Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Sticker shock

Last week the girls got some mail. Mail isn't as interesting as it once was, I think – it's 90% catalog and credit card offers, no matter how many Do Not Solicit lists I put us on – and 9.5% bills and other important but uninteresting items, and only a smidgen% (yes, that's an actual mathematical number) worthy of a second glance.

So last week the girls got some mail, of the smidgen variety, and I got nervous because before we even opened it up, I noticed that written on the envelope was an apology to me.

Hand-addressed mail for minors that requires a pre-emptive apology to their guardian: that's intriguing, isn't it?

It was a chain letter.

Their first chain letter! Awwww. (Cue the milestone tears.)

Remember chain letters? As I recall they were one of three formulas:

-pass this on because if you don't you're breaking the chain! And we're just months from setting a world record!
-pass this on to people you like/love/think are cute otherwise you will have seven years of bad luck (in general/in love)
-pass this on because there are sick and dying children somewhere and somehow your mail helps their plight

Were chain letters invented by the postal service?

I remember when I was in elementary school I thought chain letters were exciting. Soon I'd be receiving post cards from all over the world! The post cards never materialized, though, and I'm sure that's because nobody had computers, then, and you had to write out your seven copies by hand, on lined paper, with pencil, and I had practiced my handwriting enough for that day, and I never made it through seven copies, and maybe sent two out at best, and that's about as good as anybody did.

Chain letters brought a mix of obligation and dread. Adding in guilt and superstition never helped, either. Thank goodness my life has turned out okay in spite of my chain letter perpetuation laxity of yore.

Luckily, with the next generation we find convenient modifications. First, nobody's copying anything in longhand anymore. The letter was computer-generated, and came with a clean copy for photocopying. The doom-and-gloom curses are gone, replaced with a very P.C. phrase about "telling your mom to let my mom know if you can't participate, because it's not fair to the kids who are waiting for their mail!" And the mail they're waiting for?

Stickers.


And we all know, stickers are way better than some nebulous promise of luck, even if L will probably stick them all over the windows. I got to photocopying.

The girls started making their lists and began arguing over whom to mail with their letters. So I established two quick rules:

1) Every letter that goes out will be co-signed E&L because what if one kid's incoming stickers were fewer or less cool than the other kid's? They have to split the bounty.
2) There was no real need to limit ourselves to the suggested invitation amount. We mailed and mailed and mailed. What's the worst that could happen? Wasted stamps. But the best? More stickers!

I do owe a return apology to the mom who started this (Hi, Ellen!). We didn't get our letters out in the required week's time. Please assure your lovely daughter that what we haven't had sent to her in timely manner, we're making up for in quantity.

I've never been great at following other people's rules, but on the plus side, I just helped my girls set up their first pyramid scheme.

Anybody want an invitation to the sticker club?

::::::::::
An invitation two ways (on repeat through the end of the week because I don't want to miss anybody):

-If you enjoy my blog (and since you're here, may I presume that you do?), would you consider 'liking' it on Facebook?
-If you already landed here via my personal Facebook page, would you follow the link above and like the blog's page? I'm going to discontinue the syndication feed on my personal page at the end of this week, but you can already find it on the FB blog page.

This blog's Facebook page is new and not very developed yet, but I have a lot of ideas for continuing the conversations that begin in the comments here in greater depth over there. I'd love to have you join us.

Muchas gracias, friends.

(This message will self-destruct at the end of the week.)
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