He's got an hilariously snarky point of view. Choire Sicha, the NYTimes Styles desk editor who is working his way through a three-month stint as the newspaper's "Work Friend," columnist, admits that he has only two to four ideas about life and that none of them are particularly original. That said, he notes that "Somehow long-running advice columnists, or really any kind of regular columnist or other Pez dispenser of thoughts, can reiterate their ideas for months or decades."
I thought about that commentary as I was reminded, yet again, of my replies to a sore that wont seem to heal for many grandparents: When they give their grandchildren gifts, they do not receive appropriate thank you notes from them. By "appropriate," most of the complainants seem to mean that a text or email will not do. They want a written note. I have posted my two-to-four thoughts on this issue here and here and a few other places.
And now I get to do it again, backed this time by the reliable Philip Galanes, the light-touch behind Social Q's.
Here's what his complainant had to say:
My teenage grandchildren have never sent us a thank-you note for any present we’ve given them. My husband and I are thinking of teaching them a lesson by skipping Christmas gifts this year. Thoughts?
Unless you believe your grandchildren can read minds, wouldn’t it be a more useful lesson to ask them for thank-you notes? I’m sorry that you and your husband feel underappreciated. But if the kids’ parents never insisted they write notes, and you never asked for them, how were your grandchildren to know?
If you expect thank-you notes, or if they are the price of admission for future gifts, tell your grandchildren. And you may as well specify whether email or text messages will suffice.
I couldn't say it any better and have tried. We live in a digital world, and it's a lot less formal than the good old days of personalized note cards and prized penmanship. Thank you notes--verbal, digital or hand crafted--are all welcome at our household.
If your grandkids don't respond to the request for a Thanks and you've set your priorities, well, then let the withholding begin. But remember this line from Dorothy Parker: "And if that makes you happy kid/You'll be the first it ever did."