The Digital Age comes with its own problems, real and virtual: social, romantic, sexual, practical, parental. More than ever we need a good old-fashioned agony aunt for the Internet Age who will tell us how to navigate these new waters. Unfortunately, we only have Electra, who doles out her brand of Greek advice with a kick. Got a virtual problem? Ask Electra and brave her total honesty: firstname.lastname@example.org
Permit me to inform you of my desire of going into business relationship with you. I got your name and contact from an international brochure because I do not know any body I will contact. I prayed over it and believed that you will be a reputable and trust worthy person that I can trust and do business with, I must not hesitate to confide in you for this simple and sincere business assistance. I am David Moya the only son of late Mr. and Mrs. Richard Mabel Moya of blessed memory. My father until his untimely death was a very wealthy cocoa merchant in West Africa ; my father was poisoned to death by his business associates on one of their outings on a business trip to our cocoa plantation in Abidjan a neighboring country from my country West Africa . My mother died when I was a baby and since then my father took me so special. Before the death of my father on 16th November 2005 in a private hospital in Accra Ghana he secretly called me on his bed side and told me that he has the sum of Eight Million, Five Hundred Thousand United State Dollars USD ($8,500, 000.00) he deposited with a private security firm in Spain, which he used my name his only son as the next of Kin in depositing of the money with the private security firm in Spain. The security firm is not aware that the box contains money and my father warned me to keep this as a top secret till I get a reliable foreigner that will assist me get the box out as his foreign partner. Please, I am sincerely seeking your assistance in the following ways: (1) to assist me claim the box containing the money from the security company as my late father’s foreign partner. (2) To serve as a guardian of this fund. (3) To make arrangement for me to come over to your country to further my education and to secure a resident permit in your country because I cannot go back to my country till I am a full grown man. Moreover, sir I will like you to tell me what you will take from the total sum as compensation for your effort/input after the successful release and transfer of this fund into your bank account in your country. Please you should indicate your interest towards assisting me by writing me an email or give me a call on my contact above as I believe that this transaction would be concluded within seven days (7) days you signify interest to assist me. Please keep this proposal confidential. Should you have interest to asist me, please relpy via: email@example.com Thanks and God bless. Best regards, David Moya
Dear David Moya,
First of all, thank you for addressing me as “Sir.” It gives me a sense of gravitas that “Dear Electra” simply lacks. I should also say that I was thrilled to learn you found my name in an “international brochure.” As a struggling writer I’ve spent years complaining to my friends that it is simply impossible to get my name “out there,” so this news was encouraging. Unless, of course, there were also pictures of me on that brochure, taken with Randall’s camera phone that night with the whip-its, though the creep promised me my face wouldn’t appear in any of them, but enough about that.
As for your problem, I would be happy to assist you with the sum of Eight Million Dollars, if you promise me you will assist yourself with some soul-searching. Ask yourself what your message is really about, David Moya. Would you spend a paragraph and a half talking to a stranger about your childhood if the latter hadn’t been filled with trauma? Can we put aside the Eight Million Dollars for a second, and focus on that heart-wrenching line of “my mother died when I was a baby”? How did that feel, David Moya? Did you feel abandoned? Did you feel like a motherless child? Did you feel like all the money in the world, and more specifically eight million dollars, was just not enough to fill the hole your mother left right here, David Moya? I’m pointing at my chest, David Moya—the one you’ve probably already seen in Randall’s pictures—and it is an amazing chest, it would probably make you feel much better, but I’m really talking about your heart here. You say your father “took you so special” and I don’t know what you mean by that because it is grammatically incorrect, but you also say he was a wealthy cocoa merchant and to me that says he always put work first and you second. You were left alone a lot as a child, weren’t you David Moya? Raised by strict nannies and gardeners, and probably a chauffeur, in a large mansion in Ghana. Did you have a secret garden, I wonder, David Moya, a special place where you went and wept, and looked up in the sky and whispered, “Why, Mommy? Why did you leave me?" Poor, poor little David Moya. And here you are now, an adult, responsible of your father’s great fortune, when what you really need is to feel that someone will take care of you—because you’ve never really felt that, have you?
Here is what I want you to do. I want you to write a long, honest letter to that child in the secret garden, and send it to me. Tell him that he will be all right. Tell him that you are the one who will take care of him. Tell him you love him. It is you that he needs the most.
And we’ll take it from there, David Moya.