Let’s consider the mean-spirited note on the napkin allegedly left with a waitress. If there is one phrase that accurately describes the note it would have to be “over the top.”
The first thing I noticed is the impressive penmanship. Notice, for example, the consistency in form when writing the d’s, t’s, and g’s. It looks like this person is quite practiced at writing and is concerned about detail. What’s more, as mezimm observed:
Have you ever written on a napkin? It’s not easy. The thin paper material keeps tearing under your pen as you write. Now, have you ever written THAT SMALL on a napkin? Have you ever written THAT MUCH TEXT on a napkin, with the spacing and formatting so perfectly done that you were able to – barely! – fit it all on there?
Indeed. There doesn’t seem to be single tear on the napkin. The note was written carefully. And deliberately, since it must have taken a good bit of time to write.
Yet this attention to detail, along with the evidence of being skilled at writing with a pen, is inconsistent with the apparent unconcern with the rules of grammar, punctuation, and spelling. It’s difficult to believe someone with such impressive penmanship doesn’t know how to spell excellent and essentially. Furthermore, laughable spelling mistakes like this are a common Poe tactic.
TFBW also hits on an important point:
it looks like something a troll would write. Notice the apostrophes. Every single case where an apostrophe should be present, it is missing, and every single case where it is present, it is wrong. It is incorrect with extraordinary precision — so precise that it’s unlikely to be genuine error.
Indeed. Pay special attention to the use of “your” and “you’re.”
There are several places where the writer uses “your” when they should have used “you’re.” Okay, that’s a common mistake. But then there are two places where the writer uses “you’re” instead of “your,” even thought they got it right six other times. Now, using “you’re” when you should use “your” is a much less common mistake, something a hoaxer might have trouble carrying out. Look closely at those two examples where they pulled off the mistake.
The first one occurs in the second sentence.
…your a good waitress. Heres your tip. A womans place is in the home. You’re place is in the home.
Compare it to the second place it occurs – the beginning of the second to last line.
cleaning your house and cooking a hot meal for your husband and children, the way you’re husband and God intended.
They get “your husband” right the first time, but not the second time.
Now look closely and compare the first “you’re” to the second one. The first “you’re” has a space between the u and the r with the apostrophe right in the middle. The second “you’re” has no such space and thus the apostrophe is placed above the r.
It looks like the second mistaken “you’re” was made as a purposeful afterthought. With the first “you’re” the writer wrote y, o, u, apostrophe in space, then r and e. With the second “you’re,” it sure looks like they wrote y, o, u, r, paused and decided they needed one more final mistake, squeezed in the apostrophe above the r, and added the e.
It takes a little effort to purposely make the mistake of writing “you’re” when it should be “your.” The brain of the writer pulls off the first one early enough while they are focused on making mistakes on purpose, but then reverts back to normal and gets “your” instead of “you’re” right the next 6 times, but then, as the writer nears the end of the note, remembers to throw in another example of that mistake.
On top of the seemingly purposeful mistakes, the arguments themselves so perfectly represent The Stereotype that they come across as a troll trying to impersonate what’s in their imagination:
- The couple eating at a restaurant attacks waitress for not being at home cooking a meal. This is supposed to signal Hypocrisy.
- The couple claim’s the waitress’s husband is having an affair because she is working and not available. That’s just Mean.
- The couple claims the waitress is going to work to look for hand outs. That signals Stupidity (reinforced by all the spelling and punctuation mistakes).
Then, they end the hypocritical, mean, dumb note with a slogan from Trump’s campaign. That’s when they jump the shark. It’s then you say to yourself, “Okay, I get it. The note is supposed to represent the Typical Trump Voter.”
To top it all off, they do as Poes do – after writing a horribly mean and insulting note, sign it obliviously as “Love, the Watley’s”
In summary, the note looks awfully contrived to me, more like a smart person trying to play dumb by acting out their stereotypes. I can’t say that’s the case, but it sure looks that way.
Finally, let’s consider the context.
First, the whole incident entails some rather odd facts. To start, there does not appear to be any trigger for such a mean-spirited note. The waitress said the customers were nice and the note says she did a good job. Given just how well thought out the malice is (see Dhay’s analysis here ) and given the amount of time and effort it took to write that all so carefully on a napkin, the missing trigger is all the more unexplainable. Furthermore, according to the waitress, the customers came back into the restaurant after their table had been clear for the sole purpose of delivering the note, then quickly ran out the door. Why was it so important for that waitress to receive the note? Why go to that extra effort? Why not just hang on to the note and give it to another waitress the next time they eat out? Both of these oddities strongly suggest there is more to the story than we have been told.
Second, while it may be true there are many religious people who think “a woman’s place is in the home,” I’m not sure how many in this group also a) display impressive penmanship coupled with horrid spelling, punctuation and grammar, and b)are so determined to deliver this message, in detail and with great malice, to some waitress they don’t know. It would seem to me that would be a rather small group that is not any larger than the population of pranksters, hoaxers, and actvists (anti-religious, feminist, and/or anti-Trump) that are out there.
Third, and final, is just how unsubstantiated this whole story is. The waitress and her friend remain anonymous (for rather flimsy reasons). The friend of the waitress submitted a picture of the napkin to a journalist. And there is no evidence the journalist made any effort to fact-check or verify the story. Even the quotes from the waitress seem to have been sent electronically
“They were a couple, mid-50s I would guess,” the server said in a written note that her friend shared with WYFF News 4.
This is all the more important given the recent examples of waitress’s orchestrating similar notes. See Mister Jorge’s links here.
That this story is so vague and unsubstantiated means it should not be taken seriously by anyone who values critical thinking.
In conclusion, there are three possible explanations for the origin of the note.
- It was written by the waitress herself or someone she knows.
- It was written by the customers, who were hoaxers, not Christians.
- It was written by Christian customers.
There is no evidence that indicates #3 is the correct explanation. At the very least, these are three equally plausible explanations. Yet the internet atheist community is quite sure #3 is the correct explanation clearly demonstrating that “belief without evidence” is a human phenomenon not specific to the religious.