By Michelle Poston Combs of Rubber Shoes In Hell
I get it.
A writer on the internet wrote an open letter about the dangers of helicopter parenting and co-sleeping. No way can you let that go unanswered. Especially since your ebook, “Hovering Over Baby As She Sleeps,” was just released. Besides, you let that open letter about how parents who serve kids processed foods should be imprisoned pass without responding. How much butthurt can one person take before their ass explodes all over the place?
Does it matter what the open letter is about? When open letters get written, the only response expected is either total agreement or outrage. That is the point of open letters. Ego strokes or outrage. Of course you should respond. What’s the point of even reading a shouty open letter if you aren’t going to write an open letter rebuttal to an earlier open letter that was a response to a different open letter?
Fun fact, the internet “open letter” format can be traced back to a chain letter sent in 1987 by a woman named Sylvia Willet.
We’ve come a long way from Sylvia’s secret macadamia/mincemeat cookie recipe. Sylvia probably didn’t consider for a moment that she was paving the way for bloggers to viciously attack each other.
Maybe instead of focusing on penning butthurt missives we could try building each other up. We could be supportive of different lifestyle choices. Perhaps we could rally around our brothers and sisters when they feel pain instead of telling them why they suck. Perhaps we could encourage our fellow writers instead of stomping all over their dreams.
Besides, it’s impossible to write an open letter and not sound prissy. Any words that follow the words “Open letter to” are going to sound prissy. You can’t get around it. This is science, people. Obviously this open letter is excluded from the “prissy” rule. The point is, do you want to sound prissy? Is that your goal in life? I didn’t think so.
Why don’t we take a step back and take a deep breath. We could even consider treating each other with kindness. I know it’s a little far-fetched to suggest such a thing, but I don’t think it’s out of our grasp.
Just remember what Thumper’s mom said: “If you can’t say anything nice, shut your fucking cake hole.”
Now, go do something productive. Or eat a donut. I don’t care. Just try being nice.
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About the Author
Michelle Poston Combs writes humorous and serious observations on life, menopause, anxiety, and marriage on her site, Rubber Shoes In Hell. She lives in Ohio with her husband and youngest son. She stands at the precipice of empty nest syndrome, which she finds both terrifying and exhilarating. Michelle programs computers to pay the bills. She counters this soul sucking endeavor by contributing to Jen Mann’s anthology I Still Just Want To Pee Alone, Huffington Post, Scary Mommy/The Mid, Better After 50, BLUNTmoms, and Listen To Your Mother.