Friday, February 24, 2006


I work for a media organization and am in charge of a feature inviting our audience to submit their picks for particularly memorable stories we have produced. People will write about that cute pet commentary and how it reminded them of their own animal, or how that story on astronomy was so enlightening that they just couldn't tear themselves away, or how their heart goes out to the person featured in XYZ story, etc.

Occasionally as I'm screening and selecting e-mails for this feature, I receive responses that range from disturbing to disturbed. It gets me thinking about what must motivate people to write messages that are so heartfelt yet so hopelessly inappropriate for publication. It feels wrong to delete them, so I store all of these messages in a file entitled "pain."

This one is the latest and most clearly delusional:

Regions Bank at 1300 W Ksiser Osceola Ar.72370 sent me a letter on the 2-9-06 giving me 10 day to close my account cause i have had 2 picture of Klan on the they being on my check for 33 year now Kait 8 come out on 2 - 21-06 an run a story about it if you like to do one call me at [phone number] i am home by 2:00 pm i was done wrong at Regison bank thank you Your Wayne [last name]

This message is exactly as I received it, except for the deleted personal information. I don't run things at my company but can say with some certainty that we won't be pursuing this man's story offer.

Here is another one:

I don't have a working car... This situation has existed ever since I was illegally fired in 1982 from a tenured, full professorship at Eastern Michigan University. Probably professional jealousy was the main reason from grants and publications I got. Now, I am most concerned the illegal method used to fire me could threaten all tenured teachers since it "worked" with me making me permanently unemployable for the past 23+ years. Thus, no car. Tenure was there to protect teachers from situations just like this. [My wife and I] get away from this by working as volunteer rangers in national parks, e.g., Mount Rainier and Olympic Rain Forest.

Since the other ones involve suicide, alcoholism and molestation, they have to stay in my Drafts folder: strangers' pain with noplace to go.

"Someone was telling my story," one of them wrote, "a story I never knew how to tell."


  1. Anonymous2:02 PM

    Now you know how psychiatrists feel -- well, except for the high malpractice insurance overhead.

  2. Anonymous6:01 PM

    i didn't see the "Klan" design the last time i ordered checks.


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