Meredith C. Carroll: Meredith Pro Tem
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO, Colorado
Nobody’s perfect. At least that’s what everyone except me says in order to feel better about their own faults. I never tell myself that no one is perfect. Because I am. Perfect, that is.
I mean, sure, I didn’t get the Pulitzer Prize for Commentary – again – last year. (The New York Times’ David Leonhardt won “for his graceful penetration of America’s complicated economic questions, from the federal budget deficit to health care reform.” Blah, blah, blah.) But I wasn’t overlooked because my writing isn’t good enough. The board was just literally blinded by the startling glare of my perfection when it was put before them in black and white.
Regular readers of this column have long let me know that my extraordinary prose is the cure to what ails them. My pieces are thought-provoking, sophisticated, moving and generally groundbreaking. I type a few words, and I change lives. I write an entire column, and there is a perceptible shift in the wind. NASA has put a team in place to research and prepare for the effect I’ll have on the solar system when my book is published.
Which, of course, comes as a surprise to no one. Take, for instance, the column I wrote earlier this year, “The pleasure of nitpicking.” A fan named Jonathan emailed me to wax poetic about how I’ve inspired thoughts of love in his own life: “Your editorial on your eight years with your husband makes me glad I’m single. Why men put up with women like you, I will never know. Maybe the drive to reproduce is just that great.”
I never thought I could feel more gratified than when receiving comments like that. Then I started writing for Babble, which is Disney’s online parenting magazine. And in 16 months, the outpouring of adoration has been monumental.
One piece, “My Take on Breastfeeding: Just Do It, But Discreetly,” inspired Lola to comment, “This is amazingly ignorant and incredibly shameful.”
Another reader also marveled at my tremendous ability to help others through my work: “You suck Meredith!”
As is so often the case with those who adore my writing, a woman named Becka couldn’t help but speak in superlatives, particularly on a piece I wrote, “The False Heroes of Childbirth: Women Who Don’t Get Epidurals?”
“I think this is about the dumbest article I’ve ever read,” she effused.
Robin also couldn’t find an equal in terms of my talent: “This is the most ridiculous article I’ve read recently. Hypocritical, judgmental, selfish, and quite frankly, completely uneducated and proud of it.”
It’s not uncommon for me to come across admirers who assume my outer beauty must necessarily match the glory of my inner spirit. Like a reader called dnate, who commented with embarrassing sweetness on a piece I wrote titled “Ivanka Trump Poses as a Pregnant Bunny: Who Does That?”: “If you do an image search of Meredith Carroll you will get why this article was written with such hollow condescension.”
One devoted follower actually keeps score of how many times I knock one out of the park, most recently via a piece I penned called “World Record Set for Most Women Breastfeeding in Public. Um, Who Cares?”
Kaycee gushed, “Meredith Carroll strikes again. You are the worst and most offensive writer.”
It’s a touching sentiment I’ve grown accustomed to hearing. When I wrote, “The 2 Reasons I Would Never Switch to Cloth Diapers,” Jessica commented enthusiastically, “Your piece reeks of bitterness.”
On the same piece, Angelica said admiringly, “Gosh, what a ghastly woman Meredith Carroll makes herself appear to be – vain, lazy and vapid. Are you paid to be this bratty?”
BMommy couldn’t help but agree: “What a negative, nasty and uninformed piece. Maybe it was supposed to be funny, but you missed the mark.”
Chelsea also chimed in lovingly, “You sound like one lazy woman.”
The gracious and supportive comments were seemingly endless:
“You are incredibly ignorant and uneducated.”
“You’re completely selfish and ignorant.”
“Wow … get off your high horse. Rude, smug, ignorant, blah blah blah.”
“What an obnoxious, prissy, immature sounding piece.”
It’s not just the ladies who love me. I get it from the men, too, even though I write over and over about my husband. Still, some men just can’t help expressing their frustration that I am, indeed, taken.
When I wrote “The 7 Habits of Highly Annoying New Dads,” Nic was hopeful he could attract my attention: “You sound bitter and condescending.”
As was Clark: “Wow, could you complain any more?!”
And Vanse wrote as if he had a bad case of puppy love: “I think you stupid !!!”
Because I write for a parenting website, I inevitably hear from readers about my enviable parenting style. On “10 Things I Want (or, Rather, Don’t Want) for Christmas,” Bella Rosa commented supportively, “YOU’RE A LOUSY PARENT.”
It was a charming sentiment echoed by Catronia: “I feel sad for your family and friends.”
I always have a few fans who worry themselves sick over my well-being. After all, it’s to be expected that painstaking craftsmanship like mine must eventually take its toll.
On “The 7 Lamest Parenting Inventions of All Time,” thehumngbrd commented with concern, “Dang! Are you just an angry, unimaginative person, or do you just need a few good hours of sleep?”
Kimberly also sounded the alarm about my overall health: “Clearly the person who wrote this is an idiot.”
But I’m OK. In fact, I’m perfect. I simply write, and I change lives. I expect mine will be changed, too, when the Pulitzers are announced next month. This is my year. I can feel it. As can my legion of fans, clearly.
More at http://www.meredithcarroll.com.
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