Jay-Z, are you reading me?

Using ReadNotify software, a fan who constantly emails Jay-Z says he's sure that the star is reading all his missives -- some more than once.

RocNation Screenshot: Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

Sadness and hope often hold hands, but the latter can never decide whether she can make the former happy.

This story is either sad or strangely hopeful. Either way, it's also missing a couple of facts.

For this is the story of David Johnson, who believes that Jay-Z reads his emails.

In a moving telling to BuzzFeed, Johnson says he has sent at least 262 e-mails to Jay-Z and that he believes Jay-Z is reading them.

At least, he thinks he's sending them to Jay-Z.

Johnson, who once campaigned mightily to get a chance in the NBA -- a quest documented by the New York Times -- won't reveal how he got hold of the rapper's email address.

Yet he claims that the ReadNotify software he uses informs him when his e-mails are opened. The software, he says, has told him that the location data he gets coincides with that of Jay-Z's tour or traveling schedule.

Johnson's e-mails are reportedly personal, a one-way self-expression sent in the belief that one of the most famous people in the world is actually listening.

"If someone says it's weird or creepy, I say they're not trying hard enough in life," Johnson, a 27-year-old from Davis, Calif., told BuzzFeed.

Words like "weird" and "creepy" have taken on far more elastic meaning since the Web turned everyone into cartoon characters.

Is it weird or creepy that Johnson is now trying to put all of the e-mails together and market them as a book? Or is it art?

Is this just another of those people you meet at a party who talks about themselves and then says: "Enough about me. What do YOU think of me?"

Johnson has already self-published some books. In his "Letters to Jay-Z" pitch to a major publisher, the stumbling point was the slight lack of proof that the star is actually reading his missives. So Johnson asked Jay-Z for some kind of response. None came.

Which seems to have caused Johnson to grow dismissive of his hero. He seems let down that the rapper is not someone who lives by his lyrics.

"When it comes to actually stepping forward to help a fellow black man -- he stood silent," Johnson told BuzzFeed.

There is no way of knowing if the e-mail address Johnson is using belongs to Jay-Z. Even if it does, there is, in fact, no way of knowing who might be reading Johnson's e-mails.

They might merely be opened and then discarded. It wouldn't be the first time that software offered false hope, either.

Jay-Z's representatives reportedly won't be drawn about any of this.

But how might Johnson feel if, one day, a new book comes out, with a vast marketing budget behind it.

What if that book is called: "E-mails From A Weird, Weird, Fan"?

What if the author is Jay-Z?

 

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