Here's the lesson, you fucking slime-ball, and if I could I would brand it on your forehead with the searing intensity of all the contempt in the history and future of the world: gratitude is not your due. What you are owed is more like an ass-kicking.

You loaned some money to a member of my family in a time of need. Urgent need. Urgent need that, in short order, became grave and apocalyptic desperation. That money could have been used more responsibly, by our mutual acquaintance and, no doubt, by you. The money was lent — was asked for, first of all — after several of us declined to loan similar amounts to this person, because none of the rest of us have that kind of money, ever. Importantly, and in the interests of transparency, it is unlikely any of us would have made such a loan. Lending, after all, is fraught and uncomfortable, and if I had the kind of money we're talking about, I'd be much happier to just give it away. That's a position of extreme convenience, now, but I swear to God it's the fucking truth.

When you loaned the money, you actually made this person — who you just now got finished describing as a "dear, dear friend" — sign a contract guaranteeing repayment, either in cash or (I can't even believe I'm typing this) in valuable family heirlooms. When our mutual acquaintance was very soon thereafter diagnosed with aggressive stage four cancer, when the news had barely had time to echo around and gain meaning in the minds of those who actually, genuinely love this person, unlike you, you pond-scum lowlife, you called the fucking loan. What the fuck is wrong with you.

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And, because you were much, much more concerned with recouping your cash — which you have in abundance — you sent an email to my wife, who was dealing with the emotional devastation of the diagnosis and the logistical nightmare of arranging immediate care for this member of her family, asking that she guarantee the loan, which you made without her knowledge to someone who, notably, is not her.

So, this is where everyone else, all of us over here on the human side of the world, would forgive my wife for, you know, completely ignoring your trifling ass while she dealt with people and things that are important in ways this fractional part of your wealth simply are not and never will be.

You, on the other hand, what you did, just now, is introduce yourself to me at my place of business, and engage me in a conversation in which words like "respect" and "gratitude" were used to describe what you think you have been denied instead of what the rest of us are owed for not burning your fucking house down. You attempted to insist that my wife and I offer you an arrangement by which we repay you the money you loaned to someone who, again, is actually and in all other ways neither of us.

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So, now, again, the lesson: do not expect gratitude in this lifetime. Let that be written in magical permanent indian ink across your buttcheeks. And, here, let it be tattooed on my forehead, so that it can be the thing I am remembered for by everyone I ever meet for the rest of my life. Do not expect gratitude. Do nothing to earn it, never expect it. Do not give gifts for the joy of watching them be opened. Do not give hugs for the comfort of a hug. Do not give compliments for the internal thrill of spreading joy. Do not loan money expecting repayment. Do not loan money expecting thanks. Do not loan money. Give. Give what you have to give, reject gratitude, and punch yourself for not giving more. The notion that gratitude is something earned or accrued is the worst thing in your fucked-up diseased shithole of a brain, and you should yank it out with a three-prong oyster fork.

You and I, we have no history, and we will have no future, because I am sure what I said to you this afternoon will make any sort of positive or even benign relationship completely impossible, and that's fine, great, even, and if that is not the effect I certainly regret not saying more. There was more to say. Things like "you're a horrible person" and "I should slap you for calling yourself this person's friend" and "fuck you". No matter, from the look on your face I'm fairly certain you detected these and other thoughts in my tone, which was as measured as I could muster.

I hate no one, but if I walked outside right now and you were being attacked by wolverines, I would need a moment or two to decide whether to save you.

Sincerely.