Thank-You Notes

[Top of the Year to you, my pirates, thugs and whores! (And in the case of two of you, all three at once!) I haven't seen you since last year! (I get one week for the "See you next year/haven't seen you since last year" joke, so refrain from hating!)
I have missed you! Of course, dont' be picking out china patterns, as I also miss Alf, creativity and parachute pants. (Did they rule, or what?)

I trust you had a productive holiday season. I know I did. Added with my birthday (on December 31st, in case you forgot and want to even now send presents/donate to paypal/email me naked pictures and/or coupons for free boxes of cereal), I had quite the haul too!

In fact, that's what I'm doing this weekend: writing thank you notes. This is something all of us should do, and accordingly, I pulled out a column from four years ago with a handy "fill in the blank" "do it yourself" "choke to death on quoatation marks" thank you note. Feel free to use it on your friends and family. Also have fun rolling your eyes at the topical humor. There's even a "Bennifer" joke! Regular columns will return on Monday, and until then remember: I'm a size 6. -H]

the Hyperion Chronicles

“Dedicated to getting Bil Keane to add a second ‘L’ to his name”

#275 Much Thanks

Like most of you, I’m saddened this morning—and yes, I’ll admit, extremely depressed—over the news that it’s now officially over for Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez. Obviously I’m not alone in doing a lot of soul searching today, wondering if there really is a point to it all. But, it is incumbent upon us to soldier on no matter how dark the world gets, and especially for me, as I have been sanctioned by the Powers That Be with the charge of making you people laugh. (Sort of like Patch Adams, but funny.)

So, with that in mind, I thought I would share with you a creative solution I found to a problem that creeps up every year about this time. I’m talking, of course, about Thank You Notes.

Now, don’t get me wrong; I’m in favor of gratitude. It demonstrates good breeding to formally give thanks, but more than that, it is a sign of a good person if they can be truly thankful for a gift, for the gesture itself, and the thought behind it more than any material windfall.

The problem is that in our digital age, the line gets fuzzy over what constitutes an “official” Thank You. If I thank someone in person when I receive the gift, is that enough? What about if I call them on the phone? Even if you argue that a written confirmation is needed, does email not take care of that?

These are tough questions, unless you belong in my family, where the answer is, “No, no, no, and NO.” It is not simply enough to say thanks, call with thanks, or email. (Skywriting has never been brought up, but one assumes that would be gauche as well.) For my family, it has to be the (hand) written word.

I have balked at this in the past. Partly this stems from my suspicion of why their insistence at the Thank You Note. The official reason is that my extended family desires me to be mannered and polite. I secretly wonder if there is not more to it than that. I believe when one gives a gift, it should be out of altruistic motives, and not because one desires a gift (or thanks) in return. Admittedly, the world doesn’t work this way.

Regardless of my suspicions, though (which are unproven and perhaps unworthy of me), the fact remains that I do agree in principle that writing thank you notes is a GOOD THING. It shouldn’t matter what the other person is demanding; I should be writing them anyway. Should I ever take leave of my senses and produce children, I will make them write thank you notes, not to set up conditions for future booty (an idea which is truly repugnant to me), but because it is the RIGHT THING TO DO.

However, with the exhausting amount of work I put in around the Hyperion Institute—writing this column, looking after the River Midgets, putting on a stage version of Grease starring Gollum—there is no way I can physically write all the personal thank you notes etiquette requires.

Hence my “solution” I referred to earlier: I have written a Choose-What-Applies-To-You Thank You Note. I am so pleased with it; I thought I would share with you, in hopes that you might get motivated to send out your own thank you notes. Obviously you may have to adjust it to fit your life, but you’ll get the gist.


Dear: _______________ [Please check what applies to you]
A) Grandma
B) Aunt
C) Father
D) Sister
E) Hugh Hefner
F) The inmates of Cell Block “D” at San Quentin Correctional Institute
G) Voice #3 in my head

Thank you very much the gift to celebrate:
A) Christmas
B) Hanukkah
C) Kwaana
D) Dinosaur Present Day (featuring T-Rex)
E) Festivus
F) My parole release
G) Good Times, C’mon (Yahoo!)

I cannot tell you how pleased I was to receive:
A) Cash
B) Gift Certificates
D) A giant life-sized tiger
E) A statue with a lady with a clock where her stomach ought to be
F) Moon Sand
G) The collected works of Joey Lawrence (Whoa!)

I plan to use this gift to:
A) Buy much needed clothes and shoes
B) End horror as we know it
C) Have little Jeffy on Family Circus whacked
D) Become Lord of all Catan
E) Stop the unholy alliance between Fitty Cent and Vitamin Water
F) Bring back Troy McClure
G) Re-gift it

It is especially kind of you to think of me, considering:
A) I’m hard to find in the Witness Protection Program
B) I never liked you and used to dream you’d get eaten by pit bulls
C) According to the doctors, you technically “don’t exist”
D) I’m directly responsible for your amputated leg
E) I spent the money for your gift on the 700 Club
F) I’m recently evil
G) When I was 7 I ate all your raspberries

I hope you had a great holiday, and that the New Year finds you:
A) Well
B) Reasonably okay
C) NEVER putting Baby in a corner
D) No longer wearing a feather hat
E) Touring with Menudo
F) Back on your Meds
G) On the run from a gang of Latino hookers

Much Thanks, Best Wishes, and if you ever need me, please remember:
A) I am always here for you
B) I am always here for you, provided you can find me
C) I am not here for you, but nonetheless wish you no specific harm
D) Try being self-reliant for a change, you codependent punk
E) You’re a wizard, Harry!
F) I know what you did last summer
G) Attempt to reach me, and they’ll be dragging the creek for days

January 23, 2004

Thanks to Koz
Thanks to all the gift-givers

Motto Explanation
Bil Keane is the “author” of the Always-Terrible-Never-Good (I’d-Rather-Be-Vasectomized-With-A-Grapefruit-Spoon-Than-Read-It) comic strip Family Circus


Anonymous said...

NEVER putting Baby in a corner

Still cracks me up

Sea Hag said...

The only time I write thank you cards is if I know it will score me mega points with people, specifically parents of boyfriends or teachers who need more encouragement to give me a better grade.