I didn’t respond to a stranger’s unsolicited manuscript for 48 hours, so his angry response was probably justified. Right?

On Wednesday of this week, I received an email from someone who I don’t know. This is the entirety of his message, minus his name and the Word document that was attached.

I play poker in las vegas, and not a week goes by that someone doesn’t say your the politest poker player.
Poker is a nasty brutal game but it doesn’t mean I have to be like all the others.
most people mistake politeness for weakness.
I am not a writer and doing this hard for me
I have attached my personal project on winning, poker, aggression, OODA LOOPS, women, the marines, alcohol, loneliness, insanity, hell and my 2 cents on all of the above
enjoy the quotes
back to my cave of darkness

Two days later, the same person sent me this email:

I know how extremely busy you are - so to take time and reply with such an awesome and considerate e mail  is something I will always remember


I know it would have taken maybe 2 seconds
Oh well just another dick
will ignore you in the future


I’d like to say I was surprised, but I really wasn’t. I receive messages from people like this from time to time. Sadly, I’ve become fairly accustomed to this level of surprising vitriol when I fail to respond to someone in what they perceive to be a timely manner.

A couple years ago, I was in the process of reading the first 30 pages of an unsolicited manuscript that I actually liked a lot when the writer emailed me and told me to delete her manuscript from my computer immediately. I had taken too long to reply to her unsolicited request, so she called me a bunch of terrible names and demanded that I never read her story.

I can’t imagine what these people are thinking when they do this kind of thing. Is burning a bridge really going to help?

Nevertheless, I replied to my most recent attacker, hoping that perhaps he would reconsider such actions in the future.

Seriously? You sent me something on Wednesday, and two days later, you send me this?

Listen, man. I'm an elementary school teacher. An author on deadline. The founder and producer of a storytelling show that has three shows in the next two months. I was teaching a storytelling workshop on Wednesday night. I’m have six pages of a comic book due on Monday and an entire musical that should’ve been finished a month ago. I had parent-teacher conferences this week. I spent the week reviewing report cards. I'm the father of two kids ages six and two. Both of them are sick. Oh, and I’m a husband, too. 

Yeah, it's true. Your email was sitting in my inbox, waiting to be opened. 48 hours later and I hadn't had a chance to reply or even read it yet. You weren't exactly my priority.

Are you kidding me?  

Your email was insanely rude. I can't believe how rude it was. I hope, with all sincerity, that you learn from this mistake going forward. There’s no need for this level of rudeness. It gets you nowhere.   

Less than 24 hours later, he replied.


I can only hope that is how your are treated

I replied instantly.

I don't believe you.

No response from him yet.