Brother Can You Spare A…..Oops, Never Mind!

I don’t get much traffic to my blog.  This is probably because I only average about one post a month.  A handful of friends follow my blog and if I happen to promote a new post on Twitter, some of my Twitter followers may check it out.  Sometimes after reading my blog, my fans readers feel compelled to comment.  Every blogger loves to get comments and if they tell you they don’t care about comments, they’re full of crap not telling the truth.  Who doesn’t want some positive reinforcement and appreciation for their hard work?  A simple comment like “Great post” really makes you feel warm and fuzzy inside and inspires you to keep writing.  Every once in a while, a total stranger will stumble upon my blog.  Such was the case in March 2009 when I posted “Brother Can You Spare A Dime?”.  The post was about a high school senior named Rachel who dreamed of attending college at Notre Dame but couldn’t afford it.  To solve her financial dilemma, she created a web page and started seeking donations to help her pay for college.  This post was my brilliant humorous take on the topic of cyberbegging.

(In case you missed it, read it here:  http://loripaloozablog.wordpress.com/2009/03/23/brother-can-you-spare-a-dime/  )

The stranger who found my blog was named Christina.  After reading my award-worthy amusing post, she left me a comment.  

Just stumbled upon this blog last night via twitter and while I usually don’t comment on things I disagree with on the web (if you can’t say anything nice…), I felt compelled to come back.

Wait a minute!  This wasn’t the usual “Great post” or “You’re a great writer – you could be the next Michael Crichton Joel Stein” comment.  The praise and flattery had to be coming in Christina’s next paragraph, right?  Wrong!  Instead of stroking my ego, Christina punched my ego in the gut.  She attacked questioned my character and insinuated that I was a horrible human being…at least until the last sentence of her comment.

Sorry for the rant – I’m sure you’re a good person and physician.

Despite the warm and fuzzy ending, I still felt like this was a negative comment.  My first negative comment.  I am very open to criticism and feedback but in this case I felt like Christina misinterpreted my post.  Having accidentally discovered my blog, Christina wasn’t familiar with my style.  My posts are humorous, bordering on silly and shouldn’t be taken seriously.  In fact, one of the tags for this particular post was “humor”, but Christina obviously missed that. 

Usually I don’t care what people think of me, but it really bothered me that Christina had this misconception of me.  I wasn’t sure what proper blogger etiquette was for responding to negative comments.  Was I supposed to comment back on my own blog?  How could I be sure that Christina would revisit my blog and see my comment?  So instead of commenting on my blog, I emailed her.  It was a very cordial email in which I thanked her for reading my post and for the feedback. I explained that she took my post a little too literally and that my blog should not be taken very seriously because quite often I write with the maturity of a 4 year old.  I was pleasantly surprised to receive an email reply from Christina.  Her email was very friendly and she thanked me for emailing to clarify the questions she had regarding my character.  But more importantly, she shared a piece of information that was very relevant to my “Brother Can You Spare A Dime” post.  This news, which I had not heard prior to Christina’s email, was fascinating.

Rachel, the girl featured in the post, did not get accepted to Notre Dame. 

She was DENIED

<Gasp!>

<Uncontrollable laughter!>

Wow, what an embarrassing turn of events.  When she created her web site and started cyberbegging, Rachel was very quick to alert both the local and national media.  Her story made headlines in newspapers and was seen all over television.  Where’s the media coverage now?  Where were all the stories about her rejection?  Apparently, Rachel wasn’t shouting the news of her denial from the highest mountaintops (gosh, imagine that).  Since she forgot to notify the media, I wanted to verify the Notre Dame rejection story by checking her web page.  Sure enough, it was true – she was not accepted to her dream college, Notre Dame.   She thanked everyone who sent her a donation and said she would be returning all of the money that she collected.   

This certainly has been some riveting reading, wouldn’t you agree? I’d say we learned some very important lessons today. Let’s review!

Lesson #1:  Don’t count your chickens before they hatch 

This lesson is a classic. An oldie but goodie.  Even my 6 year old knows not to count his chickens before they hatch – literally. Last month his kindergarten class had a unit on chicks. The class received 24 eggs and patiently waited for them hatch.  Only 5 of the 24 eggs actually hatched.  Although there were only 5 chicks, my son wasn’t disappointed because he was told at the start of the chick unit that 24 eggs would not necessarily result in 24 chicks.  (He was also told that the 19 eggs that didn’t hatch were “taken to a farm” – he was not told about omelet day in the teacher’s lounge). Very few things in life are guaranteed 100% and this includes being admitted to the college of your choice (I won’t even comment on the University of Illinois and the current admission & political clout scandal…maybe in a future post….oh, who am I kidding, I’ll never get around to writing that one).  It was stupid a mistake for Rachel to start soliciting donations for tuition at Notre Dame before she had an actual acceptance letter in hand.  No one would ever fathom writing a check for tuition before being admitted to a college, so why would a person start begging for that tuition money before they’re even a student at that university?  In retrospect, I’m sure Rachel realizes her mistake and will likely never forget lesson #1.

Lesson #2:  I am an incredibly talented writer.  

Lesson #3: What may seem like a negative, may truly be a positive. 

When she received her rejection letter from Notre Dame, Rachel probably felt like it was the worst thing that ever happened to her.  But my guess is that years from now Rachel will realize that not getting into Notre Dame was actually the best thing to ever happen to her.  Once the initial shock of denial wears off, Rachel will find another fine university to attend (one that she was actually accepted to) and have a wonderful college experience.  Chances are, the tuition at the college she picks will be less than tuition at Notre Dame, so she may not bankrupt her parents – another positive!

When Christina commented on my blog, I thought it was a negative comment. But if it hadn’t been for her negative comment, I would have never learned about Rachel’s rejection from Notre Dame.  Out of that negative came a positive – this blog post.  Well, it’s my opinion that this post is a positive, you may feel otherwise.  And if you do disagree with me, feel free to make a negative comment.  But be forewarned, your negative comment may end up as the subject of my next post….oh, who am I kidding, I’ll never get around to writing that post!

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6 Responses to “Brother Can You Spare A…..Oops, Never Mind!”

  1. NetterB Says:

    You are a talented writer Dr. Lori! – when you tweet that you have a new post I eagerly click the link. Your posts are good for a laugh – usually since I can relate (the gumdrop post).

    I won’t request that you post more often (I only post maybe monthly and I wouldn’t want the extra pressure of someone telling me I should do it more often), but know that I do look forward to your posts!

  2. sandysays1 Says:

    Love your SOH and your post is well written. Lori, most intelligent folks don’t bother making negative comments. Why waste the time? Using the your minutes that way is like me and my canine friends attending a Michael Vick seminar on brotherly love. Visit me at http://www.sandysays1.wordpress.com

  3. punkinmama Says:

    Great post!

    🙂

    I don’t post very often, but you’re right… I love every comment I get!

  4. froggyprager Says:

    great post, keep on writing.

    I like the humor. I like the mix of kid stories, current events, doctor life, random personal stuff. Keep up the good work.

    don’t be disturbed by negative comments. I have very few readers but have gotten some negative comments. There are all sorts of weird folks out there and you are bound go get some unsupportive comments.

    One way to get more traffic is to write about an somewhat obscure topic, use the words and names in the post and then people find you via Google searches. Just don’t write anything about 9-11 conspiracy theory folks.

    Regarding our friend Rachel and her life long goal to get into Notre Dame. That is terrible I feel so so very bad for her. You have peaked my interest and I found her site and apparently she is returning the more than $5000 that she got from suckers, I mean people who did not share your views and wanted to help her. She sort of did some good with her 15 minutes of fame. She is keeping the site up to help raise awareness and understanding of juvenile diabetes.

  5. Jim Brochowski Says:

    Thanks for visiting The Life of Jimmer. Like NetterB I always read your posts as soon as I see them. Unlike NetterB I totally suck at commenting promptly. Sorry about that.

    I think Rachel is right to have dreams, but maybe could have used some different guidance in how to go about making them happen. Then again, there’s always the “it doesn’t hurt to ask” school of thought.

    Good for you for responding to Christina. I’m glad that worked out well for you. That’s what this is all supposed to be about – communicating. You should be proud.

    I would really like it if you posted more often, but I probably told you that already. 😉

    Love the Loripalooza blog!

  6. Jody Says:

    Pretty amusing that she didn’t get into the college after doing the whole public begging routine! Maybe she should have saved the self-marketing for when she applied to business school.


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