Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Snuggie Texts, One Year Later

One year ago today I posted Snuggie Texts.

I cannot believe it has already been a year. You people are getting old.

Over the past year, many of you have asked a lot of questions about that experience. How it happened. Who Jane is. What happened to her after Snuggie Texts. Etc.

I have answered so few of your questions and, frankly, never thought I would answer them. This was partly because of laziness but also, I was worried that if I talked too much about it, it might ruin the humor for some of you. Some friends who knew more about the story than I shared here were sure this wouldn't happen and encouraged me to appease the strangers of the world by discussing the experience a little more.

And what better way to do that than on the anniversary of Snuggie Texts? So, here it is.


It was one year ago yesterday that I got that first text from Jane, whose real name is not actually Jane, by the way. Sorry for lying to you. I'll never do it again.

I was having Sunday dinner with Bob and Cathie and my oldest sister Krishelle when I got the text. She wanted to go halfsies on a wedding gift. I quickly responded with a suggestion for Snuggies thinking that would be the end of our conversation. But she replied, and implied that my Snuggie suggestion was just a joke. So I replied again. And again and again and again.

I really believed that each text I sent would be the last one. Particularly because each text I sent quickly became more and more outrageous. And finally, I sent Jane a picture of myself in a Snuggie, but with my face covered by a Venetian mask that belonged to my roommate at the time.

And she still responded to me like I was this person she initially meant to text.

It was at this point that I started developing in my mind the most likely scenario that could have allowed for this to happen. A scenario that I still stick to today.

Jane is obviously a very nice person. Even after she realized I was messing with her, she still never became unprofessional in any way. I also think that Jane seems like an intelligent person. Her texts were well-worded, spelled correctly, and, frankly, grown-up sounding. No they weren't a literary masterpiece, but they were as coherent as any text messages ever are.

I began to believe that what must have happened was this: Jane was at a wedding shower for her very good friend Beth. At said shower, she met Amanda who is also a very good friend of Beth. Perhaps even related. Amanda may be socially awkward. And because Jane is such an inviting and warm person, Amanda immediately latched onto her. Even going so far as to suggest that they buy a wedding gift together.

Jane got Amanda's number. Which just so fortunately happened to be similar to mine.

When "Amanda" responded that she didn't understand why Jane would be making fun of her Snuggie idea, Jane suddenly worried that she may have offended this person, whom she didn't know well. From that point on Jane was cautious and avoided saying anything that could offend Amanda any further, who obviously was now showing herself to be a very odd person.

When Jane got that first picture text, I imagined her showing it to her friends and asking how on Earth she should respond. They probably assumed this couldn't be serious. But at this point, Jane either still wanted to be cautious, or she just wanted see where else the texting conversation could go. And that's how Snuggie Texts came to be.

I quickly typed up the text exchange and posted it here before going for a run with a friend one Monday evening. Already, within just a couple of hours, the response was incredible. And the blog started getting shared all over Facebook. Very few people had ever read Stranger prior to that day. Just some friends and family, mostly. But suddenly that week, tens of thousands were reading and sharing and commenting on it.

Naturally Jane saw the exchange. It was sort of bound to happen. She had a local number, meaning she probably lived near me, and so many young people had been sharing the post on Facebook that week that many of us wondered whether Jane would eventually see it. It took 6 days. The following Saturday morning after Snuggie Texts I got another text from Jane while at a family Christmas party. "So I've seen your blog." And with her help, another fun text exchange resulted.

I spoke to Jane on the phone on a couple of occasions in the weeks that immediately followed. One of those phone calls was upon the urging of KSL who wanted to contact her for an interview. That phone conversation went like this:

Jane: . . . Do I even want to hear this?

Eli: Hi Jane! How are you?!

Jane: Just sitting here enjoying all of my wood blocks that you think are ridiculous.

Eli: About that. KSL contacted me--

Jane: No.

Eli: You haven't even heard my pitch yet!

Jane: I don't need to.

I told Jane that KSL wanted to do an article. She laughed and made some comment about the state of the news these days and then told me that, for reasons she asked me not to share, she really wasn't interested in talking to anyone about it. But she encouraged me to do the interview and told me she was happy everyone was having so much fun with it all.

I have still not met Jane in person. I know almost nothing about her. But I can say, she seems to be a perfectly nice and wonderful person. And I'll always be thankful to her for ultimately being such a good sport about a joke that has brought us all together.

Snuggie Texts continued to spread. My good friend Jolyn Metro, whom I had met only a month prior to this, served as a major source of comfort during the craziness. And no, I am not referring to hanky panky of any sort. My hygiene habits are way too disgusting for someone as clean as Jolyn.

Jolyn contacted her best friend Jen Lee, who lived in Canada, and asked for her emergency design help because Stranger at that time looked like what Jolyn described as "the Wal-Mart of blogs." Jen quickly took over and designed the goat/bush image at the top of the blog and did a host of other maintenance that made things seem a lot more classy around here. Jen Lee is an incredibly talented person.

Jolyn and Jen also created the Facebook page (which is getting close to 10,000 likes, by the way!) for the blog and helped spread the word in other ways.

Jolyn started occasionally sending emails to the Stranger email account from different aliases, begging me for VERY strange favors. I would usually forward these emails to Jen and Jolyn and ask for advice about how to respond. Jolyn would then give me advice.

Advice on how to respond to the emails she was sending me. I would then have back and forth communication with various imaginary people, carefully trying to deny their requests without hurting their feelings. It wasn't until just a couple of months ago that Jolyn finally came clean about this.

So there. Sometimes I'm the victim, too. Jolyn is at the very top of the food chain in all of this madness. The rest of us live on borrowed time.

Jolyn, Jen, and I, began jokingly referring to ourselves as "the Stranger staff." I will always be so grateful to Jolyn and Jen and will feel a close connection to them for the rest of my life.

And here we are, one year later.

I would be lying if I said that writing here hasn't changed for me since Snuggie Texts. And I just told you I would never lie to you again, so obviously I won't say that. See how I'm already regaining your trust?

Stranger went from 100 visits a month (thanks Bob & Cathie!) to hundreds of thousands each week. I have had the chance to do public story-telling and stand-up in front of a crowd of "fans" (having fans is still so strange to me that on the very rare occasion that I use that word, I still have to use finger quotes). Publishers have emailed me about my thoughts on writing a book. And one dear friend who owns a t-shirt printing business started printing shirts for the blog (which you can totally buy if you want a great Christmas present. But like, no pressure or anything. Like, don't buy it if you don't love people. And I won't care either way. Although, I told you earlier this week that I am stalking you. So I know what you're doing at all times. Just saying).

Now when I write here, I know that tens of thousands, and potentially even millions, are going to read what I'm writing. And talk about it. And critique it. And maybe even share it, if it tickles their fancy.

Sorry for saying "tickles their fancy." I regretted it the moment I started typing the words. I wish there was some way I could delete it.

The thought of my life and ideas having that much exposure is exciting and scary and intimidating and surreal. And, well, strange.

Sort of ironic how the blog that I created to keep a record of my strange experiences itself has sort of become the strangest experience of all. Unless you count the time a man peed onto my leg in a bus.

Thanks for the great year, strangers.

[For the full Queen of Colors story, click here.]

~It Just Gets Stranger

47 comments:

  1. Hey! I know that silly Jolyn! small world ....She would...

    ReplyDelete
  2. Your banner is a bush and a goat?? For some reason this whole time I thought it was a llama.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. . . . A llama with horns?

      Delete
    2. Yeah don't you know llamas don't have horns?

      Delete
  3. I am glad people started sharing your blog...it gives me something to do when I am slacking of at work ;)

    Good job though. I have enjoyed all of your posts.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I'm seriously disturbed by that last paragraph!

    ReplyDelete
  5. You sir are a great writer. I came on board with Snuggie texts and am glad I did. I have enjoyed reading this blog.

    ReplyDelete
  6. I actually really want one of those shirts... Not because I love the blog (which I totally do, I come here for a good laugh a couple times a week) But because I'm a girl and can't possibly pass by an opportunity to shop.. Is that sad?... forget it. It is.

    ReplyDelete
  7. So glad I found you stranger people! I can't believe it's been a year! What a ride!! ::)
    Michelle... Not really anonymous...

    ReplyDelete
  8. I only came on board a few months ago after finding a link to the Snuggie texts. I’m like that Beatles fan that other Beatles fan’s hate because I only liked them after Beatles 1 or Across the Universe or something and the other fans have liked them for longer. On that note, have you considered turning your blog into a musical? It worked for the Beatles. …and Doctor Horrible.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I am with Kay, who might also be a genius.

      Delete
  9. This is a test comment.

    If it were a real comment it would have been funnier.

    *crosses fingers, hits publish*

    ReplyDelete
  10. You know what they say: Never kid a kidder, unless you could get away with kidding said kidder for pretty much a whole year and longer if you felt like it, in which case yes, totally kid a kidder. You go, Jolyn.

    ReplyDelete
  11. I think I would have responded exactly like Jane, especially to the prospect of an interview. Those news people are pretty hard-up for stories these days.

    ReplyDelete
  12. I found you through a friend sharing the Snuggie Texts on facebook and have since gone back and read your blog from the beginning. You have a great storytelling ability and I enjoy every one of your entries (especially the one about the too big gym shirts. I laughed so hard I cried.) Because of you I plan to make borsch in the near future. I hate beets. You better be right.

    Thank you for sharing your life with all of us strangers!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Please let us know how it turns out!

      Delete
  13. I read the snuggie texts for the first time a couple of months ago. I then had to go back and read all of your posts and laughed until my sides hurt, I even got my husband hooked on reading your blog. What I'm dying to read now are those emails from Jolyn messing with you. LOL

    ReplyDelete
  14. Eli! You know those moments in life that you can pinpoint life-altering-change? I can remember exactly where I was when I first had the snuggie texts shared with me-- I've not been the same since. You, and your blog, have changed my life! You've reminded me about my often neglected blog, (evolutionofmag.blogspot.com, in case you're ever bored) and brought a bit of humanity back to the internets. Sometimes it's hard to remember there are other people on the other side of the text.

    Love you and all you do here - keep it up. I'll be here as long as you're posting!

    -Mag

    ReplyDelete
  15. I think you are now obligated to publish the Jolyn emails.

    Sincerely,

    A "Fan"

    ReplyDelete
  16. Air quotes sometimes make life make more sense, sometimes.

    But your "fans" are real enough :)

    ReplyDelete
  17. Here here "fan". Publish the Jolyn emails and the goat won't get hurt.

    ReplyDelete
  18. One thing I appreciate out of all of this is that you aren't ridiculing "Jane." I don't feel like she's a picked on victim. Just someone who fell upon a good-humored joke. And I have also always been impressed with how nice she sounded through it all. Kudos to Jane. And to you, Eli. This blog is changing the world for people who read it. I feel like your strangers (myself included) have start a cult following here. May it grow!

    Annette

    ReplyDelete
  19. Being that I am one of your "fans" and that I get to be part of the quoted words in your life, I feel it my responsibility to let you know that you are the only cat person I want to know. I hate cats. I love your blog. I couched surfed this summer and you inspired it!

    ReplyDelete
  20. Thanks to my friend who sent me the link to the snuggie texts I was hooked. I to went back and read all of the stuff you have written on here. You make a lot of people day and we need a good laugh in this crazy world. I am not a cat lover, never have been, never will be....yet my husband has a cat her name is Goya and most people think he named her after the sauce but actually its the Spanish painter. (He had her before we got married) she is 14 and I don't think she will EVER die she is here to make me miserable lol. The kids love her so I guess she has to stay.....for now :)I agree with the rest of your "fans" print Jolyn's emails!!

    ReplyDelete
  21. How much sex do u get from this site? Im curious how many women in a fit of laughter go "HIM" cause apparently spraying orange juice out our nose while laughing turns us on. If i didnt live 3728929 miles away (exactly..i did.the math. No i didnt. That was a lie, sorry i have a problem. I hope its something we can work past.) id offer to buy u a drink myself...west side.

    ReplyDelete
  22. Oh my goodness - I want to thank Pinterest for sending me here, now I Have spent the last hour of my life shooing away kids and feeding them oatmeal cookies for dinner so that I can read more. Ha. Needed a great laugh.

    ReplyDelete
  23. this is so hilarious! honestly, if i was jane i would probably have the teensiest, tiniest crush on you...buried under a significant amount of anger, frustration and the unique species of shame that results from perceived public humiliation.

    ReplyDelete
  24. Haha oh Eli how I've missed you! I haven't been to the blog in awhile, and my goodness how I've missed my daily 'Eli'laughter. One year ago you changed many life forever (for reasons that go beyond humor, as you know) I truly believe the world is better with you in it and I feel blessed to (kind of) know you! Thanks for being you, and sharing it with us!

    ReplyDelete
  25. A man peed on your leg in a bus? *KAK* If it makes you feel any better a guy crapped in a pool I was in. It was just me and him. No, we're not friends anymore. No, it wasn't because he turned the pool into a toilet.

    ReplyDelete
  26. I was hoping that this was going to be a story about how you and Jane finally met and fell in love.....any chance of that???

    ReplyDelete
  27. I will buy you wooden decorative blocks and couples snuggies as a wedding gift when you 2 realize you belong together.

    ReplyDelete
  28. Did I really just spend 30 min's of my life reading this?!?!?! OMG..... Get a life guy! I just wasted some of mine:-(

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think the real question here is why it would take you 30 minutes to read 3 short blog posts. We're here to help, person who is too afraid to post under any identifiable name.

      Delete
    2. It took you 30 MINUTES to read that???? Wow, there's no hope for you then. Eli is funny and smart and has brightened the world up for a lot of us, just because you don't have a sense of humor, don't diss his!

      Delete
  29. Dude, look up the wedding announcements in your local newspaper's archives for someone named Beth. Local number? Yeah. Then marry her ("Jane").

    ReplyDelete
  30. It's Monday.
    It's Snowing (I live in Canada).
    I needed something safe and uncontaminated to make me laugh.
    And then.... I found YOU!
    You nailed it. (and thanks Pinterest).
    Your "Snuggie Texts" series were better than Napolean Dynamite.
    You kept me from accomplishing my lengthy procrastination list for the past half hour AND something I rarely do... evoked in me a desire to COMMENT :)
    Nice work, Eli, nice work.
    :)

    ReplyDelete
  31. So I'm at work, nothing to do, (procrastinating studying for my finals, actually) and I find the "Snuggie Texts." Bravo! I actually drug my supervisior into my office to read it! We shared a good laugh and with further investigation into your brilliant blog, laughed a whole lot more! Thanks for being funny and sharing! You have brought smiles to people's faces today!
    =)

    ReplyDelete
  32. I might have missed it, because I haven't read all of the Snuggie Texts blogs word for word, but I'm really curious what gift Jane ended up getting Beth!

    I HOPE you asked Jane if you could send Beth and her husband some embroidered snuggies and followed through...

    ReplyDelete
  33. Your blog definitely tickles my fancy.
    I read the snuggie text account just 2 months ago (as I am a newly returned missionary) but didn't bother reading the rest of your blog until last week when my cousin shared it with me....
    I'm so glad I have so much time to waste. Also, instead of saying "So, i've been reading 'It Just Gets Stranger'..." i've just started calling it "time with Eli." So much easier to say. And everyone I know knows what I'm talking about.
    win-win-win.
    Welp, bye!

    ReplyDelete
  34. I think that this would be Fabulous if this "Jane" revealed herself. She could have so much fun if everyone knew who she was. That is if her sense of humor is as good as Eli's

    ReplyDelete
  35. So I kept getting these e-mails from some eye clinic because whomever was sending them transposed two letters such that the address matched my domain. Since I'm the administrator on my website (but not too tech savvy) the e-mails came to me even though that address wasn't set up on my account. At first it was just mildly annoying, but then I began getting multiple e-mails each week. I sent an e-mail asking them to be more careful and correct the address error (this went on over the course of several months - did they not notice that the lady they thought they were e-mailing never responded?).

    I stopped getting e-mails for a while and then they began again and they were asking for my input putting together some sort of important marketing seminar for all their clients. So naturally I replied and insisted that we have snuggies made up for all attendees with "our" logo (I actually suggested a few really good new logos and some funny ones because their actual logo sucked). I tried to set up a fake e-mail account so that it would look like the person they had tried to e-mail was replying, but like I said I'm not that tech savvy. I need not have worried - they were totally oblivious that it was me. It ended up progressing similar to Eli's original back and forth, but with an obvious business slant to it. I pushed the snuggy idea and kept suggesting new slogans, meanwhile the original sender was becoming increasingly frantic as the deadline neared and it became apparent that the company had outsourced this marketing job to someone in India. At some point I decided that I didn't want to get sued if they tracked me down or the Indian guy acted on any of my stupid advice, so I let the conversation peter out. I just thought you might be interested to know that your original snuggy story is the gift that keeps on giving.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oops. "logo" should read "slogans".

      Delete
  36. This explanation is how I took Jane and your interaction to be - I was surprised glancing at the comments (if you do media ... just don't read the comments; though, I suppose in your case that's your bread and vegan butter [or could be you know and yes! I said it and here's why http://MeatVideo.com. Note: I oversaw the majority of these undercover investigations).

    I did not expect people to have thought you were either being mean or any of the things interpreted about Jane.

    So, ... you live in the same area. Meet already! I'll do a news release for you pro bono and pitch it to the media outlets. I'm serious. It'd be a fun project as opposed to what I normally work on. If interested hit me up via the website linked to my name.

    Hooray for Jane and Eli.

    ReplyDelete