Sent: Fri, 29 Sep 2006 1:32 PM
Subject: An important message...from a Vassar alum you may not remember

Dear Charlie,

This message is about 5 years in the making, though I probably would never have written it were it not for recent events. But before I go any further, I first wanted to thank you for the flowers you and Brian sent to my mother’s funeral. It was extremely kind and…

Oh wait…you didn’t send flowers. My mistake. But that’s okay, because the card you sent was so heartfelt and…

Strike that. Again, my memory must be failing me! You didn’t send a card. But that’s okay, because the email you sent was….

(Hmmm…let me check my old inbox one more time.)

Oh, yes! Here it is! An email about a month after the fact! But your words were so emotionally moving…so profound…

“That’s too bad about your mom and aunt.”

Gosh, Charlie…I’m touched. Such truly heartfelt poetry, as only a talented writer such as yourself could deliver.

Well, you know what, Charlie? I’ve been thinking a lot about that email lately. Many other things, too...things about what you’ve said. Rather, what you have not said...

And then it dawned on me: a realization that hit me so hard, I blame myself for not understanding it until now. It was so obvious, so boldfaced-underlined-and-highlighted in my mind, that I consider myself an idiot for never knowing it before…

Not that our friendship is over – that I’ve known for years now. I accepted that and didn’t hold it against you. I chalked it up to a general difference in our personalities; perhaps we’re both a little too proud and a little too arrogant to really get along with one another. But in all sincerity, I tried to take whatever friendliness remained between us at face value, and in the time since, I tried to be more than a bit courteous, to Brian as well as you. When I’d extend an invitation to a movie premiere or a party, I wasn’t resentful that you didn’t accept; I was resentful that you didn’t even acknowledge the invite. That’s not just rudeness, Charlie. That’s absolute, 100% certified thoughtlessness, and it leaves a sharp, bitter aftertaste.

No -- the realization had nothing to do with my friendship with you or Brian. What dawned on me was something else:

You’re a prick.

Now understand, I think you’re an amazingly talented prick. You’re funny and have what I think is a genuine, natural gift for comedy. But you’re a prick nonetheless, and you and Brian have to be two of the coldest, most insensitive people I have ever met in my life.

For the last three years, I’ve had to put a lot of my life on hold to help with my mother’s care. Through it all, I’ve considered myself fortunate to have had a job that afforded me, financially and otherwise, the ability to fly back home every few weeks. When it was clear that my mom’s condition was terminal, the news came literally the same week that my aunt – my mother’s youngest sister, and the other person in my family I was closest to – learned she had inoperable cancer.

I didn’t tell you or Brian any of this at that time because I did not need, nor had much expectation from your friendship. Since you and I last saw each other face-to-face five years ago – God, it feels like a lifetime – I’ve built up a new family of friends in California. There are not many of them, mind you, but they’re the best I’ve ever had, and they’ve helped me through so much.

But concerning you and Brian, here is what I did not expect: for the two of you to be so cold, so sickeningly arrogant and devoid of compassion in light of everything. Had it been your mother, Charlie, I would have been there for you. I would have set aside whatever reservations or resentments I had, and done whatever was needed to support you.

But you, Charlie…. In the four months since my mother died, you have not even returned one fucking phone call. I honestly believe you've earned a point or two in hell because of it.

And Brian? Let’s just say I’ve heard more words of condolence from clean air.

There was a time when I considered you and Brian to be my close friends. Indeed, you were once my best friend. But since then, you have both acted in a way that even an imagined “worst enemy” would never stoop to: complete and total human indifference.

My aunt and mom died just three weeks apart.

Do you enjoy hurting people? If so, hearty congratulations, you’ve succeeded without even breaking a sweat! But you have also succeeded in giving me a very, very justifiable reason to hate you forever. And trust me, Charlie, you do not want that.

Now, I can imagine what you’re thinking -- that I’m overemotional, overreacting, hysterical, and in need of some serious therapy.* To that, all I can say to you is this: Let’s wait until your mother or father dies, and then you’ll be in a position to tell me how to act.

Charlie, I’m not asking for your friendship; you and Brian have given me little reason to want it. All I am asking for is to be shown a little bit of courtesy and respect. That is, of course, should we ever speak to each other again.

Adam McDaniel

*P.S.: Regarding the therapy part, know that I have indeed sought grief counseling from a psychologist. When I told her of your “too bad” email, she wholeheartedly agreed with my christening you prick. I’m not sure if that’s considered a clinical term in today’s psychiatric circles, but perhaps it is an accurate one.



Date: Thu, 23 Aug 2007 11:33 am
Subject: Congrats

Charlie, I just heard recently that you were getting married. As it'd be a bit hypocritical of me to consider you the "prick" whilst failing to acknowledge a major event in your life, I am extending my congratulations. She must be very special.

For the record, I don't hate you, and I certainly don't wish you any ill will. And while these last few years you have given me little reason to hold you in high regard, much less wish you well, I'm trying to be the better man here by making this effort.

Good luck, Charlie.


5/21/2008 UPDATE:

Dear Charlie and Brian,

It has now been two years since my mother's death, and I haven't heard so much as a single word of sympathy, much less an apology, from either of you.

Not that that surprises me anymore. They say it takes a big man to admit when he's done wrong, and your silence only confirms every negative suspicion I've ever had about your characters. You are indeed very, very little men.

It's certainly not from a lack of knowledge. I know you, Charlie, have visited this page many times since its creation; my site's traffic reports confirm you've made it into a regular past time, in fact. And yet your silence - and arrogance - have prevailed.

How very sad it is that you seem to show more concern over what those few strangers who may chance upon this page may think of you, than any regard for the friendship we once had, or the deaths of my mother and aunt. Spitting in my face would have hurt less.

I'll spare you the hate-fueled speeches, the attempts at shaming you into being apologetic or remorseful. But I will say this: In all the years I've known you both, in friendship or even not, I looked upon you with great admiration for your talents, and respect for the character I thought you possessed. Those feelings ended the day my mother died. They can not be regained, rebuilt, or revived...and for that, I can actually say that I'm happier now that we're no longer part of each others' lives.

Don't ever forget that, guys, for rarely have I said such things to anyone before. Perhaps you might take some joy in such knowledge; after all, it places you both in a very unique standing... And I know all too well how much you crave the limelight.


"We DO have something in common: We both love ME!"

-- Charlie Stickney to a one-time girlfriend, after she
expressed her concern that they had little in common.