Five Strikes I’m Out

May 10, 2024by tracey Comments

FYI – I am not going to write about this saga for long. I have about two more blogs in me before I move on to other topics and drop it for good.

I don’t remember at what point I decided I would verbally slap five people and five people only.

God knows I had enough time to think about.  I had way too much time to come up with a list.  And week after week, more contenders entered the ring.

When you are silenced for a long time, you fantasize about what you will say when you can finally open the verbal floodgates.

You make mental lists as you cook dinner.  You come up with new names as you drive around doing your daily errands.

And then when someone whacks you, you instantly add them to the list.

It really hits you at night. As you yet again stare into the darkness wanting to sleep, sleep soundly. Waken at ten not four am. You have way too much time to think about these things. Whose done me wrong? Who do I hit with my best shot? Who gets left on the bench?

Someone must get it. Someone has to, if not pay for their misdeeds; at least hear them. Face them down.

I am not a physical person. I do not imagine myself hitting, slapping, or hurting another.  I think all the guns in America should be tossed into the sea.  I am a firm believer in overturning the Second Amendment. I am in fact a firm believer in redoing parts of the Constitution.  Several before November.

The point being, I never want to hurt another person’s body in any way.

But words are my weapon.  Always have been. They have been my source of income throughout my life.  I can do a lot with a few sentences. Words are my squad.

Anyone who has been on the other side of one of my verbal attacks will attest to it.

But in the last twenty months I/we have been on the receiving end of so much abuse, there was no way once I got the go ahead, I was going to be completely silent.

But how much was the right amount? How much was justified and at what point did I turn into an abuser myself?

At some point I landed on five.  Five people who would receive either eviscerating emails from me, pointing out their heinous behavior, or at least ones telling them how hurtful and destructive they were.

Five seemed good.  Half of ten.  One hand.  One hand’s worth.  Metaphorically -one verbal slap divided among five recipients.

I also still count on my fingers. OK, not always, but too much for someone who is about to be 66 in a few days. Or perhaps now in senior hood it’s  acceptable to count on one’s fingers. It’s likely the fifty proceeding decades I looked like I was auditioning for Sesame Street.

One of my Golden Circle girls, Lisa V. always laughs at me when I’m figuring out how much to tip and count on my fingers. But she’s Mensa.

I got through one hand’s worth of people and I stopped there. I swore to myself, five and you’re out. No matter what comes down the pike. Despite any real incident you forgot during one of your two am counting mean people instead of sheep nights, you are limiting yourself to five.

Five people, then you take the high road. Five people will scratch your itch and you then become the proverbial lotus rising out of the mud.

Five people and everyone else gets divided into various groups depending on how they present or misrepresent or choose to continue to ignore, or as several letters I received did, turned the tables on me, or were far too defensive.

I have a good bullshit meter. A much better one than I even had before.

For the most part I know who knew. And I also knew who might not. And there were many letters of pure empathy. Many professed they should have reached out, but are  yet to  follow through.

But, as I said in the first blog on this, I have my friends. And they are perhaps better friends than I have had in decades. Or in some cases the same people who were friends, they just morphed into better friends.

And people have been reinstated after that initial blog went out.  And some others were swept under the carpet.  Too little too late.

Let’s address a few questions that might be swirling through your mind.

If you have not gotten a “fuck you” email from me, you are not going to.

It does not mean I may not be thinking it, it just means you did not make the final cut. Or I cut you slack. Or you did just enough – sent an email. Reached out in some way even if that way did not result in a face to face.

You had to be really bad to be voted off the island. There are people who were pretty bad, maybe as bad as some who got letters, but when you limit yourself to five, you have to stick to your own rule.

I am also not going to out anybody by name. I don’t need to publicly humiliate people who I have personally told off.  I am not a fan of public humiliation.  I might have been at one time, but I say keep it under wraps for the most part.

Who Got it?

It’s kind of funny how the world works – sometimes. After I wrote that blog, the first two people who entered my cyber space were on my list!

Is that coincidence? Is it guilt? Perhaps just stupidity or narcissism. Not sure.

First one was a colleague of Glenn’s. But one I communicated with for some time.  They were first to respond with an email that was almost damning in tone.  And obviously distressed that more damage had not occurred. Their behavior had been negligent throughout the saga. But more from omission that commission.  I read the email they sent.

Wrote back “Dear….- Go fuck yourself.  Best T.”

Pretty banal if you ask me. When I read it now, it’s not only low key for me, but also very run of the mill. A third grader could have written it.

At the time it seemed to the point and I wanted it over with.  It was just to say, never knock on this door again. Which oddly they did with a few more (left unanswered) emails to me that day.

The second one, was odd. I must tell the story of it, to have it make sense.  I had held in the pain so long, but it was a pivotal moment in almost two years of pivotal moments.

It was winter of 2023. I was in the little market we all go to in Sag Harbor. A person we have known for a long time cornered me.  As was often the case, the topic of Glenn arose first. Some people backed into it. Clumsy people rammed into it.  This was clumsy and accusatory.  They then switched to a what’s going on stream of questions.

It was a bleak day to begin with. February cold. Midafternoon almost dark. The type of winter’s day on the Eastern End of Long Island, you start looking at your watch at three hoping it will say five.

I was stopped by this person, in the pasta, rice aisle.  I still see the boxes of Rice a Roni neatly lined up above their head.

Somehow, I confessed to not knowing what to do. Sharing how awful it all was. And blurting out, I don’t know where we will end up or where to live.  Their response was you can’t stay here. Not after this. You will never have a life in Sag Harbor again.  No one wants you here.

Sag Harbor is my spiritual home.  It’s where I really want to be much of the year. It’s the only place I felt/feel safe and moderately relaxed in the last two years.  It’s the place I have lived  the longest in my life. It is the only place on the planet I long for when not there.  And here was this person telling me I needed to get of Dodge as no one would ever have anything to do with us again.

I still see the line-up of Rice a Roni above their head as they spoke the words. Chicken. Chicken with Less Salt. Beef. Noodle Roni on the end.

Why don’t they make the Beef with less salt?

I left my cart without checking out. I ran to my car. Locked the doors and cried for a half hour before driving home.  But I never said a word at the time. I was waiting.

And then there they were, second email in. “Wishing you the best.”

Really. The best?

I wrote back saying I found this surprising and recounted the conversation at the market.

They denied it. I said if it didn’t happen how do I still see the Rice a Roni lined up above your head? What on earth would be in it for me to make up such a story?

We had a few back and forths. No swearing on my part.  Just a you kicked me to the curb when I was already crumpled on the sidewalk type of conversation.

And that was the end of that.  Two down three to go.

The third was a family member.  Not mine.  The end.

I did early on, the week of the trial write a not so kind, ok, kind of awful email to one of my half sisters.  I immediately apologized a few days later. I was wrong. Very.

I was at  the end of my rope and she was an easy but unfair target.  So I owned my poor behavior. Explained the kind of stress I was under and asked for forgiveness. Which I was given. And we are all good.

The fourth one was a twofer.  A couple I have known for decades. Like four decades plus.  A couple I think I have been very good to. And even recently, the year before the shit hit the fan, did them a big favor I did not have to do, out of kindness as I could have made a different choice – that likely would have served my needs better.  So, I reamed them. And I won’t repeat what I said. But much like my fifth – it had been building up for years. And it has such a long history, this is not the first stress fracture. But it is the last.

The wife wrote something nasty on my Facebook page.  In the name of not responding, I just deleted it.  I only responded to the Rice a Roni person.  That was another self-imposed rule, these are not going to get into lengthy debates.  It’s one strike you’re out and more importantly – I’m out.

The fifth was hard. But had to be done. It was someone who at this point is my oldest friend. We go way back. And they were there for me in the early days. Then disappeared.  And I could not figure it out.  They had even offered to go to a hearing with me. Something I did not take them up on. I would go alone. Or with Taylor.  But then they ghosted me. And I thought you are my oldest friend and in my hour of need, my you are gone?

At a certain point, I took the high road on that one. I wrote the person and said if I woke up tomorrow and found out someone in my life was dead, and I was not speaking to them, who would I be the most upset about?  Which unresolved conflict would haunt me forever?  And it was this person. And they reappeared, briefly.  Then ghosted me again.  And then when the victory verdict came through, not a word was uttered. Made the short list. It doesn’t make me happy.

But nothing to be done.

No one wants to deal with these things. No one wants lists like this. I’m not a sadist.

But many people are out there with many problems. I’m not comparing mine to anyone else’s. And many, many people dump them. And what do you do? How do you handle it.

This is the thing you hear first when you are dealt a severe blow, “You learn who your friends are.”

And something else you learn; people do not like to be called out on not doing the right thing. They will fight you. They will come up with excuses. They will say, this is a good one- Glenn and I have both gotten a bunch of these, I wrote to you but never sent it. I went to pick up the phone but put it down.

And the dog ate your homework.

What if you wrote  to me and you haven’t heard back?

  • I don’t believe you.
  • I’ve been really busy, and it’s starred in my inbox.
  • I never really liked you to begin with.
  • I only have time to be a good friend to X amount of people. Like I said I turn 66 on Sunday. No more time for bullshit. Real deal or I’m out.
  • If you did hear from me, you know – while you may not be part of the Golden Circle, you are a part of my life and mean something to me.

And that’s five expalnations and I’m out.