More Later

It just irritates me. I know it’s a small thing, hell, a tiny thing, really. But I can’t help it. In the last four-five years I’ve had several friends answer my letters with one sentence and a “More later.” But there was no “more later.” Ever. Their end went dead for months, sometimes years, right after their “more later.”

The first time it happened, I only noticed it after about a year, then just figured he got busy and forgot. When It happened again, with a different person, I did notice it after about 4 months. That was 5 years ago, still haven’t heard back from him.

After that, I kind of became “more later” conscious. When it finally happened again, I was pissed, feeling fairly sure that it was just a lame excuse to not sit down and take five minutes to write me back. He had time enough to read it, didn’t he? But still, like Charlie Brown and Lucy with the damned football, I held out hope that he would finally send the “more” he baited me with.

Wait… baited?? Well, yeah. A little 2-word bait to tell you they read your fairly long letter, and will answer it later. Later? I’ll say. See, I’ve got it figured out in my mind that they subconsciously feel like they’ve answered your letter, regardless of its contents, by ‘promising’ you a decent response at some point. Then they can forget about it with a clear conscience.

Where Did You Guys Go?

I wouldn’t be writing about it right now if one of these guys had finally written back… at least once. But not a single one did. It’s like as soon as they sent me their “more later” signature, they stepped into a spacecraft for Mars and were never heard of again. At least not by me.

Then one afternoon I was sitting at the bar, enjoying a cold one, and for some reason I was wondering why none of those guys ever got back to me. The guy next to me was quietly sipping his Jack on the rocks, and I decided to ask him. “Hey man, you ever write texts and emails to some of your friends?”

He looked at me kind of funny. “Yeah. Of course. All the time.”

“Do they ever respond by saying “more later?”


“And do they actually write more later?”

“Yeah, most of ‘em do. Why? What’s this about?”

Sigh. “Well, none of my friends have ever, ever written me back when they write “more later.”

The guy thought about it a moment, then actually chuckled. Chuckled! “Ah, ever consider that maybe they don’t like you, and just decided not to answer? Heh heh. Or maybe they didn’t think your email was worth answering…”

I was instantly sorry I’d brought it up. I finished my beer in silence and got the hell out of there. What did a stranger in a bar know, anyway? Maybe he was lying about his friends, What if he was just messing with me? Worse, what if he was right?

Now, I’m a guy who will ordinarily cut my friends a lot of slack. I have to, most of my friends have cut me a ton of slack from time to time. Over the years I learned that’s what good friends do… they cut their friends some slack now and then. Life isn’t easy, it isn’t simple, and we all occasionally get overwhelmed. All well and good, but I knew these “more later” guys were all retired, and had all their overwhelming days behind them. Were they still too busy to write a little bit? The more I thought about it, the more I started wondering why none of them ever responded. Were my letters too long, and they didn’t know where to start? Maybe, I have been called “a wordy little bastard.” Yeah, maybe that was it. It almost had to be it, I’d known all these guys a long time, a lot of good water under those bridges. I just wasn’t ready to believe that I was the only one of them who had enough time on his hands to sit down and write what was on his mind. Oh god, and then a funny thought hit me; what if I wrote a note to myself and ended it with “more later?” Would I stop writing, get writer’s block, suddenly not be able to ever write again? Actually, it wasn’t that funny. It had obviously worked for them.

Before I could finally let this conundrum go, I had to ask myself some hard, personal questions, the kind of questions one has to face, and answer when his friends start bailing on him. Questions like, have I become a boring person? Have I somehow lost my likability? Have I written some stupid stuff in those emails? Have they decided they don’t want me in their lives anymore, that if they simply ignore me I’ll go away?

Hard questions, and I didn’t like the potential answers. Of course I could always decide they’re all just a bunch of assholes and I don’t need them in my life, either. But, as they like to say in the South, that dog won’t hunt. So there I was, flummoxed and paranoid.

Yet, finally I came upon a plan. Two plans, actually. And it’s funny, as soon as it hit me as to what to do about all this, I instantly felt a LOT better! My god, it was so simple! And what had I finally decided to do to end this seemingly endless angst? Why, nothing! That’s right, nothing! Having finally realized that my life was absolutely fabulous without hearing from them, or needing to hear from them, I was suddenly free of the nagging feeling I’d done something wrong, and man, was that an aha moment!

Plan One was an instant hit, and Plan Two was equal to the task. I decided (against my more evil self) to take the high road on this whole deal and not ever write “more later” back at them, That is, if they ever wrote to me again. So yeah, there was a small hole in Plan Two, but I decided to add a corollary to it, a corollary that would bury the whole mess for once and for all.

Steve Hulse

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