Sorry, it’s gotta be said…

WARNING: This one gets a little personal, and it’s really written for a few ignorant idiots.  Trust me, I think you’ll realize whether I’m writing about you very quickly.  For those I’m not addressing, don’t worry about it.  That being said, here we go.

Yes, I’ve been away for a while.  There’s a reason for that.

The first is, I honestly don’t like this whole “social media” thing.  Call me old fashioned, but I prefer a face-to-face conversation.  Maybe over a coffee.  Second best?  The phone.

But when it comes to Facebook, Twitter and all the others, I understand their function in our society, but I don’t like them.  I do them because I’m going to need to get myself out there when I’m published.  So social media is a necessary evil.

But the second reason, and the reason for this particular blog, is more serious.  I’m not typically one to air my personal laundry out there (see the whole “I don’t like social media” thing above), but when I find out what’s happening, I have to say something.

I’ve written, deleted, written, rewritten and deleted this a few times.  And I’m also breaking my personal rule of not committing something to public view when I’m still emotional (read: pissed off) about it.  But it’s been well over a week and it ain’t getting any better.  So, for better or worse, read on for my rant.

I am so sick and goddamn tired of other people reading what I write, then taking it and twisting it, running to my mother with it, and causing crap in my life.  I’m asking you to stop.  Now.  Today.

And this is my test.  And you know what?  I’ll bet you a lot of money I get a call on this from mom giving me shit.

What is it with people?  Do they have nothing better to do with their lives than to stick their noses–and their misguided opinions–into everyone else’s lives?  Seriously?  Do any of us…and I’m including myself here…live such squeaky clean, problem-free lives that we can actually be that one to cast the first stone?

I have a few close friends.  I know a fair amount of what goes on in their lives.  They know a fair amount of what goes on in mine.  But they are a very select few and I only share with them because I know they’ll keep it to themselves, just as I do with their information.  I trust them.  They trust me.  It takes a lot of years to build up that kind of trust with me.

And then along comes these people (don’t worry, I won’t “out” any of you, you know who you are) who think they know me, think they know my life, think they know more about what’s best for me than I know myself.  But they’re apparently not confident enough about their opinions to share them with me.  So, instead, they run to my immediate family and start spewing their crap everywhere.

I share a concern about growing older, and I get a call from my mother.  “Am I a burden to you?” she asks.  She heard about some parts of the blog (taken out of context) and called me.  Guilt.  Tears.  Worry.

My wife and I joke around a lot.  We’re highly sarcastic with each other.  And we’ve also been together for 24 years, married for 20.  We’ve had our ups and downs as any long-term marriage does.  But we’re still together and stronger than ever.  And my mother says, “Do you know what your wife writes about you on Facebook?  Terrible things.  Nobody finds them funny.  She’s belittling you.  Everyone thinks so.”



My brother, whom I’ve rarely talked to in 15 years (I have my reasons, I won’t bore you with them), calls me and part of the conversation goes like this:

Brother: “Remember when I called you before you got married?  You remember what I said to you?”

Me: “Was that when you called me at three in the morning, stoned, to tell me I was pussy-whipped?”

Brother:  “Yeah (remarkably, no trace of shame here, either), you remember what else I said?”

Me:  “No.  Probably didn’t care much to listen to you.”

Brother: “I said you could do better than her.  And you know what, brother?  I’m still saying it.”

This from the person who hasn’t even seen my wife since 1996.



(And seriously…what brother says that?)

Here’s what I have to say to all of you (and I know it’s a very small percentage of who are reading this…I’m not including all my readers):  Either grow a pair and tell me to my face what you think, or keep your useless opinions to yourself.  Don’t go running to my mommy.  I’ve already got enough issues with her not accepting anything I do after twenty years of marriage, I don’t need you to pile more shit on top of it.

My greater family has a lot of things wrong with it.  Divorces, drug use, alcoholism, depression, and a lot of other stuff that I could mention, but won’t.  No one’s closet is clean, including my own.  But I haven’t gone out and pissed on anyone else’s families, so leave mine the hell alone.

My family seems to forget all the things my wife has done for them over the years. The list is too long to go into here, but trust me, she’s bent over backward for both my brother and my mother. To no avail.

I’m happy, my kids are well-adjusted, I’ve been married for over twenty years.  I love my job.  I love my wife.  Remember especially that last one, people, because it’s important.  It means you can think what you want, but if you slag my wife, you do it on very slim and likely highly erroneous information.  Those that have taken the time to know her, they like her just fine.

Those that haven’t taken the time?  I don’t give a shit what you think.

Your opinion of me and mine doesn’t matter.

It’s no secret that I haven’t talked to my sister since 1983.  I haven’t had much to do with my brother since 1996.  So if you’re trying to break that last link to any family I’ve got, keep going, you’re doing a hell of a job.  Should give you a real sense of accomplishment.


14 thoughts on “Sorry, it’s gotta be said…

  1. Usually, when people try to bring you down and belittle you, it’s because you’re better than they are. The better you are, the harder they have to work at it. The stronger you are, the dirtier the tricks.

  2. Tobin – good on ya to those who deserved that!!! Mothers and daughter-in-laws have a very strange relationship as they both love the same man and I believe those feelings cross over to jealousy sometimes – just my opinion. I didn’t have sons! You are an intelligent, funny, (handsome!) successful man with an amazing wife and kids – some inner strength made you this way from an early age but also your strong-willed wife of 20 years was the driving force partner in your success as well. Love your wife, love your Mother, love your Kids, love your Friends and love them all differently. Aunt Ilene in a Mother’s role shouldn’t be making your life hell by running to you with comments others make and causing you grief. A Mother’s role is to support you, love you, tell you how so very proud of you she is for all of your successes and to defend you and your wife, kids like a mother bear would. I bet your wife does that with your kids. I hope your “rant” reaches those who really deserve it – I hope they are reading this rant in other words.

    Tobin, keep doing what you do – you have a gift!!!
    Love Deb

  3. Blogging is a odd business. I have had panicked calls as well, or “what does your husband/in-laws/parents think about that? I have never written anything I wouldn’t say to someone’s face. I (just like you) try to infuse humour in my blogs and sometimes things get bigger and better than the original version. Creative non-fiction lets say. But it always amazes me that people read every word and take it as gold. “You said divorce city is looking like paradise…is that true? Are you getting a divorce?”

    Ummmm…here’s a hint. If I am going through marital problems real enough to consider divorce, I’m not going to write a funny little ditty about it. Geesh.

    I get your situation Tobin. As a writer, it’s part of the curse. Social media – as you said – is a must. You have to cultivate a readership so when that novel gets published, people will not only buy your book, but tell other people about it too. It’s about creating loyalty, a connection with words. It’s just part of the business. But it does creep into uncomfortable places when you have people doing what you’ve described. It’s a pain…call it writer’s cramp.

    PS – I’m guessing you made the message clear…well said!

    • Noelle, you hit the nail on the head, as usual. I had to laugh at the fact that my wife was “belittling” me on Facebook…when, nine times out of ten, I’m standing behind her as she types it and I’m laughing at what she’s writing and already mentally composing my sarcastic response.

  4. There’s an expression: “He/She is such a waste of skin, I wouldn’t pee on them to put them out if they were on fire.”

    It’s sad, but toxic folks are in our ‘bid’ness’ and in our lives, usually because something huge is missing in theirs. Sounds like you’ve got it together (which makes them crazier). You’re doing the right thing. Air it. Own it. Disown them. Move on!!

  5. Hi Tobin:

    read your blog-parents give their kids “roots and wings”-your mother is my sister but we differ so much and maybe because I have always lived away from all the crap and we always settled problems in our own home with no interference. Uncle Al told me the day he died “stay out of the kids lives” and I have done that and found all kind of interesting things to do. My kids have all been married over 20 years, stayed married, all work, all have their own homes and most of all, are great parents. After raising your own kids why would you want to do it again with grand kids and I just told my daughter-in-law, Kim that I was so blessed to have her in my life and felt so good saying that as my mother-in-law had said that to me once and I never forgot it. stick to your guns about your wife and kids and I am proud of you to that you write done your feelings as that is the first line of healing. Go for a walk with your wife, hold her hand, and just enjoy these precious years together

  6. I think you and your wife rock – I love your enthusiasm and humour – *@#&%* ’em if they can’t take a joke, I say.
    It’s hard to know where to draw the line on a blog.. how much do we reveal? How much do we create? We have to give it away like that, and the comment section is open – so we are not only giving away our content, we are open targets…
    Rock on.
    So glad to know you and Karen.

  7. Anyone that knows Karen understands her sense of humour and I love and appreciate the comments that she writes because it is what most people feel and are afraid to say it.
    Both of you keep the interesting witty repore as I look forward to it and do not “always” take it seriously!

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