A Letter to the Dickheads Who Love to Tell You When People You Don't Know Are Talking Shit About You

Illustration for article titled A Letter to the Dickheads Who Love to Tell You When People You Don't Know Are Talking Shit About You
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The list of things that I don’t know is boundless. Endless. Infinite. There are so many things that I don’t know that the only thing approaching it in scale is the list of things I don’t even know that I don’t even know.


For instance, I did not know, until last week, that Joe Biden has the same middle name as every nine-year-old model on a box of Just For Me Hair Milk Leave-In Detangler. I did not know it was even possible for white men to be named Robinette, because, well, Robinette existed outside of the spectrum of white male names I believed to be possible. But now I know there’s at least one white man—and possibly others—who subvert that expectation. So now when I meet a white man and I learn his middle name is Regina, I’ll be prepared.

And so, I am aware of the possibility that there might be a not-insignificant number of people who actually enjoy being informed that someone they’ve never met, seen, or heard of before had a negative thing to say about them. Maybe you’re one of these people. And you’re sitting at a desk right now like I am, but instead of writing a blog, you’re on pins and needles excitedly waiting for someone to tell you that some random nigga thinks you smell like Alka Seltzer. If you do exist, I don’t want to erase you!

But I have yet to meet one of these people. Who I have met—who exist in far greater numbers than I’ve ever understood—are the people who love to tell you that “people” are talking shit about you. If you are one of these people, I want to know 1) why you exist and 2) how to stop this (your existence) from happening. Because I hate you.

It always happens the same way. You’re eating peanuts, minding your own damn business, and here they come with their bullshit.

A person minding their own damn business (APMTODB): Hey.

The dickhead (TD): Yo, I was just at the mall, and this Emily chick in line at Talbots said your face looks like chicken feet.


APMTODB: ....ok.

TD: Just thought you should know. I had your back, though. Said you don’t look like chicken feet in person.


APMTODB: Thanks?

Nowhere is this worse than on the internet, where some random could be talking shit about you—which is well within their rights; talking group shit about things is the entire point of the internet—and someone you know catches wind of the conversation and then tells you about it. Or, even worse, tags you in it. So now, not only are they bringing unnecessary negative energy to people’s lives, those snitch fucks are tattle-telling on people having a perfectly healthy shit-talking session.


(The goofiest offenders are the ones who tag celebrities in critical but harmless conversations about their work. I’m sure Rihanna was just dying to know that @Stacy_burgh19921 thought ANTI was a coaster, you Donnie Brasco-ass nigga.)

If this is you, a part of me is compelled to give you the benefit of the doubt, and believe that you do this because you’d want to know if random people you have no connection to were saying shit about you. But nah. You just like the drama. You just want a reaction. Maybe even a response. This makes you both a shit-stirrer and a stir made of shit, and no one likes you. Not even your goldfish. Fish hate you.


So again, if you do this, tell me why you exist. And then do me a favor and stop that (your existence) from happening, because it stinks over here now.

Damon Young is the editor-in-chief of VSB, a contributing opinion writer for The New York Times, and the author of What Doesn't Kill You Makes You Blacker (Ecco/HarperCollins)



When my god-daughter was about 2, she spent 2-3 weekends a month with me. She was a great little girl who really didn’t disobey. She loved my few little fish and was told to never, ever try to feed them without me. She killed about 5-6 whole aquariums of fish by dumping the food and cleaner in the tank after quietly slipping out of then back into bed. I tried hiding the food, putting it on top of the fridge...no matter what, when I awoke, she’d be in bed watching ‘tartoons’ and the fish would already be dead.

One morning, in frustration, I semi-yelled at her,”That’s why the fish don’t like you! They don’t wanna be your friend and don’t want you to spend the night nooo more!”

She got the most feelings-hurt look on her face that I still feel bad about 20 years later. But the last set of fish her dad bought her lived a little longer after that. And without objects and over amounts of food and cleaners in their tank.

Your last lines reminded me that people really do respect the thoughts and feelings of fish. Even 2 and 3 year olds.