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Faux Outrage

Literally the most important blog in the universe since 2010.

[clinking glass with fork]

Everyone!

[clinking glass with fork]

Everyone, please.

[clinking glass with fork]

Please quiet down.  Thank you, yes, yes, thank you.

Thank you.

Thanks.

I have an announcement to make.

Fair warning: What I am about to say will almost certainly upset some people.

However!

I feel it is my duty to declare once and for all that we are done with hand-written boilerplate “Thank You” notes.

Dear X,

Thank you so much for the wonderful Y.  It’s just what I needed.  It was so great seeing you at [time/location/event]…I just wish we could have spent more time together.  Hope to see you soon!  Thanks again.

Warm regards,
Z

Let’s stop this, okay?

It’s over.

It’s not over because thanking people is no longer en vogue, so before I’m accused of suggesting that putting effort into thanking someone for a generous gift (or anything, really) is a bridge too far, allow me to offer this preemptive strike: Thanking people should be about thanking people.  That’s it.  Pomp and/or circumstance completely unnecessary.

Period.

Exclamation point!

Semi-colon;

There was a time when we physically wrote thank you notes because it was the most cost-effective and most reasonable way to send a message of thanks.  It used to make sense.  How do you get in touch with your Aunt Rita in Oregon and Uncle Clay in Arizona?  Why you send them a letter, of course!

In those days (“Ye Olden Days”), phone conversations were magnitudes more expensive than a postage stamp, and other communication technologies (e.g., email, texting, sexting*) had not yet been invented.  We were beholden to the interests of the Big Ink and Big Paper and Big Stamp lobbies.  What other choice did we have?

Then suddenly, technology.

Hope.

Change.

Spam.

Slightly less hope.

Today, we are able to freely communicate with excruciating speed.  I say “excruciating” because our ability to connect with loved ones (and just plain regular ones) puts us in the permanent awkward position of never really having a legitimate excuse for watching a relationship disappear into the ether.  In the time it used to take to find a booklet of stamps in your junk drawer, you can now send an emoticon-infested email to your best friend from grade school, high school and college.

The times they did a’change.

And yet even today, we continue to hand-write our thank yous.

Why is that?

It seems to me that we continue to do this precisely because it is the least cost-effective and most unreasonable method of communication.  The value of a hand-written note is now almost entirely tied up in the amount of time and energy expended by note-writer.  The mere fact that we are certain the message could have been communicated cheaply and more efficiently somehow makes the painstaking hand-written message more heartfelt, more meaningful.

Like a hand-made rug or non-IVF pregnancy, we are socially required to be more impressed by an activity done slowly but effectively versus that same action completed quickly and accurately using available technology.

Hand-written thank you notes had a good run — they really did!  A supurb, Jackie Joyner Kersee-style good run.  But like Ms. J-K, they have completely and heroically fulfilled their obligations to society and it is probably time to move on.   Recall fondly those times you spent sitting ass-glued to a chair fountain-penning cliche after cliche as you tuck those tiny fancy envelopes and your “special occasions” pen away in your memory bank alongside the Discman, Trapper Keeper, and those always-expensive-but-never-quite-operational Hypercolor t-shirts.

If nothing else — since I don’t see my anti-note movement getting AquaTred-style traction — please interpret this blog post as an invitation put down the pen and paper if you’re ever considering writing me a thank you note.

If you ever slip up and send one to me, I will be upset.  As I read your chickenscratch, I will obsess over the pain you are almost certainly feeling in your hand as you wrote it.  My hand, in solidarity, will begin to ache.  I will imagine you struggling to remain calm, teeth grinding, as your words begin to fall off the x-axis.  I will imagine you sitting at your kitchen table completely frustrated that you’re missing The Daily Show for this.

I will imagine you did not read my blog!

Call me.

Email me.

Skype me.

Text me.

Let’s talk.

Just do not send me a thank you note.

Thank you.

* I do not condone Brett Favreing your thank yous.
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