JEFF PEARLMAN

Coming October 2022: "The Last Folk Hero: The Life and Myth of Bo Jackson"

Thank You Notes

Thank you!
Thank you!

My son recently turned 7. We had a party at our house. Kids came. Cake. Football them. Gifts. Good times.

As everyone left, the boy thanked each guest.

“Thank you for the shirt.”

“Thank you for the car.”

“Thank you for the gift card.”

So why, afterward, does he need to write thank you notes?

I know—manners. It’s the right thing to do. Courtesy. Decency. Blah, blah. Still, why? Literally, he thanked every person as he/she left. One by one by one. And we certainly haven’t received any thank you notes from them—grateful jottings of being invited to such a swell shindig. Not that we should. They departed, and thanked us. They departed, and we thanked them. Good enough.

And yet, in suburbia 2013, one’s a jerk for not sending thank you notes. Even though no one actually reads the notes. Even though, without delay, they’re quickly tossed in the nearest recycling bin. Even though, these days, half the notes are pre-written, fill-in-the-blank cards that already say, “THANK YOU FOR THE ______________. I LOVED IT. ___________ IS A GOOD FRIEND. I HOPE HE HAD A NICE TIME. LOVE, _____________.”

Useless.

So, no, my son has yet to thank you for the robot. He loved it. He told you he loved it. He’s probably playing with it as we speak.

Either that, or we’ll re-gift it at Jimmy’s party next weekend.