Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Public Privacy

Here is hopefully the first in a series I would like to call "Public Privacy: Found Literature in Public Places." The following gem was taken from a large pile of rejected documents next to LibCat 1, one of the public printers at TCNJ. Stuffed between New Jersey Core Content Curriculum Standards and an article on black pride was:

I know it's been too long since we talked, but I just had a few things to say. Mainly, I want to apologize for the way things ended up. I know in hindsight it was largely my fault. When I realized things weren't working, I should have talked about it but I went back to my old ways of bottling it up and avoiding the issue. When we did finally talk, I approached it immaturely and irrationally. It's been weighing on me since, and I think about you every day.

You were the best and worst thing that's ever happened to me. You were the only person who had not only accepted me for who I am but also brought out the better in me. It was truly the happiest time of my life, and I want to thank you for giving it to me. I still don't think I've ever recovered from losing you and I don't know if I ever will -- letting you go was the worst decision of my life. I want nothing more than to talk to you again, even if it's just to talk things out. I understand if you don't feel the same. Either way, I want you to know that every time I told you I loved you I meant it with all my heart and I will care for you and wish you the best until my last breath.

With love,
Bob (name has been protected)

I have few qualms about posting this, as it was harshly discarded in the library. Let's hear your thoughts on Bob's admission/apology and the practice of taking private documents after they have become public.


  1. Jeez, what a crybaby.

    I don't know how I feel about publishing someone else's discarded letter. The moralist in me says "no," but the voyeur in me says "yes."

  2. The moralist in me says "no," but the voyeur in me says "yes."

    Haha, that's how I feel about many things.

    You say that it was a "rejected document", but how do you know it wasn't merely forgotten, or lost? Things get mixed up in printers all the time.

    This type of stuff, though, isn't unusual and is pretty popular: besides the PostSecret series of books and website, there's Other People's Love Letters and Found Magazine (of which this letter is a perfect candidate)...even sites like Texts from Last Night and Overheard in New York are related in that they are private sentiments publicized anonymously.

  3. Ya know, I feel for Bob, especially if he wasn't the one to print it out in the first place. I don't think I've ever been in the situation where my private e-mail or letter to someone was shown to persons the letter wasn't meant for, but it leaves a small sense of "never, ever write anything down an keep everything incredibly close to the chest".

    I feel for Bob, too, if he printed it out and it got lost in the printing, like MM mentioned was possible. I often walk away with other people's billing notices at work, and only 3 other people print to my printer. I can see how Bob's emo-esque letter could have ended up in someone's research, only to be discarded.

    But then I also wonder what person prints out personal stuff in a computer lab...

  4. To your latter point, Pet, exactly!

    When I printed personal docs at work (grad school stuff, health insurance forms, etc), I raced to the printer to ensure that I was the only one picking up those documents. This leads me to think that the girl printed this out, then forgot about it or couldn't find it. If she intentionally ignored it, then that was a double diss to Bob.

  5. Post! I have no ethical, moral, emotional, physical, or mental qualms about this. Keep 'em comin!