I receive a lot of emails from strangers. Some of the emails are complimentary, other less so. The emails range from marriage proposals to veiled insults. However, in recent months I have been inundated with emails about elves. I don't know why, since elves do not feature at all on my website. Indeed, most of the emails I receive are from people who want elves to play a prominent role on my site. I try to remain calm and polite when faced by these emails. There is not a great deal that I can say: I have very few opinions about elves.
It all started earlier in the year, with this isolated email:
"Hi! Hello Themanwhofellasleep, I really like the sight (sic) and think it's great. I really like the tube gossip. Are they real? Some of them seem so weird. I also like the journal - it really makes me laugh. I've forwarded it some of my mates, but they don't seem to get it. Anyway, I just wondered why there are so few elves on your site. I really love elves, but it's very frustrating because - despite the successs of the Lord of the Rings - they hardly feature on the internet. It would be really great if you could take the lead and start doing more elf-related pages. Why not do an elf tube gossip? There must be loads of elves on the underground, and they have lots to say.
Aside from that, I really like the sight (sic). keep up the good work. Richard X"
I didn't think much about the email. I get some pretty crazy mails, so I just sent a quick reply saying that I wasn't that interested in elves, but that I'd think about it.
A week later I received another email, from a different address:
"Hi! GRATE SITE! I LOVE IT!!! THE PHOTOS ARE COOL AND I LIKE THE WAY NONE OF IT MAKES SENSE!! IT'S THE 1ST SITE IN AGES THAT I CAN LOOK AT AND FEEL NORMAL. BUT!!!! WHERE ARE THE ELVEZ!?! THERE SHOULD BE MORE ELVEZ!!! KIMXXX"
I was bemused, to say the least. Was this a hoax? Was the same person behind both emails? Or had my site been linked by a fantasy website with obsessive nerds? I replied withmy standard email, polite but distant. I take most emails I receive with a pinch of salt - emails aren't like letters. Letters have a certain gravitas, whereas emails can be fired off so rapidly and don't seem to carry the same emotional punch. An email can be deleted with a single finger.
For a month or so I got no further elf-related emails. And then...
"Hello. ELves. That's what I am writing about. YoU promised me elves. Maybe you don't think promises count fro (sic) anything, but I do. I think they mean a lot. And I sit here everyday in front of my computer, waiting for an elf on your website and they never come. How do you think that makes me feel?
Perhaps you thought it was a joke, but it's not a joke. When I had that dream you spoke to me clearly, and you said that the elves would rise again. You left me the address of your website in the dream and I typed it in. And now there is nothing. No elves and no hope. I can't go on like this. I am not so strong or callous like you. I want the elves that we used to share together. I am not some Ibrami that you can pick up and throw away. WHERE IS GALANDIR? Where is he? You can't just hide behind a computer. Where is Consiluir? I still love you but you HAVE to stop hurting me. Karen. "
I was disturbed. I could feel sweat on my back. It was silly, but it scared me anyway. I deleted the email.
Since that email... well, it hasn't gotten any better. I have changed email address, but the emails keep coming. Not all of them are so threatening, but most of them are. Some seem almost jokey in tone, but I can't laugh at them. On a typical day I get 10 emails and at least half of them are about elves. Some of them are open pleas for more elves, but some are simply cryptic.
"I went to the cinema yesterday. Guess what I saw?!? ELF! Funny, huh? Your biggest fan XXXXX"
What can I do? The whole point of the website is that it encourages interaction with the public. I could hide my email address and remove the feedback form, but that would be like letting the elfpeople win. It's silly... it's not as if the emails are abusive or insulting. It's just that they are all about elves, and I know nothing about elves. I don't even like elves. Maybe it's a case of mistaken identity... maybe it's just a couple of kids with too much time on their hands. I don't know. But it makes me nervous. It's gone on too long for me to simply laugh it off.
So, if you're out there, reading this. PLEASE... stop sending me emails about elves.