What to do with haters?
Here is a series of comments I recently received on this post, simple watercolors of a mostly-dead praying mantis, from a reader named Ashleigh. Or is it Connie? Hard to tell.
those paintings made me sick im sorry there a bit strange my pray mantis stopped moving i assume its dead great artwork though.
ok another look and i will puke these pictures make my tummy feel weird so sorry though and please tell me if my mantis is dead i wont move is it dead shes a girl named Rocksenne.
Connie don’t those pictures give you the chills ?
to be honest i dont like the drawing there sick and disgusting it looks like you ment to murder him just for the painting thats just sad you did not even help him for all you care that makes me sad and i hate this website.
Comments like this, inhabiting that murky space between spam and lunacy, are hilarious and deserving of a thoughtful response.
I find it thrilling that an animal rights activist and art enthusiast such as yourself has taken the time to view and comment on this post — not once, but four times! (As space is limited, I was only able to publish one, sorry!)
First, I created this watercolor in the tradition of 18th-century romantic still-life painters who were commissioned by wealthy estate owners to paint scenes of tables laden with the spoils of hunts and gardens in order to document their wealth. In the future, I will try to make this art-historical reference more clear by scattering a few cocktail onions and pomegranate seeds around the scene.
Second, I do eat these insects after I’ve painted them, so you can’t really call me a murderer. In any case, I shall be more mindful in the future about what I pick up off the sidewalk, employing life-saving measures whenever possible (CPR, transfusions, catheterization, etc), providing there is no DNR in evidence.
And finally, since I am the author of this blog and therefore ultimately responsible for what you’ve chosen to view and your subsequent suffering, I would like to send a donation in your name to the praying mantis rescue organization of your choice. Please forward the address and I’ll get a check off immediately.
P.S. I’ve added a more tranquil image below to help restore your offended sensibilities and both your personalities to a more joyful state. It’s a photograph by Joel-Peter Witkin. Google his name to find more!
Image courtesy of Bruce Silverstein Gallery.
The next hater to intrude upon my otherwise peaceful life is unfortunately closer to home. Literally.
Last night at 10:30 p.m. (I was in bed), I received a series of angry, sarcastic texts from my neighbor regarding the toads screaming in my back yard. Well, it’s not really “screaming,” per se, as much as a mating call, but you can decide for yourself by clicking the orange button.
She began with, “That frog in your pond… not the most beautiful noise especially on a hot summer night when I want to open my windows & get to sleep @ 10pm… Please Laura do something about this horrible sounding creature…” and quickly degenerated into accusations and threats that she was recording the cacophony (to what end, I’m not sure, unless she is collecting evidence for a toad scream lawsuit). S/he carried on — ignoring my apologies and offers to find a solution — as if I am a toad farmer who is personally responsible his/her insomnia.
S/he continued with sarcasm and anger punctuated with triple exclamation points. Keep in mind, this is a neighbor with whom I’ve been on perfectly friendly terms for 10 years! I give him/her eggs! I explained that I had no way of knowing Neighbor had been so disturbed “for ten years” because s/he never mentioned it. Neighbor basically claimed that I should’ve known, and that I was lying about being able to sleep through it myself. Then I said good night and turned off my phone.
A short while later, Isabella heard a big splash in the pond, presumably caused by an object hurled by Neighbor over the 8′ fence separating our yards. Then, a song began blasting through Neighbor’s window. The same song. Over and over again. I can only guess that his/her intention was to disrupt our sleep like “we” were interrupting his/hers(?) (That’s the trouble with passive-aggressive behavior — you never really know for sure.) This, coming from a mid-fifties, highly educated person who until now had shown no signs of, well, lunacy.
I find it fascinating that Neighbor was apparently able to sleep with a loud song on repeat, and not the amorous expressions of a couple of toads.
I think I’ll open this one to group: Do I capture the toads and take them somewhere else? Do I thoughtfully explain to Neighbor that I am, in fact, not in control of the situation because toads come and go as they please? That my yard is a wildlife corridor, a safe haven for environmentally beneficial creatures like toads, bees, birds, etc? Or should I just put the recording above on Repeat on my laptop and keep it outside, facing Neighbor’s bedroom, forever?
I would appreciate any advice in the comments below. I’m so tired right now that I’m probably not in the best decision-making state.