My mother used to say, "He who angers you, conquers you!" But my mother was a saint.
~ Elizabeth Kenny
A Walk in the Woods
TONIGHT on TV
11 August 2004
Once upon a time there was a woman (hereafter called "the teacher") who liked to help people.
She met a woman (hereafter calleld "the student," though she was older than the teacher) on line who needed a lot of help.
This student wrote to her continually asking "how do I do this?" "how do I do that?"
The student became a real pain in the neck, but the teacher wanted to help and she very patiently spent a lot of time trying to teach this woman how to use her computer efficiently.
"Im blonde. I dont understand these things," the student would say. You could hear her silly laugh coming through her e-mails as she continually seemed incapable of learning anything.
The teacher spent a lot of time writing detailed instructions.
"Im just so silly I cant learn these things" said the blonde student.
The blonde student also started sending the teacher propaganda. Religions propaganda. Political propaganda.
It was obvious that the two were at opposite ideological ends of the spectrum. Finally there came a day when the student sent something so offensive to the teacher that she wrote and politely explained that she did not share the students views and could the student please remove her from her mailing list.
The student did, but continued to ask for computer assistance.
The teacher joined a new list that she thought would really interest the student, so she let her know about the new list. The student was very interested and enthusiastic. She started to get involved, but it was yet another thing on the computer that she couldnt understand.
Because she was "blonde and unable to understand things easily," the teacher took a lot of time, made screen shots and circled things so that the student could figure out how to do things.
The student finally got it and what did she do?
She went on line publicly and thanked someone else for all her assistance and never mentioned the teacher.
The teacher was furious that all her effort wasn't even acknowledged. She had spent a lot of time trying to help the student and didnt even get a thank you for all of her work.
"I will no longer help you. Please dont ask me," said the teacher.
The student didnt respond.
The teacher watched from afar as the student continued to struggle to learn the things that would allow her to participate in the group. She watched as the student contined to have problems and to send messages that made her sound like an idiot. People called and talked with her on the phone trying to talk her through it, but still she screwed up every time.
"I'm a silly blonde," she would say, as if that excused it. "I must be losing it," she would add, after another silly mistake.
The teacher tried not to pay attention, but finally, realizing that the student must be starting to sound like a brainless idiot to everyone else, and that the only way the student had ever learned anything before was when she had something visual to refer to, she decided to step in and help once more.
The teacher spent half an hour again making screen shots and writing detailed instructions.
She sent it off to the student.
By return e-mail, the teacher received the following message from the student:
I don't need your help or want your help.
It took all the teachers self-control not to send back an obscenity in response.
Instead the teacher wrote a journal entry about it and set the filter on her Outlook Express to send any mail from the student into the trash.
Because, indeed, that is what it is.