There are rather a surprising number of Paula Reeds out there. There is a couple with the last name of Reed who often sit behind me at church. Their daughter-in-law is a Paula Reed. Another Paula I grew up with also married a man whose last name is Reed. An OB-GYN I used to go to had another Paula Reed in his practice, and my bank has another patron by my name. In both of those cases, I’ve been glad that I also use my middle name in official paperwork, as it helped keep us straight. There is a Paula Reed Ward who is a journalist in Pittsburgh, and another Paula Reed who works in fashion, and yet another who is a photographer with a published book. There’s also at least one in real estate who lives in a city the same name as mine, but a different state. I get solicitation emails for her through my author website, occasionally.
Yesterday, I was mistaken for another woman with my name, but the spelling is different: Paula Reid, the journalist who held President Trump’s feet to the fire at a White House briefing a few days ago, leading to a bit of a meltdown on his part. This created perhaps the most interesting overlap I’ve had so far with another Paula Reed/Reid.
Yesterday, this found its way into the messages attached to my author page on Facebook: “Totally disgusted with your lying, conniving accusations that you disrespectfully overtalked the President of the Untied [sic] States. The public was made aware of the list with dates of the steps & measures America’s President took in the month you were shoving down everyone’s throat BEFORE he took the podium. YOU KNEW you lying piece of &#÷\;-!:. That list, that you received before the press conference has now been made public. Guess what you look like! I don’t ever want to see your face or hear your voice again. Take your sorry ass to China, wuhan district & revel in your new home! They like liars & deceivers!”
Not gonna lie. Just minutes before this, I’d gotten an email from my brother about the similarity in our names, and I had laughingly expressed appreciation for this journalist repping for us Paula Reeds, however we might spell our names.
Still, I’m not going to take credit due to someone else, so I explained her mistake to the woman who’d sent me the message. She replied, “I apologize for sending to the wrong person. But not for what I said.”
Soooo…sorry, not sorry?
Look, this woman is entitled to her opinions. I disagree, but disagreeing with me is no sin. People do it all the time. There is one thing I strongly agree with her on, though it was as unintentional as her sending me the original message. We have become the Untied States. I would argue that this is, in part, because our president is untethered. Be that as it may, what has become of us that we send messages to total strangers calling them a “piece of &#÷\;-!:”? The fact that she didn’t spell it out changes nothing. She called a complete stranger a piece of shit. I’ve never called anyone that. Ever. People who have done unforgivable things to me have never heard that from me nor read it in any missive I wrote. It’s just not the sort of thing people ought to say to one another, in my estimation. (I realize not everyone agrees with me here, either.)
Anyway, for the record, I am Paula Reed, author of historical fiction, not Paula Reed the journalist or photographer or any other Paula Reed whose path I’ve crossed. Nor am I Paula Reid. Just in case you were confused.