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The Boston Globe


Globe magazine | Connections

You’ve got mail — and it’s insane

An outspoken author discovers that if you publish your e-mail address online, readers will bring the crazy.

BACK IN THE OLDEN DAYS before the Internet, I had very few correspondents, and most of them wanted money. But the rise of electronic mail has brought down the traditional barriers to correspondence, at least if you make your e-mail address available online, which, like all lonely people, I do. (It probably didn’t help that I began to publish controversial books and articles just as e-mail use was ramping up.) As a result, my circle of correspondents has increased by a factor of several hundred, and that’s not including the many kind folks who seem concerned about my sexual health.

That’s what I love about my new correspondents: They’re so uninhibited. Take my friend Shep. He saw a photo of me barefoot a few years back and sent the following note: “Damn, Steve, you’ve got some of the hottest feet on the planet. (Yeah, I’m a dude with a foot/sock fetish.) A pic of you in stinky dirty white socks would definitely do me in.”

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