Anonymous caller’s insults don’t hold water

July 10, 2013  PLYMOUTH EAGLE.




By: Susan Willett, Publisher



Usually, when I get an irate complaint call I make a serious effort to find out where I went awry and try to correct my mistakes. Unlike many folks I know, I still, despite long therapy sessions, am immediately sure that whoever is calling telling me I am in error is right and my actions indefensible. I always assume that I’m the one who really messed up.

Well, until an extremely cranky man called to tell me what a terrible, horrible, awful job I had done on the story about the fire at the downtown Plymouth fire station. Before I could even apologize, or ask him any questions about specific errors, he went off on a rant the likes of which I haven’t heard since I used a Brillo pad to wash my mother’s new Pontiac. I mean, he got real ugly, real fast.

Now, I’m no slouch at interrupting people. It has actually become a matter of survival and nearly second nature with my family. But this guy was beyond my skill level, he just got on a roll and kept on going. He built himself up such a head of steam, I began to wonder if the entire monologue was for an audience on his end of the line rather than me.

The longer he complained, the more virulent and nasty his attitude and his language became. Seriously, the last time I heard some of those words was well, maybe last week when I locked myself out of my car, but still, you get the idea.

I mean, his language didn’t include anything I haven’t said, often with more emphasis than he used, and certainly nothing I haven’t heard before. His profanity wasn’t very creative, but he made up for it with volume and repetition.

He wouldn’t slow down to give me a chance to tell him where the information in the story he was complaining about came from and that, in fact, I didn’t even write it, not that that makes much difference, I know.

I really tried to get him to tell me what the error he was so upset about was so I could check into the situation and try and correct it. No way. He didn’t want anything corrected, he just wanted to yell about this being the “worst” rag ever printed” and lots and lots of other stuff, most of which I’ve man- aged to wipe from my mind. (Just as an aside, that wiping is getting easier and easier the older I get and isn’t exactly always voluntary.)

Anyhow, what it seems he was upset about was that the story reported that the Plymouth Township firefighters put the fire in the fire truck engine out. Yeah, I know, who cares, but it obviously was a big deal to him.

The volunteers from the City of Plymouth had been at the fire for about 25 minutes when the four Plymouth Township professionals got there. The on-call guys from Northville had been at the scene for various amounts of time, too, trying to move vehicles out of the way, get stuff out of the building and lay out and connect fire hoses, and all the other stuff that has to be done at such a hectic scene.

I suspect, although I have no evidence, that my caller was one of the Northville on-call guys who felt he and they deserved full credit for their efforts. Except he and his fellow department members are, in fact, on-call guys. There is no way they have the experience and or the training of professional firefighters, despite what a recent brochure sent out to Plymouth homeowners claims. Maybe this is a case of this guy actually believing that claptrap being perpetrated on the local residents, who knows.

What my irate caller didn’t let me tell him during his long string of obscenities, was that the Plymouth Township guys are out on the expressway about once a week putting out some kind of vehicle engine fire. A fire in a vehicle engine for them is like blinking their eyes. They could do this in their sleep, and at 4:20 a.m. when they were called in to help, they did just that.

Like my Uncle Toots used to say, “Anything is easy if you know how.” The guys from Plymouth Township proved that because when they saw the fire truck ablaze, they knew exactly the most efficient way to put it out. They’ve had lots and lots of practice.

So please Mr. Caller, whoever you are, don’t blame me because your enthusiasm for the job and your ego don’t compensate for your lack of experience.

Just like your volume and obscenity didn’t compensate for your rudeness.

|News Plymouth Michigan

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