Putting The Attitude In Gratitude: A Story In Three Thank-You Notes

Jun 10, 2011

Dear CNN,

Thank you for telling us, in a recent story, when to send a thank-you note by email and when to send one by snail mail. You snarkfully instructed us to send a handwritten card when we get a present in the mail; an email when we receive a gift in person. And both — an email, then a card — after a job interview. And thank you, thank you for reminding us to never offer personal thanks in a public Facebook message. Nobody "likes" that.

Dear New York Times,

Thank you for your list of "Don'ts for June Brides" in a story that appeared in the spring of 1912 — 99 years ago. For a century or more you have been a sentinel of cultural certitude. The exhortations could well have been posted on your website today. "Don't fail to write your own notes," you told brides back then. "The habit some girls have of shifting this responsibility to their bridesmaids is rude." And "Don't gauge your gratitude by the value of the gift sent. Nothing more quickly shows lack of breeding. Besides, it is stupid..."

Dear Leah Dieterich,

Thank you for writing your ThxThxThx blog. You have taken the rumpled old thank-you note and removed the wrinkles with a piping hot irony. You said you write thank-you notes because your mother taught you to. You should write your mother a thank-you note for helping you stumble on a clever way to comment on contemporary life.

Congratulations also on your new book, derived from your blog. And on the many thank-you notes inside, like this one:

Dear Printed Reading Material, Thanks for having an end. The internet doesn't have one, so I never know when to stop. All the best, Leah.

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