I am a reporter for a newspaper that has more than one million subscribers.
In other words, there are a lot of crazy people reading my stories.
Seriously, a lot of them.
I often get strange (to put it mildly) phone calls, voicemails, and e-mails from readers. I know I should be annoyed, but in this digital day and age, I am most often just grateful that these people even still read a newspaper to begin with.
They are so bizarre, I thought I would share some of the e-mails with you today. I will save the phone calls and voicemails for a later post. There are simply too many. Haha.
Please keep in mind these are all REAL.
(I am, however, keeping some of the more unusual names anonymous because I don't want these people to google themselves and see their letters. LOL)
I am a lonesome Englishman traveling along the African Savanna. It is not easy being among the wild beasts during this safari. While browsing on my laptop computer, I came across your story about the three-legged dog who was awarded a medal for his commendable bravery and I must say, dear Jennifer, it brought a tear to my eye. You are a remarkable writer. I do wish you could be with me out here in this native land. But I fear you are much too far away, pitter-pattering on your little type writer, I imagine.
Dear Ms. ********,
I understand what happened at Virginia Tech yesterday was a tragedy. What I do not understand is why it made front page. People die every day. They are shot at every day. Yes it is terrible 30 kids died. My point is, you came out to our Girl Scout camp yesterday morning and told us the story would be on the front page. I was dismayed this morning to see that the Virgina Tech shooting story was there instead. Now I have 15 sad little girls who I have to console and I have to try to explain why you lied. Shootings happen all the time. Young girls donating their time and effort to make scarves for the elderly is not a usual occurrence. Perhaps you should go back to journalism school and decide what is really news.
(Wow. Just wow.)
Dear Ms. ********,
Wow! I just want to say that you are one sexy lady! I saw you covering the rib eating contest on Sunday afternoon. You looked AMAZING!!! I loved your red heels and your adorable skirt. It is so refreshing to see a young woman wearing hose these days too. You are so CLASSY! Keep up the great work!!!
Maybe we could go shopping sometime?!?!?!
(I was flattered but kind of scared.)
Dear Jennifer ********,
I have a confession to make. I am something of an Indophile. You see, I am obsessed with Indian people and Indian things. I noticed that your last name is Indian. It became clear to me that you must have married an Indian, so perhaps you are an Indophile like myself. Would you like to meet up and discuss Indian things some time?
I was dismayed to read your article that the city of ********* **** is increasing the number of recycling centers in town. When are people going to LEARN that recycling is FAKE? There is no such thing as recycling. It is a myth. It is one of the greatest conspiracy theories ever created by the United States Government. The things people are "recycling" are actually going straight to the landfill. Cans, glass, newspaper are NOT BEING RECYCLED! There is no such thing. There is no such way to turn old things into new things.
I would like a follow up article from you telling your readers that there is no such thing as recycling. If I do not see the follow up article in a week, please cancel my subscription to the newspaper as it is clearly filled with LIES.
(I never wrote the follow-up article. I did write back telling him that in elementary school, I actually went on a field trip where my class was shown aluminum cans and bottles being recycled right before our eyes. He never wrote back...or cancelled his subscription).
(The following is actually a letter I received in the mail. Instead of putting my name on the envelope, the man actually cut out my columnist photo and pasted it there instead).
Dear Ms. ********,
I have top secret information. I am God. You must believe me. The mayor of ******* ******* is the devil. He is going to destroy the universe. I came back to earth to help humans survive during this rough time. I must see that he does not control us. I am having a concert on my front lawn on Wednesday. I will be performing with my dear friends, John Lennon and Elvis. I hope to see you there.
(This is the first of six letters I received from this man. He started sending my editor letters as well. They were all fairly similar, except longer because he started including several Bible quotes. One month later, he was arrested when he was found hiding underneath the back porch of a city councilwoman's house).
(The following e-mail is about a story I freelanced for an edgy, hip magazine intended for college or 20-something readers. This letter was literally three pages long, full of critique, so I am only sharing a few paragraphs).
Dear Ms. ********,
I have a few questions regarding your story about the heavy metal rock band. My first question, do you use AP style to write your stories? Because I noticed a few instances where the quotations were not correct. I am a high school journalist, you see, so I am used to looking for such things.
Your use of 'cuss' words is not very appropriate or conducive to your readers, many who are in high school or college and probably are not used to such language. Your use of the word 'damn' and your description of a musician as being 'badass' is not needed in this situation. A more politically correct term for 'badass' would be 'enforcer.' I think your readers will agree with me.
Think back to the first story you wrote. Was it good? Was it your best piece of writing? I can only presume that it was not, based on my own personal experience. I'm sure you've grown as a writer, one does not have the talent that you do right off the bat. But the journey that you have undergone is what these musicians are experiencing now. It's a learning period. I feel that was not portrayed correctly in this article.
(Oh, so her being a high school journalist makes her above someone who is a former high school journalist, has a degree and a job where someone pays her to write? I should have done that to a journalist when I was in high school. "I am the editor-in-chief for my high school newspaper, you see, and I am used to seeing how bad everyone sucks. It is obvious you suck." LOL. I just couldn't believe she had the balls to send this shit to me. Someone clearly needs to get all 'enforcer' on that kid).
These e-mails are just a taste of what I get in my inbox every single day.