I recently read Drew Magary’s memoir of his life after his collapse and resulting brain damage. When I updated Goodreads to add that I was reading it someone I vaguely know via another author commented. She commented to say that Drew was an asshole when she met him and she would never read any of his books again. OK. I need to know that why? Also, I’ve met Drew two times and he was not an asshole either time. I’m not saying I don’t believe her. He might have had a bad day and it came out at his appearance that day. I know I’ve had bad days and then was a jerk to someone who didn’t deserve it. It’s not great, but it happens sometimes. Also, she was from a rival bookseller and waited until the end of the event to talk to him about who she was and what she did. Maybe he was tired and didn’t want a sales pitch at the end of his event. Regardless, is it worth jumping on someone’s Goodreads status to tell them you won’t read his books because he wasn’t nice to you?
I’ve had this happen a few times before in various ways. A fellow librarian loves to tell the story about how rude Nora Roberts was at an event. It’s a funny story and he is a great storyteller, but was she really bad enough for you to tell hundreds of librarians that she is a terrible person? Another author who has a bad reputation with booksellers was extremely nice to me and my kids after a very long wait to get books signed. She’s obviously not always the monster the bookstore people make her out to be.
I went to college at the University of Kentucky. I had several classes with people who played basketball there. If you play basketball at UK you are a star and in the public eye. One of the players I knew from class went on to become a college basketball coach. Whenever fans would talk about who should be the next coach at UK his mane would come up from the people who thought we should hire someone from the “family”. Each time, certain people would jump in to say he was a jerk and should never be considered. Why was he a jerk? Because when he was a college student he didn’t stop to sign autographs and talk to random people who approached him when he was trying to live life outside of basketball. When he was in class with people who treated him like a fellow student, he was friendly and approachable.
Is there a point to all of this rambling? Maybe? Does there have to be?
My point – Yes, there are people out there who are assholes. We’ve all met them. We might be one of them. But, there are some people who just have a bad day or just want to be left alone to buy groceries in peace. Is the asshole the person who might not have been nice 24/7 or the people who jump at the opportunity to tell people not to read books or hire someone because they had one bad experience with them?
It’s also good to remember the advice of the great Raylan Givens
If you run into an asshole in the morning, you ran into an asshole. If you run into assholes all day, you’re the asshole.Raylan Givens, Justified