I hope you can help a local boy out, here. ;-))

I replied:

I appreciate the invitation but I'm going to have to pass.

Here's what he wrote back:

I'm sorry and a bit surprised.
Good luck in all you do. Keep me apprised of your successes.

Maybe I'm just tired, or in a bad mood, but I have to admit, his reply really ticked me off.  He's  "a bit surprised?" What the hell is that supposed to mean? So here's what I wrote to him:

Why are you "a bit surprised?"

I guess that you assumed that I'm always available for any group that asks me to speak, any time, any where.

Or perhaps it didn't occur to you that I might have other obligations on Nov. 14…or that I might be on tight deadlines to deliver a script and a book by the end of November….or that I have spent too many Saturdays away from my family lately…or that I might have any number of other reasons for having to pass on being your speaker.

Or perhaps you simply assumed I'd drop everything for you and were "a bit surprised" when I didn't.

I don't know your reasons. But I was "a bit surprised" by your comment.

He got back to me a short time later.

Wow, I'm not sure what invoked that?!
"Surprised" that you were not succinct but curt – and that you weren't open to some amicable dialogue. "Surprised" because I'd heard good things about you….

What was he expecting? A tearful apology instead of a polite rejection? A detailed explanation and a plea for forgiveness? Or perhaps he was hoping I'd promise to speak to his group at my earliest convenience? Then again, maybe he would have settled for lunch and a dedication in my next book. 

From now on, maybe if I can't say yes to a request from a stranger, I just won't respond at all.

9 thoughts on “The Mail I Get”

  1. The rock-bottom reality is that Internet relationships are ersatz. They cannot substitute for actual social contact, whether for business or friendship or collegiality.

  2. You should respond, Lee, but maybe give a reason you can’t accommodate them. On her website, Jackie Collins as a FAQ section. She says, among other things, that she can’t read manuscripts as she hasn’t got the time, she’s busy writing. So she deals with it in a nice, diplomatic way. She also refers persons who have good ideas to seek out an agent and maybe partner with a ghost writer (which is a terrific idea). People feel entitled in this era to just about everything including other people’s time but they will accept a refusal with the right excuse, I believe. The fact you are being contacted is a REAL compliment.

  3. God… it’s official
    Lee Goldberg is fricken annoying
    someone please shoot this whole blog fad so i dont have to come across garbage like this
    5 bucks that Lee re-posts this crappy comment of mine and makes a classic Lee Goldberg wasteful comment on how society is blah blah and society is kazoom zoom blah…
    Or he will just reply and say how this comment isn’t worthy of re-posting… whatever “worthy” means for this piece of poo blog.
    Your move, lee
    re-post or passive aggressive attack my comment… away we go…. you hack!
    We can’t wait to read another classic LeeGoldbergian blog gem.

  4. I’m glad you are still available on Nov. 14th. You are invited to our local Cub Scout Pancake Breakfast that morning from 6 AM to 1 PM at St. Francis Xavier Church. Tickets are only $5.00. You’ll have to make your own travel arrangements.

  5. Lee, why even bother with those people? You’ll never persuade them and it seems that any interaction with them only makes you angry.

  6. Everything about his contact with you was rude and presumptuous – like lucky you, “Maybe it’s good timing that you just added me as an FB buddy…and I’d be your new BFF if you could jump in and man the guns for that Saturday at about 6:30 PM. I hope you can help a local boy out, here.”
    and then who are you to turn him down – so you respond appropriately.
    Then he acts like you’ve overreacted – because what: he’s been so nice? Sounds like he goes with the plausible deniability version of assholery – “you misunderstood” “it’s not me: it’s you!”


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