How To Get Hate Mail
By Pat Maloney


he phone sits on my table ringing constantly. I got eighteen calls in one hour. My plan was simple: I post my cell number all over the internet and say it’s actually the temporary digits of a celebrity who is hanging out in Toronto. Then I wait for the calls to pour in.

I had to find a celebrity who was hated just as much as they were loved, and the answer seemed obvious to me: Ryan Sheckler. Who is Ryan Sheckler? He’s a nineteen year old skateboarding prodigy with his own show on MTV. Teenaged girls love him because of his good looks and skateboard ability, skateboarders hate him because he’s a sell out and depicts skateboarding in a jock manner. It’s a vicious circle.

I started off by posting my number on skateboarding forums, saying shit like “Ryan Sheckler is in Toronto! I got his number from a girl he tried to pick up! Call it!” but that post was quickly removed by diligent message board moderators. Youtube was my plan B. If forums weren’t going to do the trick, I might as well post it on each and every video he’s in with over a million views. The trap was set.

Almost two minutes pass without a single phone call, but then they all came at once. My first call sounds like a young girl, “Is this Ryan?” she asks, “Hey, what’s up girl” I reply back while trying not to laugh. Long pause. Hang up. People are taking the bait. She calls me back and doesn’t say a word for about a minute. Either she’s too nervous or she just wants to hear Ryan Sheckler breathe. The next several calls I get are the haters. “You’re ruining skateboarding, fag!”, “I love when you cry on your show, you puss”, “If I ever see you you’re dead”.

Now I’m at the forty minute mark and my phone won’t stop ringing. I have to take my comments down from the videos because I’m starting to fear a prank call bombardment will force me to get a new number. Even after the comments are removed I still get death threats, awkward conversations, and girls hanging up after I say hello. Three hours pass and I have my last phone call of the day from what sounded like an adult male “You should change your back tattoo from your last name to say Buttshecks”, long pause to hold in my laughter, “I will cutie” I turn off my phone until the next day when the flood of calls slowed down.

Originally published in Spring 2009, Issue 3.2.