This is crazy. At least that was my first
impression when I read the e-mail. It was one
of the first e-mails I read on Tuesday. It went
something like this:
Hey, how do you answer something like that? I doubt
the guy read any more than the one article he plucked
out of my fly tying series, so I don't think he noticed
the winged patterns that followed in the next articles.
I have been tying for some time now, and consider
myself an intermediate to advanced tier. I found
your fly tying instructions on the Internet, and
wanted to share a few comments. I noticed you
didn't put wings on your basic dry fly. What kind
of sh** is that? How could you pretend to teach
others about fly tying if you don't even know how
to put wings on a dry fly? Telling us that they
aren't necessary isn't a good excuse for your lack
of ability, if you are trying to show everyone how
good you are by publishing your patterns."
About 12 e-mails down the list was another from the
same guy blasting me for not replying to his first
e-mail. Did I think I was too good to reply to common
people? Was it typical to offer my e-mail address
then not reply to comments? What kind of jerk am
Well, that isn't the normal type of e-mail I get
from readers. Most of you provide good boosts to
my ego and offer refreshing views of what I have
written. But, this guy had a problem with what he
had seen, and I thought I could maybe rescue my
reputation; so I sent a reply and asked him to
read further in the series to see that I do show
how to put wings on flies in later segments of
Then I got an e-mail from another reader who said
he had read the beginner and intermediate series
and had just two questions. "What do mean when
you say to strip the web from the hackle?" and
"Is Anglers Choice Soft Body something like
I shot a reply back to the second guy telling him
he needed to read the whole series. I just knew
it was another reader cherry picking just what he
wanted to see and not bothering with the series
of instruction. I was wrong.
The first guy replied that he "wasn't about to read
any more of that trash". He had read all he needed
to read to know it wasn't worth his time. The second
guy fired an angry letter back letting me know that
he could tell I'm not a teacher because I had treated
his questions like they were dumb questions. He went
on to say he would delete FAOL from his list of
favorites and never bother me again.
Huh? The first response I expected, but the second
one caught me off guard. Did the first guy set the
stage for the way I answered the second guy? I didn't
expect an angry response from the second guy, so
what was the problem? Then I went back and read
again what I had said. Hey, can I go back and
rewrite this one?
I sent two replies to guy number two and deleted
the e-mails from guy one. The first reply to guy
number two had links to the individual articles
that showed the answers to his questions, and the
second one explained those answers in greater detail.
While all that was happening, my wife was getting
upset over all the time I was spending answering
about 50 e-mails that day. Darn! Is it possible
to go back to bed and get up on the other side?
Oh well, after my wife left, I had a perfectly
quiet house since she wasn't speaking to me either.
The dog just flopped down in front of the wood
stove and went to sleep. He knew better than
to get in the middle of that.
Is there a point to this story? Yup. Some days
you're the seagull; and some days you're the
windshield. By Wednesday morning I was ready to
quit writing and hide in a cave. If it weren't
for all the great letters I got from all of you,
I would have given it up for a lost cause right
then; but you are a great bunch of people. I
actually got about 60 letters on Wednesday that
made me feel like a hero. I think I'll survive
In case you don't know how big an impact you all
have on me, here's my thanks. Your generous letters
have brightened more than one of my days; and in the
case of this week, you dug me out of a gloomy dungeon.
If I haven't said it recently, you are the reason I
contribute to FAOL in the first place. The support
we share with each other, and you offer to me makes
it all worth while.
In case you missed my point, I just want to say one
thing that sums it up rather nicely. Thanks!