The Garbage Art of Silence
In almost every choice between speaking up or staying quiet, speaking up is the best option. But there are those rare occasions when silence is, sadly, the best choice. In cases where saying something could put you in legitimate danger, when the server gets your order wrong but it’s really busy and they’re handling a lot of tables, when a friend is still in the infatuation phase of a crush and can’t process reason. You get it.
I’ve never been good with keeping my mouth shut. Setting the record straight is like an itch that I can’t not scratch. But months after my open letter went viral, I thought I had said everything that needed to be said. It turns out, there are people who willfully reject facts to maintain a convenient story that validates their hatred of me, and they demand I coddle them and acknowledge their misinformation. That’s one itch I can’t resist.
People think I pulled a GoFundMe scam — despite the fact that a stranger reached out and offered to make a GoFundMe on my behalf, or that I promised to match 100% of those donations and donate it to NoKidHungry.org. People think I somehow managed to con the whole world into making me go viral, that me getting fired because of the letter was a lie and I had already been fired, or I never worked at Yelp, or I was never fired at all. All of which would be an impressive feat but I’m pretty sure if someone could manufacture going viral like that, they would 1. already be a bazillionaire and not need to work as a customer support rep 2. wouldn’t pick a type of virality that destroys their life and image. People think I used the virality to go into comedy and writing, when I had been doing both for six years prior (I’d link my first standup set here but I had a hilariously bad haircut). People think I got tons and tons of cash through undisclosed donations (PayPal, Venmo, Square) just because I added them to my letter, even though the biggest “transactions” were people requesting money from me because they thought it was funny. 99% of the cash I have is from selling all my stuff, some freelance work, and the severance check Yelp gave me. I even saw some conspiracy tin hatter nonsense that said I used to live in Louisiana and secretly had a child (this one cracks me up because I used to live in LA (Los Angeles) and the child they thought I had was my friend’s baby I babysat when I lived there).
I don’t need to address these wacky claims but at the same time, I do. I need people to see the disparity between reality and making shit up to justify anger — this is a dangerous habit whose line we’ve all tiptoed across at least once or twice. When all the facts are laid out, the people who hate me the most would have nothing to hate me for except they feel like it.
I don’t want to write a list of all their accusations and provide proof to how they’re wrong — why would I want to give pure rage that time of day? I don’t want people to hate me, because duh, but also the sources/info they’re relying on are wrong and they deserve to know the truth (they know the truth, they just pretend they don’t). I don’t understand that mentality — digging in your heels over something so incorrect just because it feels good to deceive yourself in righteousness. But it’s real, and it’s being directed at me, because I’m a normal human so it’s okay to pile on because it guarantees an effect in a way the massive criticisms against celebrities can’t. Because I’m not insulated from them, right?
People think that because I got fired, I am human. Boom, done. “This person did XYZ and it immediately resulted in something bad for them, therefore they are not invincible and I should call them fat.”
For that reason, I am an easy target to hate. And it’s better to keep at this absurd story and stir the pot and get others to hate me by spreading misinformation than it is to just realize the bone you’re chewing at is long gone. The longer you hold on to lies to justify hating me, hoo boy does that color not look good on you. But it sure makes me look good.
In a lot of areas, staying quiet is garbage. But the more you talk about me, the more free promotion you give me. You’re Donald Trumping me, baby! Keeping me relevant long after I should have faded into the mist. And just like me, you can’t help but talk and talk and talk and scratch that itch. The itch that gives me the attention you so desperately want me to not have. Mmm, feels good to scratch it, huh?
Being quiet is hard, but I appreciate the extra attention your inability to keep quiet or move on bring me. Keep promoting your blind rage. Despite the fact that where I am is where I would have been and the work I do is what I would have been doing without your free advertising…well, you gave me an edginess I never had before.
Let’s see how far that gets me, hm?