I still have it sitting on my desk. Between my keyboard and my monitor, actually.
It’s blue and white and gray and simple, a generic “Thank You” card sold individually from a drugstore aisle.
But I can’t seem to get rid of it.
When I saw the envelope with my name scrawled across it in the newsroom mail basket, I immediately tensed.
I hate it when people are disappointed in me, or in my coverage. Even when I know that I wrote fairly and truly and that they’re either too close to the situation to see that or simply viewing my work through a deep suspicion of anything that appears in a newspaper, I feel bad and spend way too much time agonizing over what I could have done differently.
(Yes, I need to grow a thicker skin. I’m aware of that, thank you very much.)
But most of the time, if someone takes the time to write or email or call me or even to notice my byline there under the headline, it’s because they’re mad. So it was with trepidation that I opened the envelope back at my desk.
“Dear Miss Roth,” it began in blue ink, cursive letters giving way to print, written quickly.
“I would like to thank you for the article you wrote about me… the article was great and 100 % accurate. I appreciate your time and interest.”
Just a few words. But it comes nearly two months after the article in question, a simple feature story about the man and his across-the-country hike.
I don’t get many thank you notes, but I save the ones I do get, drop them into the paper box where I keep some of my favorite papers, ones with the stories I think are worth saving. That’s where this one on my desk is going, once I’m ready to stop looking at the many different typefaces used to write “thanks” in white and gray and varying blues on the front of it.
Maybe the next time I try to explain that I’m sorry if the person you’re suing is crazy, I still have to list his opinion, I’ll go back and read through them again.
And that’s a good way to start off a weekend.