Dealing with Criticism


My name is Tom Van Deusen.

I’m an artist and adored personality on the internet.  I created this website to fill the world in on my goings-on in my frantic life.  Through the words I present on this website, the viewer can touch, smell and taste what it’s like to be me through the power of imagination and delusional, jealous fantasy.   However, having a website isn’t just fame and Google Ad payola.  My previous website came to a screeching halt when someone wrote me the following email:

whyDear Tom:

Youre website sukcs.  Youre drawings don’t look real at all and youre writing isn’t funny.  Its gay and ur a fagot.  Cease and decist!


Tears welling up in my eyes, I called my internet hosting service to tell them to shut the whole internet down.  When they told me they didn’t have the capability to do so regardless of my insisting, I hung up the phone and stormed about my apartment.  I went over to the wall to punch it in a fit of rage, but stalled in fear mid-swing and the punch connected in an unsatisfying tap.  Still fumig, I walked over to my computer and disconnected the internet line, which I’m pretty sure at least took my website down.  If the internet wasn’t going to appreciate my genius, I wasn’t going to have anything to do with it.

The ensuing weeks I didn’t bother changing my attitude or clothes.  I did stir up the courage, however, to leave my house daily to go to the liquor store.


“Fuck you couch, you’re an artist’s couch” I said to my couch as I sat on the floor drinking scotch.

fire1“Fuck you, bed, only good writers get to sleep in you.” I said to my bed as I tried to sleep on a pile of old newspapers.

“Nuts to you, kitchen, only funny writers get to cook in you.” I shouted as I roasted an old boot over a fire I had set in the middle of my living room.  When the boot looked fully cooked, I let it cool then took a big bite out of it.

“Yuck, this tastes disgusting!” I shouted before tossing the boot across the room and crying my eyes out.

Finally, this painful period in my life ended with a phone call from my

“Tommy sitting around moping in your apartment because someone on the internet made fun of you isn’t going to solve anything.  You’re 23 years old, it’s time to act like it.”

Looking down at the soiled rags I had donned that morning, I thought she may be right.  So I said “Hey, can I have some money?”  When she said no, I then admitted “I suppose I should start acting like an adult.”


“I need your biggest gun.”  I said to the gun store owner, my arms akimbo as I looked up at the selection behind him.

“Um, for hunting or personal protection?” He asked, raising an eyebrow.

“Revenge.” I answered curtly.

“You got it.”  he said, “I just need you to fill out this form for the background check.”

He handed me a pack of Xeroxed papers littered with bald eagles and Roman numeraled lines.  Sweat began to run down my face when I saw the first question:

Social Security #: _____________

How was I supposed to know that off the top of my head?  I panicked and put: 123-45-6789


“Okay, Tom, I can’t sell you a gun today.  Your social security number didn’t clear, it’s going to take a week to get the paperwork back.”  The gun store owner said after returning from the computer.

“WHAT?” I shouted, slamming my hands down on the counter.  “I DON’T EVEN KNOW IF I’LL BE MAD BY THEN!”

“Sorry, kid, it’s out of my hands.”  he said, putting his bare hands up to demonstrate.

“I thought this was AMERICA.  What about my third amendment rights?”

“No soldier shall be quartered in private homes without the owner’s consent?”

“NO!  The awesome gun one.”  I whined, stomping my feet.  I then turned around and stormed out.  If I couldn’t murder the anonymous internet bully, I would have to contract the job out.


I cracked my knuckles and sat down at my Underwood typewriter:

Dear Mr. Vin Diesel:typewriter

My name is Tom Van Deusen. You may know me as the creator of the second-most popular Facebook group in your honor.  The time has come to call in a favor from you.  A few weeks ago, someone dishonored me and my artwork through a slanderous critique posted on my website.  I’m sure you’re familiar with the hurt and anger I am filled with after the critical reception from “Man on Fire.”  Basically, what I need you to do is use your sizable munitions collection to “take care” of this slanderer.  I don’t have his/her name or address, but their IP  is  I’m sure you will do the right thing.


Thomas Calvin Van Deusen.

Later that day I dropped the envelope in the mailbox, anxious already for a reply that the deed had been done.


Three months went by without a reply when suddenly I found a large package from Mr. Diesel himself in my mailbox.  Had he sent me a personal item from the victim?  A photo from the scene of the crime?

Inside my apartment, I ripped open the package.  Inside was wadded up pages from the October 1998 issue of Maxim magazine.  Amongst this was a letter written on wide-ruled paper with crayon.

deer terry:

sorry about your problems.  it filled my hart with sad.  but keep reeching for tomorow and youl get it!

i love you,

vin diesel.

By this point, however, I was mostly calmed down from the incident.  Vin Diesel had obvoiusly tried his hardest and was going on with his life.  I thought I’d take a similar route.  So, instead of seeking revenge, I made this website.  I am promising you, dear reader, that I will update at least weekly.  Illustrations aren’t a guarantee, but I will do the best I can.  Eventually I’m going to make a podcast so you don’t have to sit and read text all day like some Ivy-Leauge snob.

I’m back and the world won’t keep me down.

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Copyright Tom Van Deusen 2014.