Tim says: I found this story in my “unpublished” archives. I have no idea if I ever got around to publishing it.
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Sometimes folks amaze me. In the aftermath of Hurricane Isabel (September 18, 2003) — and due to the fact that Rich, Walt, and I lived in the hurricane’s path — Recipe du Jour received literally hundreds of emails wishing us well. And then, for no apparent reason, we received an odoriferous email like this one:
“I always find it difficult to feel sorry for victims of hurricanes. People who move into these areas get to enjoy the best of locations . . . summer home resort quality living . . . year around. They know full well they are moving into a hurricane prone area. Unlike a tornado victim, they get plenty of warning and not a surprise attack at 2am in the morning. Knowing this, I feel they should prepare for living in such an area by carrying proper insurance instead of relying on donations as heavily as they do. I’m relieved you all are okay but I just can’t drum up the sympathy.
An Ohio resident“
Usually I just let these types of emails roll off my back. They don’t even deserve a response. But this particular one kept haunting me. Why would anyone write a note like this? What purpose could it possibly serve? Should I reply? What should I say?
I attempted to write a response several times, but I realized nothing nice would come of it.
Hurricane Isabel cut a path along the eastern United States hundreds of miles long, reaching more than 400 miles inland. Look at a map. Find Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, which is about 50 miles from the Ohio state line. Spring Mills, the tiny town where Walt lives, is nearby. Certainly a summer home resort area if I ever saw one. Same with Roanoke Rapids, North Carolina (near where I live), to which tourists flock year around. (Humor!)
Strikes me as strange that an Ohio resident living in the infamous “Tornado Alley” could write such an ignorant and insensitive email. Even though “people who move into these areas . . . should prepare for living in such an area by carrying proper insurance instead of relying on donations as heavily as they do”, I certainly remain sympathetic when tornadoes touch down, devastating entire communities and causing millions of dollars in property damage.
Hereto forthwith nameless Ohio resident, you need to get out more, take more time sniffing the roses. Maybe even join the human race.
That, and buy a lot more insurance.