# break out of frames <IfModule mod_headers.c> Header always append X-Frame-Options SAMEORIGIN </IfModule>
Working for over a decade at the elementary school furthest west, on the district cut off between city and upscale suburb, I became accustomed to being told: “Think before you speak.” The leading admonishment was usually: “Sometimes you come across as ‘harsh’.”
On that side of town, this was code for Being Italian-American.
Typically stating my case without fear, and preferring to do so in person I think it was 1997 before, finally caving, I joined the generic introverts’ preferred mode: the Internet. But, even then, uncertain about losing locus of control I chose a medium that, while touted as cutting edge by the guys at Kinkos, would prove – like myself – the least attractive to the hip and swanky – Web TV.
During that short lived phase of technological indoctrination, every thought which heretofore had escaped my lips transferred into this strange new “room”, all but silent except for the inane background underscoring of electronic Erik Satie.
I was soon addicted to the red dot which signaled New Mail, appearing on the small black box perched atop its Sony 27 inch. And, late into the evening, anyone driving past the long forgotten, wide open levelors could see me, keyboard on lap, staring across the livingroom at my very own words traveling in light blue font across the blackened screen of the television.
Words. Within a year, I would become their first victim.
So easy it was to send out a behind scene query to a colleague. Even easier to tell the whole story, when prompted, in reply. By the end of what would burgeon into a life altering episode, I’d become the subject of private meetings, pointed discussion, calculated betrayal and, ultimately, the villain in a scenario which would threaten to bring down both my professional life and the public image of my entire family.
Attorneys. Board Presidents. Urgent phone calls, on Hallowe’en night, bearing sobering warnings. Hysteria. Emotional terror.
All because of emails. Emails, sent; emails, received. Then, emails printed, and distributed. Words. Just words, now on paper, never to be retracted.
No option for apologies, either. Unlike outbursts of anger, which can often be dismissed with a hug and a couple tears, these printed testaments had taken on a life of their own. They would bear witness to me, and those with whom I had chosen to associate, to those whom I had never even met.
None of us will ever know what Hillary Clinton said in print, or to whom, unless the FBI releases that email record into the public domain. The thought of this happening makes me shudder with familiar recall. I may be the loudmouthed Italian girl with no filter, offensive to some and the object of ridicule by others, but words in print have become the most formidable weapon of our age. Perhaps we had all better realize just how powerfully they speak for themselves.
© Ruth Ann Scanzillo 10/29/16 All rights those of the author, whose story it is, and whose name appears above this line. Thank you for leaving them here.