Don’t Worry, It’s Not You

One semi-amusing thing that happens whenever I kvetch generally about things people are doing out there that annoy me in one way or another (example: here) is that afterward I will get a batch of e-mail from various people, apologizing. They suspect I was talking about them. To which I usually respond, well, no, I wasn’t talking about you at all, at which point I get a second e-mail apologizing about apologizing in the first e-mail. After which I sometimes send an e-mail telling people to stop apologizing for things which need no apology, the answer to which is very often “you’re right, sorry.”

So, to make things easier on everyone: Unless you’ve heard from me directly about something you’ve done that has offended/annoyed/irritated me, you may assume you are not the proximate cause of my latest gripe in Whatever. As you may imagine, I don’t actually have a problem telling people when I think they’re doing some annoying thing, so if it’s you doing it, be assured I would have let you know personally before I wrote about it in a general way. If I didn’t do so, it’s probably not you who tripped my trigger. Hopefully this will save you some moments of needless self-concern and/or worries I think you’re some kind of jerk. I don’t. I think you’re swell, honest.

29 Comments on “Don’t Worry, It’s Not You”

  1. BUt email is so easy for multiple apologies :) There are times in my house ehne I just feel like emailing everyone else in it (i.e. my family) that I’m just…so…. sorry. Trouble is, they’d only think I was being sarcastic anyway.

  2. You mean you weren’t annoyed with me when I sent you 42 separate emails about the bacon-wrapped turducken and copied everyone else in my address book (without using the BCC option)?

    Damn! I’ve gotta try harder.

  3. Oh! I forgot!

    I managed to get hold of a whole bunch of the Bratz dolls before they disappeared from the store. Athena is now enrolled in the “Bratz-a-week” giveaway and can expect a new friend every Wednesday for the next year.

  4. This must be said: I am not sorry that I’ve never apologized to you for apologizing to you, since I have never apologized to you.

    Sorry about that. Damn.

    Sorry for the apology.

    The world is twisted, and evil.

  5. So, let me ask, if you rip into someone in the comments, do they saty on your “it” list? or do you move on after putting someone in their place?

  6. changterhune – Before you hear lies from Chang Terhune himself, we thought we’d tell you the truth: without us, his old action figures, he’d be nowhere. He loved science fiction from way back and began reading it at an early age, but it was through us that he acted it all out. That’s what led to the writing. He watched a lot of science fiction shows like Star Trek, U.F.O, and movies, too. But we were always there to do his bidding. And it’s like they say: you always forget about the little people on your way up. Oh, the 70’s and early 80’s with him were good times! He’d use these blocks and make all the crazy buildings for us to be in his stories. I gotta say the kid’s imagination was pretty damn fertile. Oh, he had friends, but they just weren’t into it like him. He was like the Lance Armstrong of action figures. And of science fiction. At first, when he began writing in the eighth grade, we didn’t mind. He still made time for us. And we knew that when he was holding us in his sweaty little hands and he got that far off look in his eye, he’d come back to burying us in the back yard or - god forbid! – blowing us up with firecrackers. But it was worth it for a part in one of those stories. We loved him for it. He kept us around even when we were minus a leg or two - or even a head. In that mind of his, he found a use for all of us. Then he discovered girls. October, 1986. It was like the end of the world. One day we’re standing in the middle of this building block creation he’d pretended was some marble city on a planet near Alpha Centauri and the next we were stuck in a box in the closet. Not even a “See ya later!” Nope, it was into the closet, then we heard some high-pitched girly-giggles then silence. We didn’t see him for years. We got word about him once in a while. Heard he took up writing, but it was crap like “The Breakfast Club” only with better music. We couldn’t believe it. Not Charlie. What happened to those aliens with heads he’d sculpted out of wax? Spaceships? Those complex plots? All gone. For what? You guessed it: Girls. Emotions. “Serious fiction.” I tell you, it was like hearing Elvis had left the building. During our two decade exile in the closet, we heard other things about him. He went to college. He wrote a lot, but not much he really liked. We knew it even then. It was like he didn’t dare write science fiction. Some of us had lost hope and just lay there. Others kept vigil, hoping for a day we didn’t dare speak about. Then we heard he’d stopped writing in 1996. Did he come to reclaim us? No. He took up music for ten years or so. He took up yoga. Once in a while, he’d visit us in the closet. But it was half-hearted. His mind was elsewhere. Then one day, he really did come back for us. One second we’re in the dark and the next thing we know we’re in a car headed for Massachusetts. Suddenly we got a whole shelf to ourselves out in broad daylight! Then he bought a bunch of others form some planet called Ebay. He’d just sit and stare at us with that old look. But why were we suddenly back in the picture? He had a wife now, who didn’t mind that he played with us. So what had happened? Turns out he’d never forgotten about those stories. He’d been thinking about all of us and the stories he’d made up and then remembered he’d been a writer once. From the shelf we could see him typing away. Before long he’s got a whole novel together! Then he’s working on another one. Word is there are two more in the planning stages! Some short stories, too! It’s good to see him using his imagination again. Its good to know he never abandoned us. He returned to his true love of science fiction. We hear the stories are pretty good. Someday we’ll get one of the cats to score us a copy of the manuscript. Man, it’s good to be out of the damn closet! --- I'm smarter than you I'm harder than you I'm better than you I'm just raw I'm hotter than you More popular than you More clever than you And goshdarn it, people like me I'm smarter than you I'm harder than you I'm better than you I'm just raw I'm hotter than you More popular than you More clever than you And goshdarn it, people like me
    Chang, in love with Democracy!

    Thank God! Another bullet dodged!

  7. Chris:

    What’s an “it” list?

    I don’t typically hold what someone says in one comment thread against them in others. I do keep track of people I notice being assholes across several threads, however.

  8. Nathan @7:

    You’re going to have to send Athena’s Bratz dolls to her school so they won’t be intercepted.

    If you don’t like this idea, sorry for the suggestion.

  9. “You’re so vain, you probably think this blog post is about you.”

    Huh. Somehow, it just doesn’t have the same snap to it.

  10. I’ve had some of the most fun replying to all in a cc’d e-mail. Of course, its usually a humorous forward in the first place. Some of the conversation that ensues has been interesting and fun and these are people I’m not personally acquainted with –they are friends of friends. But I can tell that we’d all get a long if we were to meet.

    Other times I reply to all for forwarded hoaxes so that people know that the e-mail is a hoax and don’t perpetuate the hoax.

    I’ve only had one other person express upset with this and she has since gone to bcc’ing. Ironically this is the same person who will not hesitate to put my e-mail address into a website as a friend/relative and now that e-mail address receives spam. (I know, it was all a matter of time for that anyway.)

    However, your post did illuminate a perspective on privacy that I hadn’t considered so I found it useful even if I’m certain it wasn’t directed at me.

  11. Scalzi: I was trying to say “shit list”. It was an expression my mom used: “Don’t do that again or you’ll be on my It list!”

  12. Man! We have a lot of guilt-ridden paranoids out there.

    Wait — that wasn’t nice to say. Sorry.

    I did not mean all paranoids were guilt-ridden–Sorry!

    I didn’t mean all those guilt-ridden people were paranoids. Sorry!!


    I didn’t mean all those guilt-ridden paranoids weren’t people too. Sorry!!!

  13. John, I have to ask. How many people have now emailed you to apologize for sending you an apologizing email after reading this post?

  14. For some reason, your cc/bcc post was tracking in my head as something La Gringa had said on The Swivet. Reading this and realizing it was a Whatever post and not a Swivet post shouldn’t be this wiggy.

    (at least I didn’t write her an email apologizing her for ccing her on something–that would be embarrassing).

  15. Crap. I think the last time I sent you an email apologising for my behaviour was about two years ago. Since I haven’t apologised via email in two years or so, I must be the cause of the Scalzi ulcer. *skibbles off into the dark night to make amends*

  16. When I was a teenager, I wrote a song called “Trust Betrayed.” At least three people who have heard it have apologized for inspiring that song, even though they didn’t.

  17. On behalf of the entire nation of Canada, I’d like to apologize.

    Not for anything specific, just sort of a general apology for everything. Even stuff that’s not our fault, although if you could find something that is our fault, we’d be grateful and happiliy apologize for it in person.

    It’s just the way we are. We’re not proud of it, and we’re sorry about that.

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