Monthly Archives: August 2014

The power of a word



Words hurt.  I know the old saying about ‘sticks and stones’ but the truth of the matter is:  words do hurt.  I have a memory as a child that someone had told me I was an ugly duckling.  I was crying and I told my mother what was said.  At that moment I truly believed I was an ugly duckling and I would never grow into the beautiful swan.  I was a kid, I was awkward.  My mother’s reaction shocked me.  She was outraged, she was furious.  She wanted to know who had said such a horrible thing to her child.  I smartly refuse to give up the name.  I have since forgotten everything except the words.  The name of the person was unimportant.  My reaction to it was not.  I was devastated.  My mother told me forcefully that I was not an ugly duckling, I was beautiful.  I would continue to be beautiful throughout my life.  Never mess with a mom.

Jump ahead a few years to high school.  A fellow classmate came up to me and asked me if I wanted to get rid of 10 ugly pounds of useless fat.  Ever a sucker I said yes.  She told me to cut off my head.  As I have grown older I have learned that comments like this are meant to hurt and they are meant to be funny to those people who think it’s hilarious to watch someone else’s pain.  I have learned that the speaker is more important than the words in incidents like this.  At the time I was still at that awkward age where we are unsure of ourselves.  Being called ugly didn’t help.

I remember these two instances because it’s something I’ve had to fight my whole life.  These were words spoken in anger.  I should not have given them a moment’s thought and yet here I am several decades later still reliving the pain they caused all those years ago.

Fortunately I am also able to remember the positive comments that have been made to me over the years.  I remember the first time a boyfriend told me I was pretty.  Pretty heady stuff!  I can remember an essay of mine being held up in English class as the correct way to research a paper.  The teacher expounded on the amount of time I had obviously devoted to this brilliant essay.  I was suitably chagrined because I had only written it the night before.  My friend knew, the teacher never did.  I remember in University being told that my performance the night before was inspired and brilliant.  More heady stuff.  I remember a boss telling me that he was amazed at the way I had handled a difficult customer.  Words do make a difference.

I hope that in my travels I have said more words that are positive in nature than negative.  I would like to think that my words have inspired and cajoled, comforted and amused.  We communicate every day with each other and our words matter.  How we say them matters.  How we present them matters.  We matter.  Choose your words as carefully as you choose the ingredients for a fine meal.  It will make everything taste better.

An interview



man on edge 2

You walk into a room of faces

Your interview’s at hand

You take a seat, you take a breath,

So here you’ll make our stand.

You tell them you believe in truth

That law that is the land.

They roll their eyes and shake their heads

Your justice is at hand.

You smile and let a sigh escape.

Perhaps they’re wanting more.

One by one they rise and smile

They’re showing you the door.

I was spammed

vista mountainsIf you follow my blog you know that a few days ago I was spammed, hacked, violated.  Am I using strong language?  Yes I am.  Millions of people use the Internet.  We use it with the belief that we are safe and that we are part of a community of like-minded people.  I guess I was naïve.  I am aware that there are those that troll the Internet like sharks in the water.  Because of the anonymity factor some people feel that they can get away with travesties.  Bullying comes to mind.  That is perhaps the most vile use of the Internet.

What happened to me was, in actual fact, a nuisance.  Nothing more.  I was inconvenienced for a few days.  I enabled several people who actually do this for a living to go after the perpetrator.  I helped good people do their job.

My computer was shut down because my server thought that I might be the one perpetrating the Spam.  When I called them they assured me they did not believe I was in fact the guilty party.  They believed I had been used.  They were able to shut down the assailant and as a result all the emails were bounced back to my inbox.  They asked me to leave them there for a few days for them to continue their investigation.  Of course I complied.  If this . . . “person” is doing this to me then they are doing it to someone else as well.  By the time I was able to use my email I had more than 20,000 emails to delete.  Oh my that took time.

So I am sure you can understand why I wasn’t answering comments nor was I checking out any posts.  I was taking the precaution so as not to inadvertently pass on anything untoward.

Now that this episode is over I am left wondering what would make a sentient, one would assume sane, individual resort to these kinds of tactics?  I don’t see any monetary gain.  How can you get a thrill out of causing thousands of people to read an email they don’t want?  I’m sure I’m missing something.

I can understand someone stealing something because they want it.  I can understand someone hurting another because they feel they have been hurt themselves.  I may not condone it, but I do understand.  I can understand people cheating for the thrill.  I can’t see what anybody gets out of spamming.  Which, by the way, I have just learned is considered an actual word.

In this big beautiful world there are all kinds of people.  Not everyone will be considered a positive addition.  So I will mark this episode up to experience and go back to remembering that spam used to taste good between two pieces of toast.