Once upon a time...
A hideous Troll showed up on my Facebook page.
Like most Trolls, this one wanted to be fed attention, so after some initial bad behavior on my own part, I calmed down and decided to give him the attention he so needfully begged for. I decided to interview him.
His name is Sean Cooper.
Now, before you gasp, "You named names!" I asked this Sean Cooper character if I could print his name, and cut 'n' paste our conversation onto my Blog, and he replied, "Go for it." Adding in true Troll fashion that my blog "is so pathetic it needs something besides rants about flip flops."
Sigh. I guess poor Sean thinks that Ashvegas.com, where I did post an anti-flip-flop rant, is my blog. I don't think I've mentioned flip flops here on my actual blog, but whatever. Like most Trolls, Sean is easily confused by the most basic, simple shit. I'm also guessing that he wears flip-flops.
WARNING! BEFORE YOU READ ANY FURTHER: Sean says some outrageous shit in the interview below, and accuses a particular local restaurant of the great-thing-that-no-restaurant-wants-to-be-accused-of: Food Poisoning. Don't worry tho', like most Trolls, Sean's story is sketchy, unverifiable, and changes frequently. I tend not to believe every word that any Troll spurts out, and I tried to get Sean to be very specific about his accusations, but he is elusive... while remaining steadfastly accusatory.
Please note: I DO NOT AGREE WITH ANYTHING THIS MORON SAYS. He is a self admittedly bitter, unemployed sous chef, who has gone through 9 jobs in the 3 years he's lived in Asheville. He relishes the attention I give him and can not stop himself from blathering on and on about how much he hates the people, the food scene, and the city that all of you guys know I love. He is a completely obnoxious twat about everything.
YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED.
Anyhoodles... I'll start with the line from the post that sparked the whole exchange. I did not spell-check or edit any of the posts or exchanges between Sean and myself that follow. Just imagine the word "sic" in your mind the entire time you're reading this...
STU HELM (On my blog, writing about my lunch with the editor of Food Life Magazine) - "Later, we had lunch at White Duck Taco, downtown. Nice lady, great conversation, good tacos!"
SEAN COOPER (On my FaceBook page, apparently responding to my blog post) - "The Rubbery bland duck taco shop sucks dude."
STU HELM (on my FaceBook Page, replying to Sean's comment) - "White Duck? The tacos are perfectly fine at White Duck. I'm not gonna say they rule or anything, but they haven't been rubbery any time I've ever had them and I certainly wouldn't say they suck. Your assessment seems overly harsh. Are you embittered by some childhood trauma brought on by a white duck?"
SEAN COOPER (on my FaceBook Page) - "No just prefer my food seasoned and cooked properly that's all. Just keeping pumping places you know suck cuz the food is free. I haven't seen a negative post from you in months besides the page where you complained about flip flops for 3 paragraphs"
"You putting down the horrible hippie/French slop this town loves to put on plates and cutting boards was made you popular and now your just a sell out"
Okay, this made me mad, I admit that. I hate Trolls. I just fucking hate them, And here's this douche, posting his trollish bullshit right on my own Facbook page. I banned him, and in my anger, I fired off this nasty note...
STU HELM (In a private FB message to Sean Cooper) - "You've been banned from my Facebook page, Sean. That's how that works. Dicks like you can insult me on Ashvegas all they want, so go do that there, but my on Facebook page, yeah, no, assholes like you get banned. You seem like a complete turd of a person, BTW"
This, of course, elicited a response from Sean...
SEAN COOPER (In a private FB message to Stu Helm)- "you smell like shit stu, you walked by me a few months ago and I nearly puked all over you. If you want I would happy to come say these things to your face I'm not hiding behind anything. Your blog post was laughable. The reason food and wine blocked your shitty piece was because it sucked! Why don't you go eat some food off a cutting board or something"
It was Food Life Magazine that cut my piece, not Food and Wine. A small point, I know, but I find it hilarious that he got it wrong. Trolls ALWAYS get shit dead wrong. It's like they read every other word, then forget half of what they read, and misunderstand the other half before firing off an angry screed about it. High-larious.
Sean's response was so hilarious to me, in fact, that it snapped me right out of my own Trollishness, and made me laugh out loud. This guy. I gotta get some more comedy out of this fuckin' guy. I decided to change my tone. The rest of this interview was conducted over the course of a couple of hours via FB Message while I did other shit...
STU HElM- Hahahahaha! That is pure comedy. Thank you, Sean, I love it. Do you mind if I cut and paste this to my blog with your full name attached to it? I know that my readers would get a real kick out of seeing it.
Also, do you work in a restaurant? I'd be happy to mention them too if you think they'd like that. Just let me know.
SEAN COOPER - "Go for it
Your blog is so pathetic it needs something besides rants about flip flops"
STU HELM - "And what about my other question? Do you currently work in a local restaurant? I noticed that you're a "former sous chef Etowah Valley Golf Club & Lodge." Does that mean you are no longer a sous chef, or that you're a sous chef somewhere else?"
SEAN COOPER - "I have worked at a lot of places over the last few years but am currently out of state setting a job in florida. Asheville restaurant scene is a joke. shitty pay and poormanagement"
STU HELM - "Would you describe yourself as being bitter about your experiences in the Asheville restaurant scene? Did you work at White Duck?"
SEAN COOPER - "def. bitter"
STU HELM - "And White Duck?"
SEAN COOPER - "food poisoned"
At this point, Sean's two-word responses are making me wonder if he's having regrets about entering into this conversation. I soldiered on.
STU HELM - "Seriously? Shitting-out-your-ass-while-vomitting-between-your-legs food poisoned? I've been food poisoned and it's a pretty drastic illness. Are you saying that you honestly and truly were stricken with actual for real food poisoning after eating at White Duck taco?"
"And still wondering, did you work there?"
SEAN COOPER - "did not work there. I'm a actually chef who went to J&W. Didn't spend 50K to work for 9 bux an hour in this shithole"
STU HELM - By "shithole" you mean Asheville?"
"How many restaurants did you work in here?"
SEAN COOPER - "like 9 in 3 years but some I was working 2 jobs at a time
never got over 11 an hour"
"interned for mario batali in NYC"
"sous chef at biltmore , grove park and vinnies when it didn't suck"
"30$ a plate places paying 9 bux an hour"
"applied to king james got a phone call asking me if I wanted to wash dishes. My degree is way beyond any AB tech degree and I could cook circles around GOFF. Ab tech kids get the bullshit idea in their head that they are better then everyone else and ect. They build up their graduates to think they are going to be world class chefs. In reality they are ranked 78th in the country and have a 80% drop out rate.
The employers around here love hiring those idiots"
Okay, heeeeere we go. Now he's getting into it. Venting. Showing his ass to the world. Keep in mind: He knows this is all going to be published on my blog with his name attached to it. I kept pushing...
STU HELM - "Thanks for all that. Where did you move to Asheville from and why did you come here?"
"Also, still curious about the "food poisoning." Are you going on record saying that White Duck gave you actual food poisoning? I'm publishing all of this on my blog, so I don't want any ambiguities."
SEAN COOPER - "I mean I don't really see how they can prove they did not give it to me, nor can I really prove it was them but yah they did"
"have you seen their kitchen? it's disgussting"
Wait what? I thought he said he didn't work there? So, how did he see the kitchen? Since the White Duck I ate at is practically brand-fucking-new, I'm going ot assume the kitchen was pretty fucking clean. Sean continues...
SEAN COOPER - "Worked fancy ski resorts out west for vail resorts"
"my gf grew up here , and said it was a great "foodie" top with lots of jobs LOL"
"Asheville has a lot dumb rich ppl who think running a restaurant is all about drinking wine and smoozing customers until they find out it's actual work. Lawyers and other dumb rich ppl think hey I love food lets open a restaurant and that pretty much sums up ashevilles food scene"
"restaurant impossible and kitchen nightmares would have a field day here"
STU HELM - "What city are you applying for a job at in Florida? What restaurant? Have you heard good things about that city's food scene? Why did you leave Vail if the jobs market there was so good for chefs?"
SEAN COOPER - "wife made me move to asheville"
"Florida' like every other state good pay decent food"
"appplied to 10 jobs got 9 calls in 1st 2 days here"
"clearwater tampa area"
"jobs everywhere down here though they are not big on hirining mexicans to cook here like asheville is"
"asheville gets what it pays for"
"you pay bananas your gonna get monkeys"
"rocky's fucking hot chicken shack pays dishwashers 11 an hour and cooks 112-14 and they sell chicken"
"30$ plates places pay 8-9"
"no pizza or italian worth eating in a city that is full of Yankee transplants is stupid"
"thank god for kims kitchen or I would not be able to get chinease worth eating"
Did he just call Mexican people "monkeys?" Yes. Yes he did.
Personally I like bananas, but whatever.
Also, people who say things like "wife made me" are hilariously funny to me.
Nobody makes me do anything. Ever. I make all of my own choices, so I have no one to blame but me when things go wrong. This guy. This Troll in human form, blames his poor wife for the horrible fact that he... What? Lives in one of the most beautiful cities in the country? I wanted to see if I could get him to blame her for more stuff...
STU HELM - "Does your wife like Asheville? Was she able to find a job?"
"Did you leave behind a good job out West to come here?"
SEAN COOPER - "15 an hour to come here"
"she works hospitals so yah she does fine there"
"15 an hour to 9"
"most of my chef buddies have left there over the years"
"it' like all the real chefs left and were stuck with ab tech drop outs running the city"
"I loved it there when I 1st got there"
"every year 10 restaurants close and 10 more open"
"cost of living there at 9 an hour is a joke"
"at 1 point I was living in my car"
"I had to get out"
"15 an hour to come here"
"she works hospitals so yah she does fine there"
It drives me nuts the way he keeps jumping back-and-forth, referring to Asheville has "Here" and then "There." I guess that's because he lives in Asheville, but was in Florida looking for a job while we were messaging each other?
And while I didn't quite get him to straight-up blame his wife for more of his problems, I like it that she "does fine" in Asheville. She's probably cool. Frankly, I was surprised to hear he was married.
I decided to see what his friend-making skills were like...
STU HELM - "Did you make a lot of friends in the restaurant biz here?
SEAN COOPER - "yes but none of them are there anymore
STU HELM - "NONE of your friends still live in Asheville? That sucks for you. I'm sure you can;t wait to leave."
"I noticed that you and I have absolutely NO friends in common, which is really weird for any two people who live in Asheville, let alone two that should have a lot of mutual friend sin the Restaurant biz."
"Would you classify yourself as a person who has a hard time making friends?"
After 24 hours of without a response from Sean, I figured that I'd pushed my luck, and wrote one last note...
STU HELM - "So, I'm guessing by the silence that we're done?
Thanks for letting me interview you, Sean, it was fascinating. I'm going to write a piece about it and cut and paste most of what you've written above, with your full name credited, as we agreed.
"I want to be honest with you and let you know that despite the civil tone we've both taken in the messages above, that doesn't make us friends, and doesn't mean that you're un-banned from my FaceBook page.
"Your attitude and the way you express yourself is completely the opposite of everything that I believe in, and I still find your Trollish on-line behavior to be rude and extremely unlikable.
"In your screeds above, you have slagged the city I love, personally insulted some of my actual friends, expressed offensive, prejudicial, and elitist attitudes, and blamed everyone but yourself for all of your misfortunes.
"I fear that you will be met with nothing but similarly unfortunate situations for your entire life if you continue to have such an unbelievably negative and hostile attitude towards people and life in general.
"I moved to Asheville in 2005, literally spending all of my money to get here. I had nothing when I arrived. In the ensuing nine years, I have managed to work hard, pay my rent and bills on time, and have a lot of fun in a beautiful city full of friendly people and wonderful experiences.
"I know that with a negative mental attitude, none of that would have been possible. Being positive, friendly, and outgoing is the key to obtaining everything worth having in life.
"Good luck with your job search down in Florida, I hope you are able to move there as soon as possible."
I wasn't sure if I would hear back or not. Then this came in...
SEAN COOPER - "Well that's your opinion and yor entitled to it"
And then this...
SEAN COOPER - "Imnor negative just dont put up with ppl taking advatageof me. im nota jesus obsessedredbeckwhoturnsthwothercheeland takesit Up the ass.I'm from NY I don't put up with being taken advantage of"
SEAN COOPER - "If you don't like how ppl see you town change it and clean it up"
And finally, most hilariously of all, this...
SEAN COOPER - "Well if your gonna me look like an ass I could care less but was typing on phone and didn't feel like spelling checking so could you at least spellcheck my stuff so I don't look like a moron"
This guy. In a very Rumpelstiltskinesque way, Sean had spun pure comedy gold with his finger tips, typing a stream of conscious thought that any normal person would be full of regrets about the next day... when the beer had turned itself into a hangover, and the memories came flooding in.
While I found his non-stop whining on and on about his own sad, sorry lot in life to be highly amusing (and dreadfully boring at the same time), I was practically rolling on the floor when he asked me to "spellcheck" his writing! Ha ha ha!
Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!
Because, y'see, why? On Earth?!? Would I... ever...
This guy. This fuckin' guy expects me -- a person he has insulted, a person who has just said to him, in so many words "I do not like you" -- he expects ME to be the guardian of his public image, by spell-checking his screeds, so that he won't "look like a moron," because he "didn't feel like" doing it himself. Heh... heh heh... heh heh heh...
Ah... This is fun, but even too much fun is just too much, so I gotta stop. I'm gonna wrap it up now.
First, however, I want to apologize to Chef Steven Goff of the King James Pub, The owners, managers, workers, and patrons of White Duck Taco, the staff, faculty, students and alumni of ABTech, the people of Mexico, and just about everyone else who might have cause to be offended by what Sean had to say. He is, in my opinion (which he has graciously granted me permission to be entitled to) not worth listening to... except for laughs.
Finally, while I stand by my original statement to him that he seems like a complete turd of a person, I also appreciate him for coming out of the closet, removing the cloak of anonymity, and allowing us to examine him, but... yeah... ew.
(Psst! Sean... put the cloak back on.)
EPILOGUE - Sean tried to maintain our correspondence after the interview, until I had to straight-up tell him "there's no reason for you to contact me further." He sent one last note that said, "ill just keep my mouth shut until the next time I see you out in public."
Oh, terrific. Just what I fucking need. I guess if you poke enough Trolls, eventually one of them is gonna get threateny on you, but whatever, in the interest of fighting asshole-ism everywhere, I do what I gotta do.