As a writer, I'm usually prepared to take heat for what I write. The six years I wrote a business Op-Ed column for the Charlotte Sun Herald thickened my skin considerably. I have been blistered for just about everything under the sun. Having a friend toss one of the barbs, however, is a new one. It is so frustrating when a good friend inadvertently sticks you in the butt, especially in public. My first reaction is to ask my friend, "WTF?" The smarter move, however, is to find why the failure to communicate happened in the first place.
I know no one reads my material exactly as I write it. No one else in here with me as I type and review the thoughts that tumble out, usually faster than my fingers can find the right keys. I do my best to write exactly what I want to write, that doesn't mean whoever reads it, reads what I wrote. Not exactly, anyway. Like listeners who hear only what they want to hear, readers only read what they want to read. I often cloak my dogma in humor, and I am disappointed when the point of what I write is misunderstood. What really surprises me is when the reader responds with what they feel is an honest rebuttal to an argument I didn't make. Well, not intentionally, anyway.
I set myself up for this new problem by using Facebook. You can post photos of your friends and relatives as you wander around the globe for everyone to see. You can express your political views, as well. When you do, be prepared for rebuttal. People you once thought were friends will dump on you if they disagree with you as if you were having a conversation in the local sports bar. I've found there are “friends” on Facebook who are just plain rude. They can't resist telling you, and your family and friends, and everyone around the world, the error of your faulty thinking, and they will do so vociferously. They should stay on their own pages where they can freely post their own viewpoints, but they don't. They want to rain on your parade and they will if you let them. I don't want anyone dumping on me on my own web page, nor using my page to promote their beliefs. That's what the “unfriend” button is for, and I have used it liberally ever since the last two Presidential elections. But this posting on my Facebook page wasn't meant as an insult; it was merely an honest response to one of my blog postings I referenced on Facebook.
I'm tempted to remove the comment, but that would be at the expense of our long-time friendship. A rebuttal to the comment will have to be diplomatically crafted to prevent essentially the same reaction. On the other hand, I can't leave it as it stands as it is completely misleading to anyone who comes across it. I'll see if I can manipulate this article in some way as to convey my thoughts. Oil on the water, so to speak. But, then my friend will probably say he doesn't swim in that stuff and we'll be off yet once again..
The predicament does tend to take the fun out of writing. Well, for a while anyway. I'll be back. I just won't post anymore on Facebook. As Paul Simon famously sings in The Boxer, "A man hears what he wants to hear and disregards the rest..."