Most of the non-spam e-mails I receive fall under two categories: angry letters (which are sadly infrequent) and interesting/useful/pertinent questions or comments. But lately I’ve had a few that fall into a third category: baffling.
First, a lad named Pedro writes to me with this:
Hey Eric Names Pedro and i live in california city of Gardena, well anyways i had an idea for another jackass i was thinking wat about a jackass jr. like teens almost 13-14 year-olds doin stunts but not as hard and more risk-life stunts so yeah please message me back at my email and if u hav any ideas for stunts then feel free to mail them to me and tell me if u can approve my idea film and well try to come bup with some stunts too ill check in about a week well thank you for your valueable time and i look fowrad to this movie bye
Pedro obviously thinks, for some reason, that I am involved in the production of the “Jackass” films. That is baffling in itself (note that we are using the word “baffling” as a euphemism for “stupid”), but more baffling is the notion that an actual “Jackass” producer would want to do a spin-off version featuring minors, thereby ensuring that, however many teens are currently injuring themselves imitating Johnny Knoxville and his brethren, that number (and its accompanying lawsuits) would increase tenfold.
Then someone named Savannah (with an e-mail address containing “1995,” implying she is turning 12 this year) wrote what was apparently a follow-up e-mail, though I don’t recall getting the first one:
you didn’t anwser me.Can i send vin diesel a Email.
You might assume this calls for the form letter indicating that it is foolish to think I have celebrities’ e-mail addresses, but look closely. She didn’t ask for Vin Diesel’s contact information. She asked if it was OK to send him an e-mail. I replied and told her it was fine with me.
Finally, and most baffling, the other day I got this from a reader named Mike:
Don’t know if you’ve reviewed the film Blades of Glory with Will Ferrell and Jon Heder (haven’t been to your site for awhile, and I can’t right now because my work blocks internet).
I would be interested in what you have to say about it.
At first blush, this would appear to be an e-mail from a friend of mine. “Hey, Eric, I can’t access your site because I’m at work, but I’m wondering what you thought of ‘Blades of Glory.'” My friends often call me on the phone to get the lowdown on a film, usually when they’re not near a computer and need to know quickly whether something is good or bad. I suspect that happens to all movie critics.
The thing is, I don’t know Mike. Mike is a complete stranger to me. So here’s what his e-mail says:
“I never read your site anymore, and I can’t right now because I’m at work, but I REALLY want to know what you thought of ‘Blades of Glory.’ Sure, I could wait until I gain access to the Internet — like when I get home from work tonight — but I want to know NOW, and I’m sure you’re not doing anything else. I know you write reviews and post them so that everyone can read them, but I’d prefer you give me some special treatment and just tell ME what you thought.”
When I replied to Mike, I simply pointed out that the movie won’t be released until March 30, and thus it’s still a good three weeks before I’ll have a chance to see it.
But then I got to thinking: What if the movie had already come out, and I had already reviewed it? Normally, if someone asks where they can find a particular review, I reply either with the link, or with the link to the page where all the movie reviews are listed alphabetically and let them find it their own damn selves because what am I, a human search engine?, depending on my mood. But in this case, giving Mike a link of any kind would have been cruel, given his no-Internet status. Was I supposed to copy and paste my review into an e-mail? Or would even that have been too much work for him? Should I have encapsulated my feelings into a sentence or two?
I kind of wish I’d had a review written already, just so I could find out what Mike expected of me.