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About a week ago I received an email from someone I don’t know asking a detailed question about a table in a 1995 paper I have on my website.

Being busy, I replied that I would reply in more detail a little later. Eventually I looked at the question, couldn’t understand it completely, but sent a reply.

He followed up with the same question rephrased, and after an email or so more, I realized that his error came in assuming than a call with strike 120 was worth more than a call with strike 100.

I pointed it out to him and he thanked me and asked another question.

I didn’t know the answer to that, since it was more general, and told him so.

Then he followed up with a third detailed question about a table in the same paper.

Being busy with my own obligations, I took a break and didn’t reply for 36 hours. Then I received the following email:

You know Mr. Derman, it is pretty clear you’re ignoring my message. If you’d prefer not to answer the message and in particular for me not to keep asking you questions about something you publicly published, don’t you think a person like you could afford to be more professional and courteous and simply say that rather than ignoring me? I mean are you an adult or a child? When you create a website, publish information on that website, and leave your contact information, people with questions are inevitably going to ask questions … If I were you, I’d try to learn that. Then again,if you haven’t by your age, you never will.

The world is a bunch of people all colliding with each other while they try to look after themselves and do the best they can, mostly. If you forget that other people have their own lives, at whose center you don’t sit (and I’m guilty of this sometimes too), you have a good prescription for bringing yourself misery.

Twitter: @EmanuelDerman

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