I began a recent weekday by checking my email. Usually, six or eight emails come in overnight, mostly pretty boring stuff, though there’s sometimes a nice note from a friend, or a bit of news from a relative.
But on this particular morning, there were 31 emails, most forwarded through an internet exchange used by this publication to filter incoming mail. The majority of emails came from a guy who dubbed himself “Pistoff Reader,” a most devoted consumer of the words I write. After reading one of my pieces that “pist” him off, he went on to read every single word I’ve written since I began contributing to the Synthesis. Judging from his comments, it began to seem like maybe he didn’t care for me all that much. For instance, responding to a piece published last summer, the acerbic critic wrote: “Sick. Sick. Sick. I won’t be coming back to this website any more. “
But he did, responding to another column by writing: “A true piece of shit written by a true piece of shit.”
It must have been something I said.
But he hadn’t had enough of me quite yet. In reaction to a piece on racism, Mr. Pistoff commented: “ANOTHER shitty article by this idiot. They just keep getting worse.”
I managed to top myself, however, because he responded to a piece about Rand Paul’s plagiarism by observing: “HIS STORIES JUST GET WORSE AND WORSE!”
I’ve attracted enough hate mail over years of writing to know things are getting serious when readers resort to all caps, and then top that off with exclamation marks. After reading the following week’s piece, he added: “EVERY STORY I READ BY THIS GUY SUCKS WORSE THAN HIS LAST ONE!!!”
The two additional exclamation points were surely meant to amplify his opinion. It’s standard right wing debating strategy to add exclamation points when seeking to bolster ideas.
Mr. Pistoff also didn’t care for a humor piece I wrote about losing the World’s Sexiest Man competition. He wrote: “Try out for “world’s shittiest writer. You’ll win that one.”
A recent interview I did with musician, Roy Rogers, also failed to win his critical approval. He wrote: “BOOOOOOOOOOOORRRING!”
My feelings might have been hurt by the severity of this judgment but for the fact that I’d been spared being slammed with the dreaded spelling of “boring” that comes with 13 or more uses of the letter O, instead of 12, and four uses of the letter R, instead of Mr. Pistoff’s lenient three.
His dislike of writing he devours so avidly extends even to the title of my column. Of that, he wrote: “Yes, a CROCK alright. Everything I’ve read from this guy is a crock. Crock of shit.”
And then, rounding off his extended exercise in literary criticism, Mr. Pistof added this bit of self examination, saying: “I SO hate myself for reading another one by this idiot.”
I knew if he kept at it, he’d arrive at a view I could share, and when he got to the place where he wasn’t liking himself, in caps, I thought to myself, “Y’know, the guy’s got a point.”