I love hearing from friends who have read my newsletter and have actually given it some thought. Thanks, Deane! You have set the record straight, and I feel very warmly about Mercury now. I’d also like to take the opportunity to Re-visit some of my past boo-boos.
It’s an odd sensation to write something and send it out, not knowing if anyone will read it. It also can be tricky. I can write a disguised anecdote about someone I know, and have them read the anecdote and take offense. I should have learned my lesson years ago, but I keep making the same mistake in the name of entertainment. When I first moved to Charlotte in 1980, I started teaching at Country Day. I loved Country Day and almost everyone I met there. but there were a few parents who were overbearing.
Charlotte has one million or so inhabitants, but do not ever make the mistake of thinking it’s a big city. To this day, when I go down there I inevitably bump into at least two or three people I know, and yet I have lived up here since 2001. You’d think by now they would have forgotten me or gotten smart and moved here like so many of my dear Charlotte friends, but not necessarily. However, in 1980 I didn’t realize what a village Charlotte is.
We were at a party and I was telling an “amusing” story about a parent of one of my students. This mother would write papers for her daughter, as I could easily tell from the stilted language which her daughter never employed in class, and how far off the mark she was in satisfying the assignment. As a result, the mother received c’s and d’s on the papers she wrote. She was outraged, and would call me on the phone to tell me what a poor judge of writing I was, and that her “daughter” should have received an A on her work. “Clearly you don’t know good writing when you see it!”
I stupidly named the woman to this group of party-goers, and some of them laughed and shook their heads. Much to my horror, though, one of the people in this small group was a cousin of the woman I was defaming, and she blasted me, as she should have. I vowed then and there to stop telling mean stories about real people. On the other hand, I never gave up writing what others called “mean spirited stories” about fictional characters.
Now that Mercury is my friend (Thank you Deane!) and is out of retrograde, I will Re-commit to biting my tongue and not Re-counting mean stories about other people. Even if they are really funny.