On How We Don’t Have to Put Up With Bad Behavior

She came every month with a copy of the mailed newsletter in her hand, marked up with red ink. The office admin answered the door graciously every month, as she had been doing since before I arrived. She took the bloodied copy, said thank you, and put it on her desk, slumping down in her chair.

“Who was that?” I asked. I’d caught a glimpse of the woman out the window, and had never seen them before.

“Oh,” the admin said, “she comes every month to show me all the mistakes in the newsletter. She doesn’t go here anymore, but she used to I guess. She stopped coming because she said it’s too hard for her to get here…”

“But she can get here to critique the newsletter monthly? That makes no sense,” I said, shaking my head.

I looked at the copy. The editorial corrections she was suggesting (demanding?) were from an outdated form of writing, anyway. Her edits weren’t actual edits, just grammatical preferences.

“Why do we allow this?” I asked, honestly. “This is just bad behavior.”

A month went by, and one day I saw the car drive up. The woman stepped out, ink dripped copy in her hand. The admin sighed and got ready to head down to answer the door. “Let’s go together,” I said.

I opened the door before she rang, and she looked at me, surprised. “You must be the new guy,” she said, smirking at me.

“I don’t believe we’ve met,” I said extending my hand. “No, you won’t see me on Sundays. But I know the newsletter has a lot of issues and people care about that sort of thing, so I still edit it for you so, you know, you can see your mistakes.”

She held out the document.

“No thank you,” I said. “We don’t need you to edit it anymore.”

“You know,” she went on, “I used to be an editor for this church’s newsletter…”

“When was that?” I asked.

“I left in 1982,” she said.

“That’s a while ago. Why did you stop?” I asked, genuinely interested.

“I got mad,” she said with a smile, “you know how these things go…”

“I do,” I said, “which is why I’m not interested in letting it go on. You’re welcome here any time. But we won’t be accepting any more of your newsletter edits. Please do not show up here with this kind of thing ever again.”

Her eyes narrowed.

“I bet you have a family, don’t you?” she said with a smirk. “When you go home tonight, you tell your wife that today you met a WOW.”

“A WOW?” I repeated.

“Yes. A Wicked Old Woman,” she said, turning and walking back to her idling sedan.

She drove off. We never saw her again.

And we were better for it.

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