An unfiltered fire hose of flaming condemnation

Job opening

Tuesday morning we drove down to the local CBS affiliate to give an interview about my book to the news during the noon hour, and when we walked into the studios we immediately recognized the smell of Mormon Church. This is not uncommon in Utah, for certain buildings to smell of wooden pews, starch, and carpet cleaner, an aroma particular to Sunday meetings at an LDS church. Could be similar building materials, but it could also be that this is what Mormons smell like, and before I even finish this sentence I should probably ask myself, Heather? Really? Do you want all that email from angry Mormons who take offense at being described as smelling like a warm casserole fart?

We arrived early because that is how I operate, although do you know how hard it is to get anywhere on time when you live with a man who must pat down every pocket in his wardrobe to locate his wallet and keys? Every pocket on his body, every pocket in the six pairs of pants scattered on the floor in the bedroom, every pocket in every jacket hanging in the closet. He looks like he’s flagged himself for a security check at the airport and is patting himself down to make sure he’s not concealing a deadly weapon.

We waited in the lobby for someone to come out and point us in the right direction, and when the receptionist answered a call on the speaker phone we both buried our heads into our iPhones to pretend that we weren’t listening. Except, we couldn’t help but listen because it wasn’t just an ordinary phone call. It was a hate phone call. An emotional hate phone call. A hate phone call threatening to sue someone because the captions on certain Saturday evening shows haven’t been working. Where is the person in charge?! They wanted to know! NOW! WHERE ARE THEY, DAMMIT! SHUT UP WITH ALL YOUR EXCUSES! I’ll admit, for a second I thought I had entered some weird dimension where the comments section of this website had come alive and was now being read aloud through a telephone.

And that’s when the entire right side of my face began to twitch involuntarily.

The receptionist handled it remarkably well, resisted the understandable human urge to shout back NO, YOU SHUT UP, kept assuring this very unhappy consumer that they as a local affiliate have no control over whether or not those specific shows feature captions, but the caller was undeterred and viciously shouted things like, “NO! NO! NO!” and “SUE! SUE! SUE!” and even threw in a growl for good measure. When the receptionist tried politely to wind down the conversation the angry person hung up abruptly. The best part? The angry person WAS A RELAY OPERATOR, meaning this was a person hired to communicate for a deaf person. Having once worked a job where I routinely answered phone calls from the public, I can honestly say that I’ve never heard a more dedicated relay operator. The ones I encountered were very stoic in their delivery, uninterested at times, usually monotone in delivering another person’s commands. But this one, my god, she knew how to communicate an emotion! And I thought, this is exactly what I have been depriving my hate mailers! They deserve better from me!

So I’m thinking of hiring a relay operator who will once a week stand a foot away from my face and read the hate mail that has collected over a seven-day period. She should be passionate, dedicated, capable of spitting her T’s and S’s and F’s into my eyes when reading aloud the following angry sentiments:

“Since the ‘F’ word is your favorite, that is the grade I give your website.”

“You are so pathetic. I feel sad for you. I think you should change the name of your site to”

“You are the reason why the government should be able to regulate who can have children. How tragic for your daughter.”

“Your nothing but a dirty piece of whiny drivel.”

“Get a life idiot! You got fired for being a stupid whore!”

And then once it’s all over, once she has calmed down and I’ve managed to walk around the block a couple of times, we can hug, agree that the both of us were having a bad day, and then go out and grab a beer and laugh about how stupid all that was.

I think I just figured out how to fix the Internet.

  • I find it hilarious that people tell you to get a real job, or that you were fired for x. I know it’s cliche to say they’re just jealous, but that is the ONLY explanation. Who the hell wouldn’t want to be able to look back at their miserable office job and go, “yeah, who’s laughing now, fuckers?” Especially now that you’re making way more, can support your family, stay at home with your husband and kid, travel, write a book, and take silly pictures of your dogs. That is a CHARMED LIFE. I can sort of see why they might be bitter and angry and try to bring you back down. I can also see how you would find their ineffective flailing to be totally, totally hilarious.

    Just have Jon field your hate mail with a classic Ghostbuster’s quote: “You are like the buzzing of flies to Heather.” If he can do it with an accent through email, that’s even better.

  • Bodnoirbabe

    Screw the self-righteous assholes. I want to be like you when I have children!

  • meowsk

    Best job ever. Where do I apply? I think my skills could finally be put to use.

  • For every hate piece of email you get regarding the mormon smell thing, I think there will be at least 10 of us who secretly love it. More casserole analogies, please.

  • Brilliant.
    And I love beer.
    I also suggest you make sure they have a midwest or southern accent.

  • Clarification: the disgruntled caller was the relay operator, right?

    Also, to your one hate mailer: Do you have any idea how expensive it would be to buy!

  • For a minute there I was excited that you were going to employ one of these hateful e-mailers. You already know they’re qualified, and they must be unemployed to have time to read and write someone they hold in such contempt. A win for the economy!

    Then I got to that last part and realized with disappointment that none of your hate-mailers are qualified after all. A hug and a laugh would be beyond them.

  • The reason the relay operator was so much more emotive was because she was a video relay interpreter, not a TTY typist.

    I am a sign language interpreter myself and I work for a video relay center placing exactly the kinds of calls you witnessed… and so much more! I can do phone sex, break-ups or proposals. I can break the news that your loved one has cancer and/or just died, is in jail, or is begging for your forgiveness. I can argue with bill collectors, demand compensation, call 911, make/break appointments or negotiate a drug deal… provided, of course, that what I say is what you intended be said.

    If you want your hate mail read with that kind of venom I think I could find it in me, even if it isn’t exactly interpreting. Plus, we could compare baby bumps. Awesome!

  • Oh yes, and she needs to be able to fill in the different dialects and accents too!

  • I will definitely be able to help you out with that as I too worked in the customer service department of a large company which shall remain nameless. Let’s just say large equipment was involved.

    Now, I can yell at you in a Tennessee accent if you like (GO VOLS!) or Texan. I am about to move to Atlanta so I can work on the sweet Southern Belle thing too. Your call.

    Yelling in any accent but a Southern one just won’t suffice. Curse words just don’t come across the same when there isn’t a drawl to it.

  • Pick me! Pick me!

  • Would 7 1/2 years of previous relay operator experience give me any advantage? And yeah, the conversations one hears at that job are interesting. Who calls 900#s at 7 a.m. anyway?

  • I don’t want the job, but remember last week when you Tweeted about that AOL article and the emails you were getting?
    Can you please post more of those?

    Thanks a bunch!

  • OMG Heather, THANK YOU! I just laughed my butt off. I was reading along, wondering why a person who is obviously not deaf cares about captions so passionately and then you said it was a relay operator and I laughed so hard I snorted!

    I’ll apply for the position of weekly harassment if you’ll fly me from Alaska…or maybe we could do it over Skype and just have Chuck lick your face for the spitting part???

  • That is hilarious!

  • Please ensure he/she tells you how things are spelled. To me, that’s a large part of the joy of hate mail.

    I used to love getting passed the “difficult” callers. My favorite response is always “I’m sorry you feel that way.” I use that one in just about any situation! My friend was verbally assaulted by a former coworker’s husband at the grocery store one day. When he finished, she replied, “I’m sorry you feel that way” then walked off. It would have been better, though, had she misspelled something.

  • Hilarious!
    I too live with a husband who must pat down his pants, jackets and perform the flight of the bumblebee in order to locate his keys, wallet and cell phone each and every time we leave the house.

    While arguing with the relay operator, did she say “over” each and every time? I remember a relay operator getting upset with me when I forgot to say “over” when I was done telling them, “No sir, I will not shove your satellite dish up my ass. And no, we will not turn your satellite service on until you pay your outstanding bill…….oh….ah…..Over.”

  • Rini

    Holy Shit. That made me chortle.

    I think I’m in lust with you.

    And I don’t even swing that way.

    Keep kickin’ ass, Heather. Let them haters keep on hatin’.

  • squandra

    I’m a local TV news producer, and oh, God, it is EXACTLY like that. “Ma’am, I’m afraid I have never met Charles Gibson.” Every day. And you can’t hang up.

    I’ve never likened answering the news hotline to fielding Web comments, but yep, there it is. They both attract the dumb and the crazy.

  • You need to hire the guy who reads that angry teenager’s breakup letter aloud on YouTube. Just Google “dramatic reading of a break-up letter” and you’ll find it.

    You might also have someone use Simpsons voices to read your hate mail. Sanctimony is much more pleasant in Comic Book Guy’s voice.

  • tanya kristine

    yeah…my dog used to have that VERY same look when his father and i fought.


  • Aunt Tasty

    You ABSOLUTELY just figured out how to fix the Internets. That’s impressive, Dooce!

  • You know, I just don’t get it. If people don’t like what they read here, then isn’t the simplest solution just to NOT
    READ IT? Why read it, get all annoyed, then waste energy writing hate mail? Of course, I say this knowing that I agree with 99.8% of your opinions, I’m not Mormon, and I find you quite entertaining. Maybe I’m biased.

  • Anonymous are my hero! Those idiotic people that keep sending you hate e-mails should be very afraid of your superpowers…. Go on with your bad self girl!

  • meg

    I’m really good at spitting, just ask my kids. There…I just spit while screaming at them.

  • Bailey

    I am always appalled at how rude some people are to you. It just seems so incredibly ridiculous and I don’t know how you stand it. Maybe things would be different if they had to send a picture ID along with that nasty comment. Or maybe not; an asshole will be an asshole no matter what.

    I look forward to reading your blog every day because it always makes me happy; thanks for that!

  • BouRboNiSta.

    I just wanted to say that I happened to be watching the interview on the said CBS affiliate station and I about fell off the couch laughing when you mentioned to Debbie Worthen (I believe that was who you interviewed with) that you considered yourself a recovering Mormon living amidst the Mormons. What followed was something I consider to be an awkward silence that was heard from my living room to the top of the statue of Moroni.

    Kudos to you for speaking your truth while living in the land of Zion.

  • Susan

    Ooo! Hire me! Just don’t make me wear clogs 🙂

  • kate

    Heather- I have been reading your site for going on 4 years now. And I think that you are amazing. And funny. And well spoken. And a terrific mom.
    Hatemailers be damned.

    What I have yet to understand is if you cannot stand what you are reading, then WHY ARE YOU HERE?

    That little x in the red box on the top right of your screen, click it.


  • HALLAFUCKINGLUYA!!! (Wait- does “fix the internet” mean that all of the stupid people are banned now?)
    Oh how I wish.
    ps- my captcha for this comment is “stump man” and for whatever ridiculous reason this strikes me as dirty and funny as hell.

  • I used to be a relay operator. The ones like the girl you got to listen to? We got the raises. 🙂

  • First of all, if I’m going to take time out of my day to write hate mail it is going to be something far more important than a blog post. Like ‘hey Cheesecake Factory, your lemonade made my son throw up in the mall’. You know, something like that.

    Secondly, I’ve always admired your ability to handle hate mail and I hope when I finally get important enough that people actually hate me that I will handle it as gracefully.( I doubt that will happen if I keep writing in run-on sentences).

    Thirdly, I think you should get World’s Best Avon Lady to read your hate mail. It could provide for some important maternal bonding. Or, let Chuck eat them and shit ’em out later.

    Still loving your blog after four years of reading it.

  • Lauren

    Every time you post about hate mail it shocks me. I can not believe that people would write things like that. The fact that you can turn it around and make something funny just proves how amazing you are.

    Don’t let the haters get you down!

  • Jessica

    #1- i found your blog today…i havent stopped reading it yet. its hillarious, true, honest. i love it.

    #2- I cannot believe the relay op. I work in a call center and they are very blah and monotone! I cant imagine them having an attitude or any emotion!

    #3- I love the hate mail reference. You should keep a collection, publish the book and make millions, those hate mailers would not be happy…itd be great 🙂

  • Kelli

    LOL! Warm casserole fart. Un-far-chun-ut-lee I totally know that smell.


    Objective: To obtain the position of Hate Mail-Reader.

    Education: Trained by a bitter mother, two older sisters who remember the divorce, and five younger siblings who represent all the different kinds of crazy. I can speak for everyone.

    Work Experience: My first job was working the drive-thru at a KFC. ‘Nuff said.

    Interests: Reading, yelling, spitting, hugging, drinking beer.

    References: My husband, who will assure you that I am very good at expressing ALL KINDS of emotion.

  • Adrienne

    This site is hilarious, especially the bit about the “Mormon” smell, as anyone who has ever stepped inside a Mormon chapel can recognize it right away. As for people who are easily offended, last time I checked, they had the choice NOT to read this blog. For me, this blog is one way I get my daily dose of the world’s best medicine, loud laughter.

  • Well I think you are perfectly lovely.

  • I vote for wyliekat. Very creative. Who knew I was going to find a new blog today?

  • I had the same conversation with a relay operator. A woman claimed I had called her and wanted to know why, when in fact, no one in the house had picked up the phone in the last 24 hours. She was persistent and when my patience shriveled up, I told her she needed to stop calling me and wasting my time. That was when the relay operator informed me, “She thinks you’re rude and a bitch,” and slammed the phone down.

    The woman called me once a month until I moved.

  • I regularly work with an adoring telephone public, and OMG was that relay operator #1236? Because I swear she has a psychic bond with her clients. Either that or she’s a fantastic actress.

  • Can you email me the letters? I’ll video tape me reading them! I’m really good, I need someplace to vent. I promise I’ll do a great job. I’m wildly emotional and irrational sometimes, I’m a perfect fit for this job.

    Really I am!!!!!! Just look at those exclamation points.

  • Rachel

    “do you know how hard it is to get anywhere on time when you live with a man who must pat down every pocket in his wardrobe to locate his wallet and keys?”


  • Laura

    As a receptionist manager….I love this post! I forwarded it on to my team because this is what we deal with DAILY!! HAHAH! SO thanks for the shout out to us Receptionists who know how to work those A Holes!

  • The question is: after you’ve finished fixing the Internet, can you fix my husband?

    There’s something wrong with his listening skills.

  • Hahaha!

    Please don’t “get a life”. Stay here! 24/7.

  • I can’t believe people actually say things like that about you! You are so awesome and I love the path you’ve cleared for blogs and personal life online and the silly standards that you laughed at and blown past. I have a ton of respect for you. Plus, this probably sounds lame but Oprah knows who you are. thats pretty bad ass.

  • (jeez. some people have too much time on their hands)
    send me an application. i’m always on the lookout for fun part-time jobs. i can do accents too.

  • It’s possible that I just peed myself laughing so hard.

    Seriously. You are brilliant. I love it!

  • Debbie

    Stupid people who say stupid mean things. I like your site and you’re totally not boring. Just because you’re not susy homemaker with the domesticity and the doting and the “I had no worth until my daughter was born” doesn’t mean you’re not a good mom. That’s not for any of us readers to judge.

    Thanks for doing what you do. I look forward to coming to every day, and sometimes I wonder what will happen to this site when you decide to retire. Or will you keep blogging until you’re wrinkly and 90? That would be so hilarious.

    Anyways, thanks!

Heather B. Armstrong

Hi. I’m Heather B. Armstrong, and this used to be called mommy blogging. But then they started calling it Influencer Marketing: hashtag ad, hashtag sponsored, hashtag you know you want me to slap your product on my kid and exploit her for millions and millions of dollars. That’s how this shit works. Now? Well… sit back, buckle up, and enjoy the ride.

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