Tuesday, August 2, 2016

My Favorite Posts

With some regularity people will email me and say they just found Stranger and they wonder if I have any "favorite" posts they should make sure to check out and I'm like, "START FROM THE BEGINNING OR DON'T COME BACK AT ALL!!!" But then I remember that I'm positively ashamed of everything written before 2013 and mostly ashamed of everything written after that and so I immediately send a follow up email that says, "JUST KIDDING GO READ CHARLES DICKENS I HELPED HIM." Because I refuse to use punctuation when I email.

Which reminds me, I posted the below photo on the Instagrams the other day as a throwback to that one time a couple months ago when I was in Latvia and I was having problems interneting and I started screaming and then Adam looked over and captured the moment.

And then Jordan.Hulsey accused me of being an email "hoarder" because Jordan.Hulsey thinks Instagram is a forum for shaming others and also I wish Jordan.Hulsey would come work for me because he/she/it seems to have just the raw tenacity I'm looking for on my team. (Jordan.Hulsey, send me your resume. I don't pay anything but I make a mean potato casserole for the company Christmas party and I also include medical benefits, such as driving you to the emergency room when you get hurt on the job).

In any event, it's true that I'm sort of an email hoarder and I allow my inbox to fill to unacceptable limits but I want you to know that I DO actually read every one of your emails. Even the ones that use obscenities.


Sometimes it just takes me a while to get to them. And usually it takes me an even longer while to respond to them.

Also, I decided I would post for you, in case you're interested, something of a walk down memory lane. Below is a categorized list of my favorite things I've ever posted on Stranger so that in the future when I get the email about what people should read I can just send them this post rather than tell them about Charles Dickens. Also, this is such a great post for you to share with your friends who so obviously should have joined us and signed up to bring food poisoning to The Suzzzzzzzzzzz-organized family reunion.

The below lists are not necessarily the most popular things I've ever written. They're just the things that I was most excited to post. Which sometimes meant that none of you cared and some of you egged my house after.

Oh, and providing this list sort of feels like I'm giving myself my own awards ceremony, which makes me simultaneously love and hate myself.

Top 5 Prank Posts

5. Snuggie Texts Part I and Snuggie Texts Part II

I never loved it quite as much as some people, but it should probably make the list. Easily the most popular posts I've ever had on Stranger and maybe the most read thing I'll ever write in my life, which is depressing?

4. College Admission Emails

I admit it. I nearly choked on my own saliva while laughing as I created an email account for Tammy Spammy.

3. Emails from Craigslist Part I and Emails from Craigslist Part II

The first prank posts I ever put on Stranger, and still such a happy memory for me.

2. PTA Emails

This was actually the only time I've ever felt bad while writing a prank email. But putting together a fake news article taking a sweet PTA president's words out of context was delightful.

1. Book Club Emails

Easily my favorite prank post I've ever done and sure to make your hair stand on end.

Top 5 Humor Posts

5. St. George 70.3

It was one of the most miserable races I've ever done, a half Ironman in the world's hottest place in 2015.

4. Talking About Sex Part I and Talking About Sex Part II

I shared with you my two very awkward experiences of having to talk with Palauan teenagers about "chastity."

3. Fuller House Came Out and it's Even Worse Than You Imagined

My candid review of the show that I binge-watched and then pretended to others I did not see.

2. The Mobile Spider

It happened in Palau, and it was an incredibly typical experience for us.


And just like that, Leotrix was born.

1. Throat Chlamydia (Tie)

I decided there would be a tie because I realized I had more than 5. It wasn't long after I got back from Palau, and a doctor informed me that a horrific condition exists somewhere, out there.

Top 5 Serious Posts

5. This is Very Strange

I'm sure you don't remember it, but I wrote it during a very hard time while I was in Palau, and I return to it often because it captures the feelings I had there more than anything else I ever wrote.

4. A Walk Through Kyiv

I wrote about one of the most life-changing experiences I've ever had, walking through war-torn Ukraine in 2014.

3. A History of Daniel

The most vulnerable writing I've ever publicly shared, and still something that is deeply meaningful to me about what it means to heal.

2. Ironman Boulder, 2015

A little something about discovering that I defined failure unproductively and incorrectly for a very long time.

1. Happy Trails, Palau (Tie)

I loved writing this, and I cried when I did, reflecting on Palau's impact on me after a very taxing year.

1. Oh, The Places You'll Go. Maybe. (Tie)

I did the tie thing again. I had a huge epiphany reading a Dr. Seuss classic shortly after returning from Palau, and exactly at a moment when I really needed the epiphany.

That's all, folks. Thanks for taking this walk down memory lane with this old man.

~It Just Gets Stranger


  1. I feel partially responsible because I am the one that introduced Jordan top It Just Gets Stranger. Please accept my apologies. If it makes you feel better, I've watched her shame our own mother for the amount of unread emails in her account, too. We still love her though.

  2. I hope Jordan doesn't email you her resume. Maybe she should video it and post it on Netflix. The odds are much higher that you'd see it.

    1. Looks like we've got at least TWO Jordans around here now!

  3. If you'd read your emails maybe you wouldn't have booked a trip to Eastern Europe the same week I was hosting the Stranger Family Reunion at your house. Sorry we killed all your plants and let you blame your sister for it. We tie-dyed a reunion t-shirt for you but then decided to give it to the Perfects'sss since they actually showed up and you didn't.

    1. For the record those plants looked better the day he got home then the day he left. I'm a miracle worker and he's ungrateful.


  4. I just re-read the Book Club emails because I NEEDED to laugh and OMG it makes me laugh so hard my sides hurt!

    1. Same here! It has always been my favorite messing with people post. I feel so validated that you chose it as your favorite one too.

    2. Speaking of Validated, another favorite of mine is the validations post.

    3. The Validations post is my all-time favorite too. It's actually how I got hooked on Stranger.

  5. I'm disappointed "Austin the Tech Guy" didn't make it into this list... That's one of my favorites!

    1. Oh my gosh. You are an old-timer! I sort of forgot about that post. I'll have to go back and look at it. I think I wrote it in like 2009!

    2. 2008- and I had a very similar experience with Sears when we bought our washer and dryer, they charged us TWICE. I spent hours on the phone with them asking me questions like "what makes you think we charged you twice?" Over and over. Yeesh.

    3. Every time someone mentions Sears I think about that part of The Brady Bunch Movie when Mr. Brady says, "Put on your Sunday best kids. We're going to Sears!"

      I hope you were at least dressed up for the occasion.

  6. The post that I read to everyone when I'm introducing a new person to the wonderful world of Eli McCann is Body Scrub. I still laugh SO HARD every time.

  7. I have cried enough happy, sad, and happysad (shh, it's a thing) tears over your writing that I should probably seek therapy. Would you mind covering the expense for me, please? It's your life that made me this way, after all...

    Your blog is my very favorite thing to read and I will follow you to the bitter end. Pictures of Tami notwithstanding.

    1. Admit that you love Tami and I'll consider paying for your therapy visits. This is a valid offer.

  8. I discovered your blog when a friend shared your first Snuggie Texts post and I've been a loyal reader ever since.

    Somehow I missed the post about Daniel, but I just finished reading it because I never did know what happened there. I'm sorry you both went through that at the end of your time in Palau, but I'm also glad that you were both able to set aside the hurt and anger to recognize that you have a friendship that is truly worth something. I wish people wouldn't give up on each other so easily.

  9. Oh, and I CAN'T BELIEVE you didn't make a category for Times You Ended Up Nude in Public.

  10. Well when you have thousands of unread emails like mom does you need a gentle nudge. The rèsumè is being updated as we speak.

  11. What happened to Lee?

  12. Eli, I know from your posts that you live in Utah. Are you a Mormon?

  13. Yes, naked in all the wrong places like Korean airports or somewhere like that are absolutely some of my favorites.