It was over 5-years ago, for God’s sake! I realize that the stuff I post on the Internet NEVER goes away, which is why I only write about stuff I can back up with facts.
This past Tuesday, I received an email from email@example.com (supposedly a Wawa employee in Sussex County, Delaware, although I have nothing factual to back this up) concerning a piece I wrote and posted almost 6-years ago, early 2006. Wawa was promoting its Coffee Sweepstakes.
My issue was not with Wawa holding a sweepstakes; it was with the deceitful way they did it—although I assumed it was unintentional. At any rate, Dee took exception to my criticism.
According to Dee—I strongly suspect that Dee is a HE because actual females are rarely so illiterate—I’m a “c–k sucking, a– licking ‘libril’ d#ck-head.”
Oh, and throughout four unconnected paragraphs of run-on sentences, the term “bassterd” appeared 15-times. I’m assuming that this was an allusion to a suspicion that my parents were never married.
I never respond directly to such emails. But, this time I’m responding indirectly through this posting. I placed Dee on my personal distribution list so that she/he will receive notice of its posting and click on the hyperlink to the full article.
For the record, I’m a Wawa lover. I purchase my gas from them. I frequent my local store, sometimes two or three times a day for various items. The employees are courteous and hard working. In fact, I know several Wawa managers, at BOTH the store and corporate levels.
But, this does not mean that I agree with everything they do. So, briefly, here is the reason I was so critical of their Coffee Sweepstakes back in 2006. And, for the record as well, I have not changed my opinion one bit.
According to the sweepstake’s rules, Wawa would dispatch coffee brigades throughout the region each day over the duration of the sweepstakes run. The goal was for the brigades to spot random coffee drinkers holding Wawa coffee cups and place their names into a finalist list.
Once the sweepstakes was over, Wawa was to choose ONE finalist from the list of potential finalists gathered by the coffee brigades. And, THEN, that finalist would choose ONE envelope from among ONE HUNDRED envelopes in hopes of winning the $1,000,000.
Do the arithmetic. You see, only ONE of those ONE HUNDRED envelopes was the winner. As such, all the “chances of winning” statistics Wawa quoted throughout the promotion—though accurate—meant NOTHING.
In the end, the odds that Wawa would NOT have to pay $1-MILLION were 99 to 1 (ONE chance out of ONE HUNDRED). So, Dee, if you ARE a Wawa employee, contact the corporate office—but watch your language—to see if that finalist ever won a million dollars.
I began writing this BLOG-column in its present form back in January 2003. And, at least once a year since, I’ve emphasized the point that writing for public consumption can be a real life-affirming hoot, but NOT for everyone. In fact, it’s probably not a good idea for most people.
It’s a lot of work, but it’s FUN work. Of course, grammatical proficiency and spelling skills are foregone conclusions; but they’re only half of the story. A writer still must write prose in a way that others want to read it.
And, on the negative side, you must have the stomach for nonstop criticism, much of it tenuous at best and some of it illiterate, profane and vulgar. Of course, there isn’t a lot of the latter, but it’s fun to read it. It makes me feel so fortunate that I don’t suffer from a severe brain cell drought.
By no means do I place myself in the same universe as the likes of Andy Rooney, the late Art Buchwald, Carl Sagan, or Dave Barry. But, I’m, at least as good as the average professional writer; and, a lot of people read this BLOG every week.
Oh, yes, I must not forget about the death threats. They go with the territory. They go directly to the FBI for the record. However, I view them as a sure sign that I’m getting on all the right nerves.
Conversely, if you don’t know what you’re talking about, and/or you’re highly emotional, touchy-feely, and super-sensitive with an easily bruised ego, it’s probably best for you NOT to publish your thoughts.
I definitely fall into the former category described above. Since my junior year in high school—I’m now 70—I believe I’ve received every conceivable criticism there is, including threats against my life. I was writing letters-to-the-editor (using state of the art technology: a typewriter) at the age of 14-years.
In fact, at one point during my junior year (all boys Catholic high school), I received a combination of ten anonymous notes and phone calls in a two-week period; all of which described the tenuous nature of my living past the end of the month.
And, all I had done was criticize a Roman Catholic priest for his stance on divorce.
He’s long dead, now, but his exact words, in the middle of a religious lecture, were “The only thing you can do once you’re married—even though you realize it was a big mistake—is pray for her to have a speedy and happy death.”
I thought to myself, “what a sanctimonious jackass!” And, I didn’t run for the tall grass. I didn’t even report the threats to my high school principal—a lot of good THAT would have done. I just wrote MORE letters.
And, to this day, nothing has changed. Controversy attracts me the way that fecal matter attracts flies. I LOVE it, the controversy, not the fecal matter; although I don’t mind stirring it a bit, the fecal matter, not the controversy.
As recently as this past Friday, I received a scathing email from a person identified as Revbluto@gmail.com. He claimed to be from Mississippi. He took exception to a piece I had written back in 2003 wherein I criticized the late Reverend Jerry Falwell’s stance on homosexuality.
It’s interesting to note that much of the illiterate and vulgar criticisms of my personal stance on homosexuality come from the southern region of the United States, from seemingly self-professed righteous “Christians,” all of whom seem convinced that they speak for God.
Revbluto is no exception. According to his assessment, I’m a “queer-loving ass-wipe” bent on perverting innocent children. I won’t respond to him directly; but, like Dee above, I’ve put him on my personal distribution list so he can read this and know that my core beliefs have NOT changed.
I still don’t KNOW if there is a God, but I doubt it. I still DON’T believe that homosexuality is a choice. I STILL think that people who insist that God created the Earth “around” 10,000 years ago, along with the notion that humans and dinosaurs coexisted are 14-karat idiots.
And, I still don’t give the slightest hoot when such religious yahoos berate me as a “a blue-state, left-wing communist, Godless tofu-eater, queer-loving sinner destined for the fires of hell.”
Revbluto, I am a member of a generation that NEVER considered ignorance as point of view; and, I still don’t. While I’d never accuse you of being a knuckle dragging, gun carrying, cousin marrying, redneck religious zealot simply because we disagree, it’s not to say that cousin marrying and Mississippi are mutually exclusive.
Joe Walther is a freelance writer and publisher of The True Facts. You may comment on his column by clicking here.