Thursday, January 30, 2014

Dear Marsha

I know that this month I haven't been the most consistent blogger of all time. My life has been a roller coaster in January and it's been difficult to keep up with a lot of things, including Stranger. And now you guys are all mad at me and I hate it when you're mad at me because then nobody stops me in the street and gives me back massages.

But it's not like I've abandoned you entirely. Even when I'm blogging inconsistently, I still post something three or four times a week. LET'S EVERYONE CALM DOWN. The back massages from Strangers may now resume!

It's already almost 8:00 AM on a Thursday and I haven't posted anything for the day and it's giving me some anxiety. So I thought I would finally tell you something I've been meaning to tell you for a while.


I just had a thought: they should create some program that takes past blog posts, mixes them around, and regurgitates jokes from them in the form of a new post for when you don't have time or energy to come up with new content. It wouldn't really be any different from what I write anyway.

But, no. The thing I've been wanting to tell you is that someone has been playing a VERY funny joke on me for probably over a year and it wasn't until recently that I figured out what was going on. I assume it was one of you but there's always the possibility that Jolyn is involved.

On a side note, every time I write "Jolyn" I imagine that lightening strikes and a booming thunder shakes the house.

About a year ago I started receiving VERY long-winded emails from people explaining in explicit detail their very screwed-up relationship problems and asking for advice. These emails were coming from all over the country (and even a few from Europe). They came from email addresses associated with legitimate companies and school districts as well as run-of-the-mill gmail and yahoo accounts.

They typically talk about how someone was unfaithful and how they just can't bear the thought of losing this person. Often children are involved. Etc.

At first I just thought, "Well. Someone clearly thinks I'm VERY wise. WHICH I AM." And then I thoughtfully answered the email, including a good blend of stern lecture and motherly compassion. I often included a full diatribe about how they needed to put the child's needs first. Sometimes I quoted scripture at them. Sometimes classic literature.

I am embarrassed to tell you how much time I spent answering those early emails.

I was always a little put out that none of them ever responded with "Oh my gosh! You are so right! Thank you, Eli! You have saved my life! And your hair looks amazing today! And I have no doubt that Paul Simon is thinking about you right now!"

But, in fact, not one of these people has ever responded to any of my emails at all.

This has gone on and on. Typically I receive several of these emails every month. And recently I've sort of gotten behind on answering them. For one thing, it's very emotionally draining. But also, I was getting really confused about why I was getting so many of these anyway.

Then, a few weeks ago, I got one incredibly long email that was addressed to "Dear Marsha." I realized that someone did the same just a few months before (typically the email just begins, without formally addressing anyone). And it finally hit me. One of you people has posted my email address somewhere as the contact for some "Dear Marsha" column. It's the only thing that makes sense.

If I'm correct, you need to come forward and receive praise. Because I'm pretty careful about not falling into any Stranger traps, but you may have just gotten me to spend an entire year accidentally acting as Marsha the therapist for people all over the world.

~It Just Gets Stranger


  1. It was me! I admit it! Jk. I wish I were that awesome.

  2. Your responses probably were better than whatever the "Real" Marsha would have written anyway. Private message with all my problems to follow......

  3. Oh, how I wish it had been me....

  4. This was an option??? This whole entire time I could have been emailing you instead of spending money on a therapist and crying to my friends and getting a dog just so I had someone to listen to me at night??? Well, now I know. I expect scripture & classic literature, and MOST DEFINITELY input from Jolyn.

  5. Dear Marsha,

    I am a single mother of 16 and my fiance doesn't want to move into our two bedroom apartment once we get married next month. It's the only place the kids know as home. I don't want to disrupt their lives over a man, but I really love this guy and want to make him and our future children happy. What should I do?

    ~Confused with 16 Kids and Still Wanting More

  6. Oh my gosh! You are so right! Thank you, Eli! You have saved my life! And you're hair looks amazing today! And I have no doubt that Paul Simon is thinking about you right now!"

  7. I was wondering why you hadn't been posting as much; I figured pregnancy was draining you. Either that or you were spending a lot of time with Paul Simon these days.

    A quick google search turned up "".... could this be your site? The email address on there doesn't seem to be yours, but maybe it forwards to you? This is just hilarious, and I hope those people appreciated your advice!

  8. Ugh... It's always Marsha, Marsha, Marsha!

  9. Eli, your hair looks amazing today.

  10. I would LOVE to take credit for this. A quick google search returns the following:

    1. Got cut off: Unfortunately I am unable to say this was orchestrated by me. :(

  11. I don't anything about it, I just want a back massage.

  12. Dear Marsha,
    Is there a safe and polite way to tell a total stranger that I really want to see the pictures on his phone this Friday? It's awkward as I'm old enough but not cool enough to be his mom but usually he indulges me. Last week he didn't and now I don't know what to think.
    Sleepless but not in Seattle

  13. I have been waiting on the sidewalk every day for a week just to have the chance at giving you a massage. If you really want one you should stop screaming like a little girl and running away. See you next week!

  14. I don't know about Dear Marsha, but I have seen some pretty fun things listed in the local free classifieds with Eli as the contact. I can only assume you're collecting blog material or someone else is playing another prank on you