The Queen of Smarts
  Monday   September 1, 1997




The Usual Suspects

The yappings of the NARCotics has died away to a faint yelp. I suppose it was my my rapier wit and impenetrable logic that beat them into submission. Nah, more likely it was my use of multi-syllabic words. But that doesn't mean it's all over. Oh no. Queen Nitwit has been on the line, struggling to form complete sentences and wreak havoc on my world. And (snicker) she brought "help."

Bear with me, this is extremely lengthy...

After the initial flurry of fluff I chronicled yesterday, the battle began in earnest with... Let's call her "Nelly"... herself. Keep in mind, please, that she's the founder of NARC, an organization committed to bringing the warm light of good manners to the internet.

Her first letter to me following my rude rejection of her award questioned my masculinity and suggested I seek psychiatric care, then expressed the hope that I learn something about courtesy and tact because I am "one of the bigger assholes" she's met on the web.

Then came a letter bearing the name of her ex-husband, but it was obviously Nelly writing it. This one informed me that (s)he had visited my home page and found it lacking because all it had was screenwriting links and why was I picking on Nelly? I was obviously jealous of her site, and it was suggested that I produce something of merit before I have the right to criticize Nelly. (Keep in mind that I'd already been offered her award for excellence.) I was lectured on graciousness and again told I was jealous.

Naturally, I responded directly to Nelly. After all, she wrote the letter. I called her on the stupidity of forging the message, pointed out that my worthless screenwriter links were in fact useful for the people I expected to visit my page, questioned why I might be jealous of her hideous pages, and asked her not to write to me again (thus baiting the trap). I also suggested that she would be included in my harassment suit against "Reba" (who nominated me for the award, more about her later in the week). A lawsuit?! Now I'm speaking Nelly's language!

Surprisingly, she responded. I have the gall to accuse her of harassment after she's offered me an award??? Well! She just might have her fiance Doody (who she's never met, by the way -- it's another one of those internet "relationships") join the fray. And now that I mention it, a harassment suit might be just the thing -- against me. It wouldn't be the first time she's filed such a suit, and she hasn't lost one yet. (Yes, I am truly speaking her language now.) One more vicious e-mail from me and she'll have no compunctions about filing a harassment and defamation of character suit against me. If I'd bothered to check her lineage and history I'd know I was getting in over my head with her when I start mouthing off about lawuits. And the award I refused? Well I'm getting it anyway. She's listing my site on her "winners" page. If that pisses me off, tough shit. Oh, and by the way, she's scored as "near genius" on her IQ test.

I had no choice. I responded. I pointed out to her that she was indeed harassing me by writing to me after I'd asked her to stop. I invited her to have Doody join the fray. I pointed out that "near-genius" is close to "sub-genius" -- it's a small scale. I opined, regarding her batting 1000 on lawsuits, that it's hard to lose a case that's never filed, and pointed out that her journal reveals that she can't even pay her phone bill, so how can she afford to hire an attorney to sue me? I close by saying, "As always: stop writing to me."

Twenty minutes later, another message from Nelly, this time clumsily appealing to my emotions. How would I feel if, twenty years from now, someone treats my daughter Zoe the way I'm treating her? I should think about that. I did, and wrote back. I suggested that if Zoe turns out like Nelly and someone treats her this shabbily, I'll figure she's asked for it. But she won't, so it doesn't matter, does it?

Respecting my stated wish for her to stop writing to me, and digging the harassment ditch that much deeper, she responded yet again. This time it was quick and pithy, very to the point: She's left a message for her attorneys to contact me, and I should expect subpoenas and search warrants in a timely manner. That's brings us to where I left off in these pages last night.

One more message to Nelly and I was done for the night. I recalled an incident from her journal wherein she lied and said her father was her attorney, and asked if the lawyer she'd left the message with was dear old dad again. I said to say "hi" to him, invited her to sue me, and said -- again -- "As always: stop writing to me."

Sigh... More mail, Nelly again: "Drop dead, asshole." Okay, now I'm really calling it a night. I'll flense her tomorrow. I'm off to bed.

No, I'm not. Doody's here. His subject line, "Engarde," was so juicy I simply had to read the message right then and there. CC'd to Nelly so she could watch his chest heave with outrage, he tried really hard. He opened with informing me that I have shit for brains, then corraled his jumbled thoughts into numbered paragraphs for me:

  1. He is Doody, he exists. Cleverly missing the point of e-mail hacking, he suggests I finger his account in case I think this is another attempt by Nelly to forge e-mail.

  2. Do I have evidence that Nelly is in cahoots with this Reba character? If not, I have no case. He goes on to try to explain the rules of evidence, laughs in my dumbshit face, and suggests I apply to Law School at a community college.

  3. He asks -- rhetorically, I hope -- how well I know Nelly. If I don't know her, how can I prove my claim that she forged her father's e-mail account? (See the section on forged mail from her ex. I thought it was her father, but she corrected my mistake.) Cleverly missing the point of what forging an account is all about, he tells me that my forgery claim is a good try on my part to look intelligent, but the fact that Nelly's father isn't online only goes to show that I'm stupid AND pathetic.

  4. In the emotional heart of the letter, he refutes my assertion to Nelly that she was a "worthless piece of meat." This section was actually touching. He goes on to suggest I try to get into the Philosophy 101 class in grade school. He wonders who died and made me King Shit, then points out how opinions are like assholes in that everyone has one and they usually stink.

Here he ran out of numbers and proceeded with a rambling screed about courtesy, suggested that my head is stuck up my ass, and informed me that he was taking such a rough tone with me so I'll know what it feels like to be abused by a stranger. He closed by requesting that I respond to him and leave Nelly out of it, since she doesn't need any more nasty mail from me and will be trashing unread anything else I might send her.

Assuming Doody's fencing theme, I respond under the subject line "Riposte," cc'd to Nelly to save him the trouble of forwarding it. I congratulate him on his eloquence and address his points one by one:

  • I thank him for admitting that Nelly did, in fact, forge an e-mail: Assuring me that it isn't *another* attempt at forgery serves only to confirm that one did occur.

  • I explain the concept of harassment and straighten him out on the rules of evidence, pointing out that all I need do is provide copies of virtually every single message I've sent Nelly wherein I ask her not to write to me again, and then show copies of her subsequent unwanted messages to me. But surely he, with his vast wealth of legal knowledge, knows that. I confess that I can't understand how she, and now he, can maintain that she's not harassing me when she keeps writing to me after I ask her not to. I explain the difference between law school and community college.

  • I explain that Nelly has already corrected my mistaking her ex for her father and express sympathy that she hasn't given him the whole story before sending him to battle. I describe the tell-tale signs in the forged letter that revealed Nelly and invite him to prove me wrong by producing an ex who uses her exact same writing style and pedantic phraseology.

  • I apologize for calling Nelly worthless meat. I am sincere when I do this.

  • Finally, I respond to his claim of employing a "rough" tone. I explain that I am a writer, that it is my job to manipulate the reader's emotions, to evoke and maintain a mood, to sculpt with language. I point out that I've employed my talents by intentionally maintaining a tone of scorn and dismissal in my correspondence with Nelly and now him, and that I've done it without cursing or insulting anyone personally (save for the meat comment, which I regretted and apologized for). I illustrate this by quoting from a letter to Nelly where I point out that my comments were on her web page, not she herself, and that if she chooses to take them personally she should examine why she thinks she is a web page. I then analyze Doody's missive for him, pointing out his many personal insults (13) and provide a breakdown of how many times (6), and how ("shit" 5 times), he cursed in just that one letter. I suggest that he go practice some more because he's bringing a water pistol to a gunfight.

Then comes another Doody-ism, this one frantically claiming that his lawyer dad with the expensive title will kick my lawyer's ass. I explain that here in the US we try cases on the facts, not on who's presenting them, and profess my belief that Nelly's claims to sue me are hot air. I send this off and finally go to sleep.

This morning I woke to find a cc from Nelly to my ISP (using the wrong address), a long, rambling diatribe rife with big words she doesn't understand and threats of heinous legal action, ultimately claiming that I'm harassing her. This is also cc'd to Doody and some yutz friend of hers who appears to be a struggling artist. I grin, look up the ISP hosting her domain, and return the favor, making sure to cc Nelly and her pals so nobody misses out on the fun.

Since then, Nelly has been silent. She's even taken a vow of silence on her web page, where the only changes are a fabulous new MIDI file, a notice that her guestbook has been reinstated at Doody's request, and a most curious change to the mailto: link so that it now directs mail to Doody. Doody himself has been silent too, much to my chagrin.

I don't think they like me anymore.





Copyright 1997
Chuck Atkins