Schadenfreude.

Believe it or not, dear readers, there are certain times whereupon this blogger (in spite of her politeness and generally sunny disposition), can apparently seriously piss people off.

One such incident took place about two and a half years ago. You see, I was reading through the letters to the editor in my local newspaper when I stumbled upon a certain little turd someone had penned on the subject of Autism and vaccines:

Re: Host of Genetic Factors Ties to Autism: Study
This study, as reported by Margaret Munro, is simply too incomplete to be making conclusions, statements and posting the hypothetical questions it does. One glaring omission in the story, which occurs in the actual study, is that it was discovered that the genetic mutations spoken of did not originate with the children’s parents.So, if these mutations can be identified to the degree they can be ruled out as originating from parents, why can’t their origin be identified? Is there something being kept from the public?
As a parent of a damaged child, I have long suspected the genome project to be an attempt to counter the anti-vaccine sentiment and my suspicions are even more alert now.

Now, needless to say I was incensed by the sheer imbecility of these words. The mere suggestion, of course, that the Human Genome Project was a hoax to discredit anti-vaxxers sounds, to my mind, about as plausible as the belief that the Apollo landings were staged in order to discredit the belief that the moon is made out of cheese. But more than that, what I found truly heinous about this letter is that the author apparently saw no problem with rhetorically trotting his own child out in a dunce cap in order to serve his vapid ideology; to my mind, this smacks of child abuse.

Indeed, so incensed was I that I felt moved to write a letter of response. The Editors, of course, censored the part where I pointed-out his abusive behaviour (since apparently the idea that autistic children are Human Beings inherently deserving of dignity and respect is just too controversial for a major metropolitan broadsheet); they did, however, leave intact the part wherein I pointed-out that taking your public health advice from a washed-up Playboy bunny is not a smart thing to do.

Now, as anyone who has ever had the misfortune of dealing with these people can attest, anti-vaccinationists, even by the admittedly low standards of the anti-science movement, are what can charitably be described as completely fucking insane. I mean, I don’t like Creationists or Global Warming Deniers, but at least they’re prepared to accept the possibility that there may be someone, somewhere, who disagrees with their nonsense. Anti-Vaccinationists, by contrast, are suffering from that special blend of lunacy that can arise only when completely irrational beliefs are mixed with concerns about child-safety. So it goes without saying that I was pilloried in the letters page for the next several days with the usual claptrap about how I was “censoring free speech” by daring to freely express my opinion*.

What I was not prepared for, however, was being phoned at home (ostensibly by a friend of the original author) and implicitly threatened: the gentleman explained that he was part of a gang of ‘concerned fathers’ who were trying to bring a stop to vaccinations; his sub-textual message, of course, was clear: we know where you live. I told him never to phone me again and hung-up.  A few days later, on the weekend, a pick-up truck pulled-up in front of my house loudly playing an AM radio broadcast which seemed to be one of those conspiracy theory shows; I could not quite make it out, but the facts that it happened so soon after the phone call, and that he drove away when a police cruiser** drove by served to arouse my suspicion. He left me alone after that. This, by the way, is I why I choose to write this blog semi-anonymously.

My sister traced his original phone-call and found (in spite of somewhat clumsy attempts to cover his tacks) that it originated from the staff phone at a certain suburban pizzeria; the caller had described himself as a small businessman and I sincerely doubt that a cook or waiter would use company resources to make threatening phone calls, so I took this to mean that my enemy was the owner of this restaurant. In an effort to learn about him, I looked up his reviews online (they’re now lost, but I happened to save some). They drove-home my supposition by demonstrating that the owner of that place was, in fact a total loon (and a horrible cook to boot):

Forget the overpriced filth they call food that looks no more edible than the trash in the dumpster behind the Chinese food restaurant next door. Forget the chef’s inability to orchestrate a kitchen that produces food the same day you order it. I would even be able dismiss the fact that the police are called nightly and instead of keeping our streets safe they are called from duty in order to catch the “erratic food thieves” who are only complaining of quality of food/service to prevent repeat problems not to earn a free meal (although it should be given away!!!). What I cannot dismiss is the fact that the entire staff is fresh out of high school obviously due to the fact that the new owner is a shell of a man who needs blind followers with little to no life experience so that they never question his judgement.
– Anonymous customer, June 12

CRAZY OWNER

Overall
Food
Value
Service
Atmosphere

My family & I had always enjoyed the food & service at [[Restaurant Name]].

Recently we had gone & after waiting over an hour for our meal our food was tastless & bland,not to mention no more bread sticks.

After taking a bite out of our meal we let our waitress know we did not enjoy our meals.

She brought the manager over who is now the owner.He said “you dont have a valid excuse not to eat it.You dont have to eat it but you have to pay for it & dont come back!” This guy was completly crazy he called the cops like a little kid complaining & said to them “they didnt like the food & dont want to pay”.what a cry baby.
while waiting for the cops to arrive he slapped down a newspaper & said “you might find yourselves in here”,it was all about people going to restaurants & scamming them by eating all the food & complaining after they ate it all,putting hair in the food so they dont have to pay,etc.
Dude!We are 30 yrs old we didnt put hair in our food nor did we eat it all-we just didnt like your crap ass food & didnt want to wait another hour to eat something else.
so after all that we paid for our food & asked to take our left overs with us since we didnt want him to have the satisfaction.
He was all in our face saying “well if its crap food why do you want to take it home” we said “we are not taking it home just out of your establishment & right into the trash!”
He said “i know how you guys work,& you’ve never had someone stand up to their good quality food,your not getting away with it here.”
Wow can you say great customer service.
What a phyco.
-Customer “Girlee,” June 11

Now that I have returned to this city, one of my friends has informed me that his restaurant has now gone out of business altogether. “Not only was he opposed to necessary vaccines,” my friend wryly noted, “it seems that he was also opposed to paying his rent.”

This might make me sound petty, but I must admit that this man’s abject, laughable failure as a Human Being gladdens my heart in a way that I do not fully understand.

_________________________________________

*I found this claim to be so inane, actually, the spent the next half-a-year on my old livejournal happily selecting particularly stupid letters to the editor and brutally depantsing them just to prove that I, as a citizen of a free society, was allowed to do so: a feature that I called “Idiot of the Week.”

**One of my neighbours at the time was a member of the railroad police

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About thevenerablecorvex

I have the heart of a poet, the brain of a theoretical physicist, and the wingspan of an albatross. I am also notable for my humility.
This entry was posted in Personal Stuff and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Schadenfreude.

  1. zinemin says:

    Wow, how bad can a restaurant review even be?! The idea of calling the police because people do not like the food sounds like right out of a Monty Python sketch. 🙂
    Schadenfreude ist die schönste und reinste Freude.

  2. Well, the one good thing about anti-vaccinationism is that if I ever come out to my mom, she might just blame it on vaccines and not on her parenting or some hypothetical blacked-out abuse. (Since I was 13, she’s claimed that my body language has always been “strange,” apparently due to some bad reaction I had as a baby. Looking at old photos of myself, the only “problem” with my body language is that it’s pretty masculine.)

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