Social media is not all it’s cracked up to be.
I clicked on a “Daily Mail” article on my Facebook page, which took me to a page where a picture of Dick Van Dyke appeared. This was a picture of the 96-year-old actor and his 50-year-old wife. The ones I have seen of Dick and his wife all dressed up for things like the Kennedy Center Honors have been quite flattering, but this photo was a candid shot of the former song-and-dance man dressed casually and apparently about to enter a car with his young wife. He was bent over, his concave chest exposed, and he had a gigantic full beard that resembled David Letterman’s. In other words, it was not a flattering picture, when compared to many others.
Someone had posted this unflattering photo and said, “Dick Van Dyke is 96. Doesn’t he look great?”
My entire remark/comment was, “Define ‘great.’” And so it begins.
I was being entirely serious about wanting to hear why the poster would find this photo so “great.”
Soon, a woman who claimed to be a nurse at the National Health Service in the United Kingdom wrote, “Be kind.”
I was legitimately confused as to how asking the simple question “Define ‘great’” was not being “kind.” The kind thing to have done would have been to select a more flattering photo of the duo—probably one where they were dressed up for an evening event and knew their photo was going to be taken. Of course, the full beard was a bad look for Dick, just as it is for David Letterman. [Some other comments below my own noted this.]
I sent the woman who had done the “Be Kind” posting this remark:
“Wow! Such snark! I would have liked the person originally making the comment to specifically say what they felt was ‘great’ about the Dick Van Dyke photo. He looks much more bent over than in the photos I have seen of him in the recent past, and the beard is not a good look. He does not look ‘great,’ nor do most people at age 96, which I think was your snarky message to me, a person you don’t even know in the midst of cancer treatments. YOU ‘be kind.’ Geez.
I added, “I’d unfriend you but you’re not my friend in the first place.”’
The “Kind” lady responded: “Don’t pull the I’m going through cancer treatment as a reason to be a cow, Sweetie. Get a grip and get on with your life.”
Me: “I asked a legitimate question. YOU are the one being ‘unkind.” I think the photo was a poor one for Dick Van Dyke.”
I added, “Why don’t you go have a stiff drink instead of behaving like a name-calling low life.”
Ms. Poole reacted with 4 smiley face emojis and the words, “You need help, Love.”
I responded, “Yes, trolls like you are out there trying to pick fights with others whom they do not even know.”
Our “kind” nurse then said: “Don’t make comments if you can’t take the criticism. Brave over a message, aren’t you?”
Me: “It was a simple inquiry into why that particular photo, which is very bad of Dick Van Dyke, was termed ‘great’ by the poster.”
Our kind nurse responded: “Go away, you ridiculous woman.” (UPDATE: On a different blog, tonight, 5/20/2022), the “Be kind” woman denies being a nurse or saying that she worked for the National Health Service. I do realize that the NHS probably has office workers, as well, so take your pick, but I quoted her back to her from my own copy of the exchange, which was mostly her being horrific to me. I purposely avoided using any profanity and—aside from the remark about her foot in the blocking door—chose to ignore commenting on some truly comment-worthy photos that make my pose on the steps of the AMC in Chicago at the Film Festival look like Cannes this week.)
Me: “YOU are the ‘unkind’ one who inferred otherwise. I asked for clarification. That photo was NOT a good pic of Dick Van Dyke. If you think it was, I would hate to see your wedding photos.” (Actually, only engagement photos and only from 2021, but verry comment worthy, had I chosen to go there.)
The “kind” nurse then called me “an absolute tool,” but typed it as “toof.”
I responded, “ Toof. Define ‘toof.’ (lol)”
Kind Nurse: “TOOL. Learn to read.”
Me: “Yeah. Right. I’ve written 50 books, Sweetheart. And I taught reading. So, wrong insult.”
Kind Nurse: “And yet you are unable to read.” (*Owned and operated a Sylvan Learning Center for Reading and other improvement for close to 20 years and taught reading at the junior high school level for 18 years before that. In other words, like Trumpists, an insult with no basis in fact whatsoever.)
Me: “You are a strange person who goes around telling complete strangers to be a ‘kind’ person because they ask for clarification. I am very able to read and to block, both of which I have done. Not sure how long it takes to kick in but hopefully sooner rather than later. My remark was very benign. Look it up. Yours was very snotty and snarky. And, yes, you are attacking a person with stress from recent cancer diagnosis, so give yourself a medal for what a huge bitch one would have to be to do that.”
Kind Nurse: “Clearly I’m living rent-free in your head as you keep trying to justify yourself. For someone who teaches reading and writes books your punctuation is shocking. Guess you have to have someone proofread for you.” (*Everyone who writes has proofreaders. I am often that proofreader for others. After stints at 5 colleges, my proofreading is not in question, but my typing in a white heat probably was.)
Me: “Glad to see you’re engaged, at least. Close in age to Dick Van Dyke, are you? That last remark was so amusing I almost laughed. You and Dick would make a handsome pair.”
Kind Nurse: “You need to get back on your medication, dear. Clearly off your trolley.” (*As a cancer survivor, I take 8 pills a night, none of them having to do with mental health,all of them having to do with staying alive and getting well.)
Me: “All I asked for was clarification about what the person meant by the term ‘great.’ That was a horrible picture of Dick Van Dyke. Your calling me a “cow” simply seems to mean “takes one to know one” judging from your photo.” (*OK…I couldn’t stop myself after seeing this person’s photos, which were underwhelming. My bad. Apologies all around, but I definitely was the restrained one.)
Kind Nurse: “There are horrible photos of you in your leopard print, but we didn’t comment on that, did we?” She added that my outfit was “monstrous.” [Outfit is brown fabric with gold overlay and not a leopard in sight. It’s one of my favorite jackets, very expensive, and never fails to elicit compliments when I wear it in person—one of them from Vanessa Redgrave.]
Me: “Leopard print? Lol. That was Cher. Well, at least I wasn’t hung up on somebody 96, as you seem to be. That is not a leopard print. Get some glasses.”
Kind Nurse: “It’s a bit blurry, which is probably best, considering.” (Definitely agree that it is blurry; that’s what happens when you count on your spouse for photos. Maybe, if you ever get one, you will also experience this.)
Me: “Don’t forget your advice; Be kind. You are SO kind, aren’t you?”
At this point, typing rapid-fire, I typoed some spelling errors, causing the kind nurse to say, “For fuck’s sake, woman, learn to spell.” (punctuation mine; nurse had none.When your Big Comeback is because a person typing at the speed of sound misses a letter, you are desperate.)
Me: “I think you meant “chuck” but then, spelling is not your forte. Ooooo. Here comes the profanity. Good for you. The last refuge of the brain damaged. You do this after telling others to ‘be kind?’”
The kind UK nurse then typed, in all caps: CAN YOU ACTUALLY READ (Question mark missing).
Me: “You set such a great example of kindness. I can read, but the vote is out on you.”
She then typed YOU in all caps, as I had typed so quickly that the “y” did not make it to the page. Again, a simple typo, which is quite obvious—unless you are blind or really reaching.)
Me: “No need for ALL CAPITALS OR profanity. Not from the “be kind” lady. Wow. I love to see your “kindness” in action. What a gal.”
The “kind nurse” then said: “So far the only person who can’t spell or read is you.” (No comma after “so far.”)
Me: “I disagree, and so do others.
Kind nurse: “Thought you had me blocked.” (Definitely.)
Me: “I have. Not sure how long it takes to work. You probably stuck your ugly foot in the block door before it closed.” (Been so long since I’ve blocked someone that I’ve forgotten the basics.)
Kind Nurse: “It’s instant if you do it right.” (I probably did not do it “right.”)
Me: “And I do mean ugly.” (I had just gotten a gander at the engagement photo of the middle-aged couple.)
Kind Nurse: (with emojis) “Says you?”
Me: “Go harass someone else, OK? Go demonstrate how “kind” you are to them. I just think it is quite ironic that a person tells ME to “be kind” and then insults me for 20 minutes. Don’t you find that a bit ironic? Or don’t you know what the word means? And all I said was that I wanted a better definition of “great” for a bad photo. Next time, consider whether YOU are “being kind.”
Kind nurse: “YOU messaged me first, you (sic) strand woman.” [Please note: the word ‘strand’ was obviously a typo, which I did not point out, as Ms. NHS had been doing repeatedly, because it is not difficult to figure out that the person, if not typing “live,” would probably have done fine with the word. Take note, Tracey.]
Me: “Yes, I messaged you because of your stupid remark and then I wrote it up on MY page, which may cause some discussion. We have voted that YOU are the “unkind” one. I was simply asking for some clarification of the term ‘great.” How is that “unkind?” I recently saw a cool photo of Dick Van Dyke in a traffic accident situation, and it was “great.” He was driving a sports car and there had been a minor accident. The photo you thought was so great was unflattering. Perhaps that photo of me is, as well, but that is NOT—repeat NOT—a leopard print. Geez. You really do need to have your glasses checked if you think that is a leopard print. You can check out the post I’m going to put up on my blog. It will, no doubt, get a big laugh from readers. (At least it’s some new material.)”
Kind Nurse: “Yeah. I have seen the self-centered woe-is me blog.” (Kindness personified! I had only a couple short articles re health; neither was “woe is me.” I’m well on my way to 100% survival and grateful for it, but the lack of sensitivity of this NHS employee–now claiming to NOT be a nurse—is astonishing. And, in my case, there is proof, while we are simply going to have to take Tracey’s word for her own statements. I hope the kidney donation thing is true, but she’s already back-tracked on the nurse/NHS and next contention will be that the NHS was just something convenient to say, as she insulted me about my lack of a “carer” (misspelling hers) last night. After 40 years of working—18 as a teacher and the rest as CEO of 2 businesses and teaching writing at 6 colleges, I have had a “career” and am now self-employed as a writer, blogger, and film critic. All of which is supported by plenty of proof.)
Me: “Actually, my last post was all about famous women I have photographed. You must be behind, as usual. Catch up.”
Kind Nurse: “You are psycho.” (Ah, the good old insults, again. I’m the least “psycho” person you know, but, like all people just minding their own business and trying to be a good person, I did not appreciate being insulted for half an hour by some wacko in England who seems to think that mistyping in the wee hours of the morning indicates an inability to write or spell. Guess again; once again, you picked the WRONG insult and aimed it at the WRONG person. At this point, Ms. NHS made some remark about me “thinking I was the only person in the world with cancer,” (also nice, like the rest of her remarks). My response:
Me: “Did I say I was ‘the only person in the world’ with cancer? You must live a sheltered life if you think that. One in every 8 women in America will get what I have, they say, and the advice to “be kind” might be followed by someone with a conscience who is a nurse (or an NHS employee). Instead, you enjoy insulting me, making fun of my outfit, calling me names, and being a truly unpleasant person. I think you are in the wrong line of work.” (*This person either lied about working for the NHS, denying her nurse status, or is now nervous about how insensitive and truly crass her remarks were. Good. I hope that the many fans of my “The Color of Evil” series in England report her to their NHS. Nobody working with sick people should be this mean-spirited and vicious without cause. I shall continue to refer to this person as “the kind nurse” as an ironic appellation that is just as good as “the kind NHS employee.” Of course, it is entirely possible that she lied, since none of the accusations leveled at me held the slightest water. Again, its like revisiting the Trump years.)
At this point, I typoed (again) causing the kind nurse to retype the word “names” ( left out the “m”). My response? “Yeah. I’m typing 250 wpm, so deal with it.” (another typo on “with” as “with”)
Me: “I did exactly 2 blog posts on my treatment, to let my readers know. Next, I will tell how “kind” Tracy Poole has been to a stranger. I believe it will start with the “cow” remark and go on to the “leopard” print incorrect observation.”
At this point, the “kind nurse” comes out with: “Maybe tell them how I donated a kidney to a stranger, as well.” (*True or not true? Just tonight, there was a denial of her own contention about the NHS, unless she is splitting hairs and does something other than nursing, which I sincerely hope is the case! If it’s true, then perhaps search your conscience and fire off an apology for your “unkind” behavior and we’ll call it even, although it is not. I need people like you in my life right now like I need another surgery.)
Me: “Did they take part of your frontal lobe, as well? Maybe the cortex? You don’t seem to “get” the “be kind” advice you dish out. If you’re going to dish that out, then follow it yourself. I think you can get along without one kidney, but you are really in need of some additional brain cells. Most of us would NOT say “be kind” to a total stranger and then do their best to be shitty to them for a good long time. By the way, the little laughing emojis aren’t working. The emoji for you is MIA. So, remember: BE KIND. And if someone wants clarification of why the worst picture in the world of old Dick is called “great,” don’t start insulting them, okay? Dick definitely ought to lose the full beard was the point. He looks terrible in that photo, while I agree that he has aged well, otherwise (until that photo was taken, anyway). You, on the other hand, are a whole different kettle of fish and you are NOT ‘kind.’ I also don’t believe that you ever donated a kidney to a stranger. You do not seem to have the right mental make-up to BE KIND.”
There was more, but that is enough to raise my blood pressure a few points. It was mostly just insults aimed at me, anyway, which gets repetitious fast.
UPDATE of 5/20/2022: So, now the NHS employee (possibly NOT a nurse, but NHS employee) is sending me messages on my seldom-used phone at what is 1 a.m. CDT (more insults). She is maintaining her “kidney donation” story is true, but denying she is an NHS nurse. I have no personal knowledge of either, so take your pick. If she donated a kidney, I hope she can get back some of that compassion for others, because she has shown me none, and I’m not going gently into that good night.
But—and here’s the thing—last night, amongst her gloating, vicious, often profane and always insulting remarks—Tracy said: I’m living rent-free in your head.” Ha! It seems that she blocked but then UNblocked me and on and on. Just to be clear, this is NOT Facebook, Tracey. It’s my blog, in existence since 2007, and my most active fan base is probably in the U.K. (I once did a book signing in Australia, but England, where I was an exchange student in my college days, has quite a few fans of my books, so good on me.)
I already blocked “the kind nurse”, as much as I remember the procedure, so I have no idea why she is continuing to insult and bug me late at night, our U.S. time. My phone will be off soon, so have fun with that, then.
If she really DOES work for a health organization, she might (if she were really compassionate enough to donate a kidney) think about things anyone in my shoes is going through and realize just how crappy her remarks were and continue to be.
I’m not attempting to contact her in any way, so I have no idea why she keeps blowing up my phone with HER remarks, which should, if the world were just, be an apology. Her mean comments were really low. I hope she feels a certain degree of shame/regret. I don’t think it is likely, but that is one good reason to update.
However, as for me, I have “blocked” her but she, herself, says she UNblocked to send me more insults.
“Great,” she said grimly. I, too, have a copy of her remarks to me and–aside from the foot-in-the-block door remark (with apologies all around for a fleeting lapse in judgment)–I was pretty chill. So, Tracey, what I would say back at you (one of your “taunts” last night) is: “Gee. I seem to be living rent-free in your head.” There will be no photos of this woman. It’s late, but it’s not THAT late.