On Tuesday morning I posted the side-by-side of Melania Trump delivering a portion of Michelle Obama's DNC speech. I didn't do it to slag Mrs. Trump -- in fact, I stated* that I was positive she didn't have anything to do with writing the speech and I felt very sorry for her. I posted it because, as one who writes for a living, I didn't believe it was an accident. Plagiarism is a serious matter for professionals, and we all know how to borrow without crossing that line. My point was, whoever did this crossed that line and knew what they were doing.
Enter Mark. I met him at the beginning of my career. Back in the 1980s, we were both writers. He moved from creative to production early on because he believed there was more money and more opportunity. So I don't think he's been a writer for decades.
First, he told me I was straight up "wrong." On my own page! He maintained it wasn't "stolen," that it was just "common sentiments arranged in a familiar way." No, it was verbatim.
Then he told me "everyone does it," and sited the Barack Obama/Deval Patrick incident (which, of course, wasn't the same thing at all). How intellectually dishonest is that? Um, how could Melania Trump's stealing be just like Barack Obama's stealing if she didn't steal? I told Mark that he had his own page and he really ought to post this stuff there, not on mine.
My cousin, a musician, chimed in TO ME (he's never met Mark) about how serious this was. In the past he and I have talked about how arrangers can't copyright their "charts," and how that's when honor comes into play. While my cousin said nothing negative about Melania Trump, he did call the Trump campaign "a garbage fire." This didn't offend me, and since it's my page, that's all that should matter. Mark, however, got mad and went after my cousin.
I reminded Mark, for the second time, that he has his own page and his own page is the place to post these thoughts. I told him he cannot argue with my family on my page. I said that, if my incendiary comments caused him to forget his manners, he should hide my feed.
|No, Melania DID NOT wear Jerry's shirt to the RNC|
And if I'm so stupid, why is he tracking my feed so closely? I don't think the photo was up five minutes before he "corrected" it.
And so Mark is gone.
It wasn't just about politics, though politics are what brought out the worst in him. Back in the 1980s, he used to flirt with me a lot. It made me uncomfortable because he was married -- you know how every group has that guy who married younger than everyone else -- and I was involved with someone. I thought perhaps I was imagining it, because I've never been that confident in my looks and Mark's wife is a cute little blonde.
However, when he moved to Texas, an incident happened that made me wary. In 1988, I was in Dallas on business and called him and his wife. They suggested I stay for the weekend and they'd show me the town. I had a motel room -- after all, I had flown down there for a meeting -- and extended my stay on my own dime.
Mark insisted I stay with them, in their home, for the weekend. The drive would be too onerous, it would give them a chance to show off their new house and two sons, and it would save me money. He was so adamant that I gave in.
We had a nice time. Mostly I remember touring Southfork and swimming in their pool. After his wife went to bed, Mark and I were alone in the living room. He told me about how they didn't have sex anymore, and how she refused to see a doctor or therapist. EEK! I'm a spinster! I know nothing about marriage! Get me out of here!
The next morning, we all made small talk about the big storm that crashed overnight. Mark said it would be fun for him and his wife to "adopt" me. Then he could cuddle me when it stormed and hey, maybe even wash my back in the tub. This was said in front of me to his wife! Clearly I was being used as some kind of catalyst for a his/her argument I wanted no part of. EEK! Get me to the airport!
I only ever saw him once after that. It was during the OJ trial. I met him for a drink when he was up in Chicago on business. One drink, 20 years ago.
Yet as soon as I joined Facebook, he wanted me to be his "friend."
We knew each other well 35 years ago. We saw each other for 90 minutes 20 years ago. We are not "friends."
And he's a RWNJ. And he follows me way too closely. And he picked on my cool and very creative cousin.
So I unfriended him. I very nearly shot him a final message: "I'm fat now, you know." I bet if he knew that, losing me wouldn't bother him at all.
*Erroneously, it turns out.