You said you'd let me know by Monday, but I'm not hearing from you.
Are you afraid of hurting my feelings?
Are you averse to conflict?
Are you ghosting me?
In my life, I have:
• Been called "wax ears" in front of the whole seventh-grade science class, by Michelle Kennedy.
• Been caught forging my mother's signature on my failing report card, by my math teacher.
• Been sent to a Sioux City, Iowa drug treatment center for most of my junior year of high school.
• Visited my mother in a mental ward.
• Been dumped by my girlfriend and wandered around the campus of Kent State University for several hours, at night, in a rainstorm.
• Been told by a doctor that my mother didn't make it, on Thanksgiving night.
• Had to break that news to my father.
• Been dumped by that same girlfriend at least one other time, before she finally married me.
And that was all before I graduated from college and suffered the series of personal, professional and actual root canals that is EVERY ADULT LIFE.
I'm almost 50 now. I've worked hard, and dreamed big. I have been denied many hundreds of better opportunities than the one you were dangling. (For instance, I once had a story rejected by Modern Drunkard magazine. It felt the same as being turned down by The New Yorker.)
On the upside, I have written two books, been published in The New York Times and I own my own magazine. I have a wonderful wife and a nifty child and more friends and loving family than I can keep up with. And a house in Chicago with a garage that has a special little cubby for my Triumph Bonneville motorcycle.
I'm neither a praying man nor a New Ager, but every Sunday morning when I go out to get the paper I look around in mindful fucking gratitude.
And another thing: Do you know how many other proposals of various kinds I have out in the world at this time? I don't know either. That's how many.
And finally, I like being turned down for shit. It makes me feel tough.
And most importantly, it lets me get on with my work.
So please. Just let me know.
In fact, your bad news might be the best news I get all day.