Buttal: You’re ignoring me because you can’t face yourself.
When one individual repeatedly ignores another, it can be rooted in any variety of things: anger, jealousy, or even a sense of superiority. However, our last interaction (lunch at Panera) was quite delightful; we discussed our careers (my new position, your continued unemployment) and I also picked up the meal out of the goodness of my own heart. Yet, here were are, a mere four days later and you’ve “missed” three calls of mine in a row. As I sit here, the rings going on interminably, I am forced to reflect on the psychology of someone who would do this to such a giving friend not one, not two, not three, but now what appears to be four times. Jeremy, I know I am a great asset and companion to you, so I can say, upon some reflection, that you are ignoring me out of envy and denial. It all becomes clear as I stare with vague longing at my iPhone screen’s displaying “calling Jeremy…” and a picture I secretly took of you during aforementioned lunch at Panera. I remember when I told you my salary was now six figures and you said “that’s good. Great for you.” The subtext was loud and clear “that’s bad. Bad for me.” Jeremy, your behavior is blatantly connected to your petty jealousy and I urge you now to reconsider your plainly intentional shunning of me vis-a-vis not answering your phone. This isn’t about the call, this about manning up to the fact that you are who you are, and I am who I am, which just so happens to be, right now, more successful than you have ever been. This is about you, not me. Jeremy, answer my calls/face yourself like a man. Use your thumb to slide the answer interface to the right, and use your will to embody the characteristics of a self-empowered male. Jeremy, man up and answer your telephone.
Rebuttal: My house is on fire.
Craig, it is true that I have repeatedly missed your calls. Believe it or not, this is not because I have chosen to intentionally “shun” you, it’s because my joblessness has led me to a constant pursuit of new employment, particularly prior to lunch time when you have repeatedly called. However, the reason your iPhone screen will continue to display “Calling Jeremy” until you reach my voice mail isn’t even for the same as the prior three, totally chance-related missed calls that I merely haven’t gotten to, it’s because my house is on fire. Let me reiterate: my abode is currently engulfed in flames. To be utterly clear, my Amazon.com e-reader’s name is now a literal description. The potential for death increases with each second as carbon monoxide slowly fills my lungs. I am scrambling to simultaneously consider difficult questions like “which things are most important to me?” and “how much time do I have before this fire will kill me?”
Your extremely arrogant tone, self-centeredness, and pathetic sense of desperation are nowhere near my mind as I realize I cannot find my housecat of ten years, Penguin. Craig, I look forward to at some point telling you that I think you’re a real sociopath and egomaniac in an extremely veiled manner (behind your back I describe you as ‘someone who’s good to know in the industry’), but right now, the number one through ten things on my mind involve the fact that my place of residence, the location of all my stuff, and a geographical area that is on average over 22 degrees fahrenheit per square square foot hotter than anywhere-in-the city-that-isn’t-baking-something is ever closer to being described accurately as “thoroughly aflame.” I would offer you a qualified apology, just enough to assuage your feelings while imparting a slight undetectable note of condescension at what is ironically a transparent projection of your own social inadequacy and denial, but I just found Penguin and have slipped into a coughing fit that may culminate in my coming to in a different realm. If I get out of this alive, you can look forward to an invisibly snide, medium-inferior response of an inquiring text, but right now, I am trying to keep myself from fading from consciousness as a panicked Penguin claws into my flesh and my bean-bag chair emits a green flame, a whiff of which has sent me into delirium and coughs that feel as if my lungs are exploding with each violent thrust of my chest. I look forward to collapsing on my front lawn at a safe distance from this tragedy, and communicating with you in a situation that isn’t quite literally life-death-or-immediately-satisfy-Craig’s neediness.