Tamara Murray/iStockMy fingers were poised over my computer keyboard, but I couldn't bring myself to do it. I couldn't tell off Brenda, no matter how good it might have felt. Besides, other people beat me to it, and soon, the whole stupid thing blew over.
Now that I've had time to think about it, though, I've decided to believe that maybe the woman who railed against me for the blog I wrote about my missing glove was just having a bad day. Maybe her comments were just a snapshot of her life. You know, just like my glove blog was a snapshot of mine.
Last week, I wrote an entry about how I'd lost one of my brand new cashmere-lined leather gloves outside the bagel shop in town. When I returned to look for it, it was gone, leaving me to wonder what the person who found my glove could possibly want with it. It was an ode to all lost items, something I thought many mothers could relate to.
No, it wasn't a rich and thoughtful Dostoevsky-like piece. It wasn't the kind of thing that would end up on must-read lists in college writing courses. It wasn't a heart-wrenching tale or a send-up of serious political issues. It was light little blog about a lost glove on an otherwise busy day. It was a snapshot - a single image - of my entire life.
But Brenda was having none of it. This woman I've never heard of before posted a comment under my blog, asking me why I'd even bother to worry about a glove. "Sounds like you need to get a real job outside of taking care of the crap your husband leaves you with when he leaves the house in the morning," she barked.
Now, I've been blogging a long time, and I've received my share of angry comments, some of them poignant, others just plain crazy. It comes with the job - and yes, Brenda, writing is a real job. But all I could think was, "She doesn't know me."
I was about to tell her that when another poster said it for me. She wrote: "It's always interesting to me when people judge a whole life by one blog post." Then she added, "If you follow Jen's writing a little bit beyond the glove post, I think you'll see that she has plenty going on."
In two simple, eloquent sentences, she summed it up for me. It's the blogger's dilemma - but it's also the commenter's dilemma.
I looked at the time and date of Brenda's post: Nearly midnight Pacific time on Valentine's Day. Maybe Brenda just had a rotten night. And when you have a rotten night, you don't want to read about somebody's stupid lost glove. You may even be compelled to let everyone know that.
In the school parking lot yesterday afternoon, I was thinking about Brenda and my glove post, when I saw one of my sons' classmates walk by. She seemed okay, but I knew that deep down she was hurting; her father had passed away a few days ago. Then I spotted a mother laughing with her children. The kids don't know it, but their mother has a slow-growing cancer. And then I saw my own kids, who had endured my battle with cancer - a battle I've blogged about many times - not long ago.
As the snow fell lightly on all of us, I took in this snapshot of our lives, and I thought that if I had to do it all over again, I'd go ahead and write about the damn glove.
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