Thursday, May 19, 2011

Fine Paper - The Ever Incorruptible



Linguists like to approach their language of choice much like a Biologist will approach her species of choice - it's a living, breathing thing. Each word, like each animal, has ancestors that came before it and will have offspring that come after. And thus a language evolves - a quick glance through something even as recent as a Dickens novel will present some problems of translation while Chaucer presents us with downright gobbledygook.

G Lalo Cards & Envelopes

Part of this is the death of old words and the birth of new ones, again, just like animals. But this process isn't so quick and easy, animals generally fade away into obscurity, from abundance to endangered to gone. And so words fall by the wayside - from proper, to a corrupted use, to gobbledygook. This is fine where words can be easily replaced but there's one word we take for granted which is highly endangered of becoming a joke...thanks.


Think about it - thanks - what should be our most sincere expression of gratitude, our last bastion of thoughtful, intimate communication, has been withered down to a meaningless interjection. Heck, I thank people when I'm doing them a favour; if i searched my Mail program for the word 'thanks' that rainbow coloured cog would probably spin for all eternity.


And the problem I have with 'thanks' in its present form is that there is no other level to go to without sounding a bit like a pratt...i sincerely bestow upon you my gratefulness - i appreciate your kindness with alacrity...language is all about communicating things concisely, not having to sound like a struggling Shakespearean Thespian.


So are we to forever remain stuck with a thoughtless platitude? No - we can't be - where the language may fail us, the format can save us. The Thank You Note. The hand written card. It's not about some plea to nostalgia, some novel retrogression - it's the proper thing to do! I don't mean to sound like a fascist and I don't mean to hurt anybody's feelings, but if somebody does you a favour, you should thank them properly.


It's not hard, it's thoughtful. It's personal and it shows you care. If I email you 'thanks' you may infer sincerity but you're much more likely to just assume I was umming and ahhing in my mind. But if I write you by hand on a really beautiful card, sealed in a really beautiful envelope, it's unequivocal. You'll remember it, you'll know I meant it and I'll get some brownie points.



You can have fun with it - you can try your violet ink on a cream card stock, you can use your Reseda Green on the Florentine envelope above because it'll match the green part of the design and in so doing, you'll show that you care. I always struggle with how people can worry so much about the colours they wear and adorn their house with but then just settle for boring blue on shabby white when they have something to say...


Anyway, I digress, the point is that if you mean it, if you want to be sincere, there's only one avenue left for you - the ever incorruptible, unmistakably thoughtful, endearingly personal hand written note.

3 comments:

  1. Wonderfully written as always. I agree wholeheartedly.

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  2. YES, YES, YES!!! I taught my girls to write thank you notes, and they saw me write them, even now. They can't use any excuse, because they KNOW I have a plethora of cars and types of stationery.

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