After reading the hundreds of email messages that people have sent me over the past four days, I’ve come to a conclusion: That, essentially, there are three type of people in this world.
The first type, which I received the most email from, are the people who were shocked, surprised, amazed and flabbergasted at what my former employer did. These people offered condolences, sympathy and best wishes, but not much else. The majority of these people are highly educated, a corollary I discovered after looking at where they heard about my story: The New York Times. The Times is considered a newspaper for the business class, the upper middle class, the educated people of the world. At the same time, it also is digestable by the almost anyone who happens to pick it up and read it. I also received a lot of this type of mail from people who heard about my plight from Scripting News. Scripting News caters to the class of people who have been using computers for a long time, and certainly before Windows 95 ever rolled out of Gates’s marketing machine.
The second type of people I received email from are the angry ones. No matter how angry some of you perceive me to be, these people are even angrier. These people used my story as an excuse to send me email that, frankly, should be banned. I received email telling me to grow up, to stop whining, and “to shut up and get a job.” I also received email from people telling me that my fiction sucked, that I should never be a writer, and that I should never expect to be published. What these people fail to realize, is that I am not writing my fiction to please them. I write my fiction to please only one person: me. Like the Times corollary, I looked at where most of these people heard about my case. And I wasn’t too surprised when I realized that the majority of these people heard about me through the Associated Press article that ran in papers across the country yesterday. Papers that have lower standards. Papers that are read by people who maybe only see one point of view: their own.
The third type of people I received email from are the strangest, or at least the hardest for me to understand. These are the people who are telling to repent my sins and join God. That God rules the Earth and what happened to me was a sign. This group of people was also the smallest of the three.
I got an extraordinary amount of email from people telling me to “Sue the bastards.” Which I refuse to do. I am not the type of person who is going to hurt another, to extract revenge, or to legally rob them of their money. I have stated that I am not out to hurt my former employer in any way. That’s just not my motive. Instead, I am trying to focus on the positive outcomes of my situation. As an educator, it’s clear to me that many people can learn from my situation. The more people who read about me, the more chances I have of preventing other companies doing the same thing to others. I’m not seeking the limelight and I do not want to be famous, as the second group of people above seems to think. All I want is for people to take a good hard look at what happened to me and to learn by example.
Posted by Cameron Barrett at January 17, 1998 11:59 PM