August 17, 2005

The Neurotic's Guide to Not Writing Thank-You Notes

1. You've all heard that the secret to success is to prepare, prepare, prepare, right, kids?! Well, it's true! It's never too early to prepare for success, success, success!

2. So start early! At least four weeks before your thank-yous need to arrive--

3. What?

4. I can't hear you. What's that, now?

5. --needed to arrive four weeks ago? Like four weeks before now?


7. Go wallow in shame for a few hours. Go, hurry, right now! You've wasted eight weeks as it is! Get back to me when you've finished crying.

8. You really disgust me, you know that?

9. All right, get in the car. We're going card shopping.

10. I know letters are more proper, but how are you going to fill up an entire page to that one relative you scarcely speak to? See, that's what I thought. You really should--what now?

11. "Oh dear sweet heaven above absolutely every card in this store repulses me?"

12. "The Christian ones especially?"

13. Do you know what that means?


15. Oh knock it off. There's no crying in Wal-mart!

16. Maybe just a pack of the little ones that have "Thank You" embossed on the front.

17. I know they're ugly.

18. I know they're just the size of elementary-school party invitations.

19. I know you didn't receive many of those as a little kid.


21. Look, just grab a packet of them and let's get moving. We're already--

22. What?

23. Over the years you've bought so many of these? Uh-huh . . . so--

24. --and you always end up using three of them and losing the rest in the bottom of a drawer somewhere?

25. Where you find them so many years later they look like something from a time capsule?

26. "Something Lileks would put in a book to make fun of"--yes, I see.

27. And then you have to buy new ones all over again?

28. What's your point?

29. "I want real individual cards"--okay. So pick some out.

30. What do you mean, "I can't do this today?"

31. When exactly were you planning on doing it? Another four weeks from now?

32. What do you mean, "Maybe?" That was sarcasm, you asshole!

33. Oh, for--

34. If you're going to keep doing this we might as well pick up some Kleenex while we're here.

35. Not that this furthers our goal at all, or anything.

[Editor's note: Steps 36-62 omitted for brevity.]

63. Did you write those cards yet?

64. I mean, they're right there.

65. "I don't have that one relative's address"--look here, that's what the internet is for.

66. You spend enough time on it, one would think you might know that.

67. What are you doing?

68. Address labels?

69. You want to make address labels. Because . . . ?

70. "I can't write straight without lines." So . . . ?

71. "The address always looks slanted." You're kidding me, right?

72. For fuck's sake, no it is NOT "a serious issue."

73. It's an ADDRESS.

74. Three lines, maybe four. Who cares if they slant a little?

75. "The Post Office will care"--I don't believe this. I'm not hearing this.

76. "I'll care"--okay, finally, some honesty.

77. Could you try not caring? Just to, you know, speed this up a little.

78. Fine.

79. I don't think diskette labels will look right.

80. Particularly not with that little diskette icon at the--fine, okay, I'll help you find the address labels.

81. That's a shipping size label.

82. Hell, no, I don't know why you bought them. Obviously you didn't do it on my recommendation.

83. What is it with you and the crying?

84. You remember now? Remember what?

85. Why you bought them. Uh-huh . . . do I want to hear this?

86. Does it have anything to do with writing thank-you notes?

87. Uh-huh . . . your grandfather's funeral . . . labels for hymn books . . . right, I remember that.

88. You misspelled "hymnal" on them.

89. Here, just--just take the whole box of Kleenex. Honest to--

90. Sure, I guess file folder labels would work.

91. Yeah, see? Those came out great!

92. No?

93. What?

94. Okay yeah, it's a little cut off at the top, but are you sure . . . I mean, do you really need the barcode?

95. You know something? You are an abominably loathsome person, but so help me, I defy anyone to find me another American who cares this much about what the USPS will think of her mail.

96. No, really, it's kind of nice. Just . . . completely counterproductive to the task at hand.

97. So try a lower top margin then.

98. Yeah, the first two come out better that way, but the other four--oh teriffic, now you've got me obsessing about this.

99. Could we just . . . could we just print the labels now?

100. Hmm, yeah, okay . . I guess tweaking the vertical pitch might line up the--

[Editor's note: Steps 101-133 omitted for brevity.]

134. Why are you checking your email?

135. It's late! Everyone's gone to bed already.

136. Everyone NORMAL, I mean.

137. See? No new emails.

138. Of course no one loves you. Do you want to know why?


140. Why are you--no, no, absolutely not, I forbid it.

141. You are not blogging this.

142. So, shame: Do you have any?

143. Guess not.

144. Do you know, in the time you've taken to list all this out, I could have written thank-you letters to the entire population of Rhode Island?

145. Well, no, I can't think of anything particular to thank them for either. That's not the point!

146. The point is, YOU ARE AN ABOMI-

[Editor's note: At this point the critical inner voice was taken out with a swift kick to the head, delivered in the form of a vodka tonic.

The thank-you notes, as of this writing, have been "rescheduled for a more appropriate time," according to our source.

Our source adds that the labels work best with a top margin of 0.58" and the default vertical pitch of 0.67".]

Posted by Ilyka at August 17, 2005 06:50 AM in navel gazing | TrackBack

Hey, Iíve tried to have this same conversation with myself over one tortuous obligation or another but my motherís guilt-inducing voice is always in the mix. You can't torture yourself properly without all of the key elements, Ilyka. A little more practice is in order.

Posted by: Rob at August 17, 2005 11:29 AM

but my motherís guilt-inducing voice is always in the mix

Whose voice do you think that IS, Rob?

Well, I mean, it's not your mother's. But is it my mother's?

I'm not sayin'.

Posted by: ilyka at August 18, 2005 12:22 AM

When this happens to me I tell the husband I need a new printer.

It doesn't usually work but sometimes I get lucky.

Posted by: Margi at August 18, 2005 08:14 AM

USPS? Didn't Bill Gates put that thing out of business a few years back?

Posted by: Jim at August 18, 2005 10:19 AM

Didn't Bill Gates put that thing out of business a few years back?

I have an old-fashioned family, including two grandmothers who ostensibly live peaceful, productive, happy lives without any interference from the internets.

Sometimes I envy them.

Posted by: ilyka at August 18, 2005 10:23 AM