My Useless Rudeness Page

The Rudest Thing Anyone's Ever Said To Me

Some context is necessary to understand this. Since there are links to this from a couple of places on my page, I shall explain.

My father died in early December of 1996. It was not a surprise, but it was a bit of a shock nonetheless. I put up an announcement about this on my page, because a lot of his old students are more likely to see a web page than the Northfield newspaper.

Later that month, a guy from Telegrafix posted a discussion of some new thing to comp.lang.c. He was flamed by Peter van der Linden, whose contribution to the thread began with a statement to the effect of "Not only are these people rude, ...". Now, most people would have taken the hint... But this guy didn't. He posted a defense, explaining why he felt the posting wasn't rude.

I flamed him, of course. I asked him if his product ran on a headless Sun 3/60, or on an IBM mainframe, or on an h29 terminal. (The rationale being that the C language supports all of these things fully, so if his product can't work on them, it's not really C, but some system-specific toy.)

He called me. A browse of my server logs revealed that someone on the machine he read news from had visited my page, a couple of my other pages (including my page about advertising), and my resume, from which he got my work number.

After a few attempts to convince me that his product worked on all C platforms (although he admitted it required EGA graphics), he asked me if my parents raised me to be so rude. My answer was an unqualified "yes"; my parents were firmly convinced that inappropriate behavior demands strong responses. He yammered on for a while, said various things doubtless meant to be insulting, and finished with "Your father would be very disappointed in you."

At the time, I just laughed at him; my father was uncompromising and, yes, fairly rude to people he felt were transgressing. However, a day or two later, I was telling someone the story of this ludicrously stupid comment, and my friend pointed out that, in context, since the man obviously knew my father had been dead less than three weeks, this comment wasn't "stupid", but rather, one of the most disgustingly hostile, spiteful things either of us could imagine. Thinking, not about myself as I am, but about who this guy must have thought I was, I cannot imagine what kind of basic soul rot would lead someone to do something so calculatedly cruel.

Conveniently, I don't really care. I knew my father fairly well, and while I may have done things he wouldn't be proud of, yelling at boors was a great passtime of his, and I know damn well he would have backed me on this one. However, it's still a mind-numbingly rude thing to say. I mean, it's beyond "rude" to the point where I can't really find an appropriate word.

Anyway, that's the story. I'm putting this up because it explains both something about my father's attitude (which will be a Good Thing when I get to doing a page about some of his works and accomplishments) and why Telegrafix is on the list of Bad Guys in my list of companies I like or dislike.

Comments about this web page can be sent to: