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Wednesday, Aug. 20, 2014

Now & Again: Anonymous notes and manners

Monday, August 8, 2005

Recently the Chronicle Times received an anonymous postcard with a clipping of the article regarding the Marcus City Council meeting, which referred to Police Chief Ebert seeing a mountain lion in the area. The not so brave person circled the word 'siting' then made a note that asked if my spell check worked and then wrote what he or she felt was the correct spelling, 'sighting'.

Normally, the matter would be ignored and blamed on a typing error from sticky keyboards, but some things just bug me as you know, and sometimes I have to have the last word. I looked it up in the good old fashioned dictionary. What I found was interesting and also proves that the spell check would not have caught the spelling error since the word 'siting' is a word and therefore spelled correctly. Nor would it have caught the mistake if I had spelled it 'citing'.

I personally do not always rely on spell check and often refer to the dictionary for correct spellings because our particular spell check program is one that is not always correct. You would be surprised at what the spell check thinks is a mispelled word. At any rate, I try very hard to bring well written quality articles to our readers. I have gotten many compliments on them, for which I always say, thank you. Like Paul Struck's recent commentary, the accolades and praise are what makes the trip up worth the trip down.

Nobody is perfect, and for a person to essentially criticize the mispelling of one word in an article, in an anonymous note certainly has some imperfections of the person's own. Doesn't the person know that letters sent through the postal system are supposed to have a return address? The staff here is open to any and all ideas, criticisms, and accolades but it should be done with a sense of kindness and respect. An anonymous note is not kind or respectful. Mom always said, "If you can't say something nice, don't say it at all." You will notice I put my name on this article. If I have something to say I will always say it, claim it, and back it up.

That particular anonymous note isn't the first one I have ever received. One time, years ago, I received another one concerning my display of the American flag on my house. The person made a photo copy of the law concerning the proper display methods and highlighted the pertinent sections relating to my situation. Apparently, the flag posted on my house was not properly lighted, since I always left it out. They then told me that the street light at the end of my driveway which generally lights up my entire house when the curtains are open did not count. This was as if my intention was to claim that the street light was the light that I used to "properly" display my flag.

The fact is I never took the flag in because I am a proud American and it is after all a free country. I don't have the means to purchase the special lighting necessary for such a display. I essentially ignored the note, having a pretty good idea who it came from. Then the high winds bent and broke my metal flag pole and I took it down and have not ever put it back out.

Having a pretty good idea who the note came from I couldn't figure out why the person just didn't stop by for a casual visit to say hello and mention the fact that my flag was not properly displayed. The person could have done it in a way as to share wisdom with a younger generation and it would not have bothered me in the least. The person sending the anonymous spelling note could have done the same and I would have said something like "OOPS I missed that one" and explained that the spell check would not have caught that mispelling. Instead the person chose to be somewhat rude about it and caused me to write this column.

I hope in the future I will not get any more anonymous notes. I am not offended if you have a constructive criticism, all I ask is that you do it in person or claim it. I am always learning from my mistakes and from others because that is what helps me grow as a person.