A couple months back I wrote a post about the spam I receive on this site. The other day I was curating users’ comments when I came across the following feedback from one Arianna Herbold, presented below verbatim:

When Someone said your site, I hope that it doesnt disappoint me just as much as this place. After all, I know it was my choice to read, however actually thought youd have something interesting to express. All I hear is a variety of whining about something you could fix should you werent too busy looking for attention.

My first reaction to this was to laugh. But like Smokey Robinson this clownish guffawing quickly turned to tears, and soon I was not only defending myself but mentally attacking Arianna for her poor English and bad dental hygiene (I presumed the latter, but felt confident in doing so).

After some grumbling (I won’t acknowledge how long I stewed) I returned to laughter at the cycle of defensively aggressive criticism I’d just performed. And so, after a time spent ruminating (once again I won’t say how much time), I have a few thoughts in response to Ms. Herbold.

First, I believe I’ve always made it clear that it’s very unlikely I’ll have anything of interest to express on this site. Whoever referred you to this space with promises of pertinent perspicacity was delusional, and I’m sorry that they mislead you.

For future’s sake, if you’re looking for any of the following—practical wisdom, daily insight, humorous entertainment or simply a passable way to whittle away the hours when stuck at your workplace—please know I’m probably not your man.

That addresses the first portion of your feedback. The second aspect—All I hear is a variety of whining about something you could fix should you werent too busy looking for attention“—was definitely a low blow.

I’m inclined to ask, Which of my ex-‘s put you up to this?, but I think it was simply a lucky shot on your part, one of those freakishly fresh things a stranger says that strikes you between the eyes with all the force of a carnival hammer swung so ferociously that it rings the bell all the way at the top of your psyche.

It seems the best way to address this oddly spot-on spam-icism is with unabashed openness, so here goes: Sure, I’m a narcissist, which is a slippery-footed term whose practical manifestations often mean that I’m prone to whining while also definitely looking for attention. For evidence I point to the fifth word of this post (and the 12th, and the 20th, and the 26th…), the all-too-prevalent pronoun I, who is the most significant person behind the biggest challenge facing all narcissists: finding another subject more interesting than oneself to talk about.

As a general rule I try and keep my whinings out of this space, but perhaps I’m so saturated with what I perceive to be the world’s shortcomings that they simply leak through like spilled ink. It’s likely I’m over-reading into this spam, but that’s part of the fun of it. Further, the very possibility that I might be doing so certainly indicates that you’ve nipped a prickly nerve Ms. Herbold.

The gangly truth is that I find it difficult to honestly apologize for my self-absorption. For god’s sake this site is: my name, dot com. Besides, I’d be putting a serious cut in my therapist’s income were I to try and mend my selfish ways. I mean, she needs me to love me so excessively that I then pay her to help me love me less.

And with that hopefully I’ve shown that my narcissism isn’t as self-serving as the name implies. Instead please see that I undertake it all in the service of others…