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Signs Of Life

Columns by Pamela Majteles

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Posted by pam on January 14, 2011 at 10:53 pm

Originally published October 1, 2010

Reprinted with permission from Bay Area News Group – East Bay

I try to choose my words carefully, no matter what the occasion. Whether I’m responding to an Evite for a child’s birthday, ladies’ night-out or swanky soiree, I ponder what to write in the comment box that accompanies my reply.

I’d prefer to simply click “Yes ” and be done with it. But invited guests have the option of including a comment and, because everyone does it, you run the risk of appearing less than enthusiastic if you opt out. The lyrics “every party has a pooper” come to mind. (“And that’s why we invited you.”)

So I furrow my brow and consider what to write. Like everyone else, I read the comments of others, not just because I’m nosy, but I might pick up some ideas. For example, I could go over the top with good manners, like one guest who writes: “Thank you for the invitation. I’ll be there. Thank you again.”

Maybe I could even take it a step further by adding yet another “thank you”. Three of a kind beats two of a kind. But that seems a bit showy. I certainly want to be polite, but I’m more comfortable being understated. Perhaps I’ll go with a simple “Thanks” somewhere in my comment.

Many guests throw around the exclamation point, something else I can’t see myself doing. The comments vibrate with “I can hardly wait!” and “I’m so excited!” and “How fun!” Probably the last time I used exclamation points with such abandon was back in middle school, when signing friends’ yearbooks with messages like “Stay cute!” and “I’ll never forget you!” and “Don’t ever change!”

But I don’t think I can carry it off anymore. (The same is true with the Dorothy Hamill haircut I wore back then.) I’d like to convey enthusiasm, but I’d tone it down a bit. No attention grabbing punctuation. I could let my words do the talking, such as “It sounds like fun”. Period.

When you come right down to it, all the guests’ comments end up sounding pretty much the same, because there are only so many ways you can say, “Yep, I’m coming.” I have to resist my own impulse to try and come up with something original. At a minimum, I don’t want to write exactly what the other guy does.

So I review the comments carefully. I note a handful of “Looking forward to it”. I also see “It’s on my calendar” and “I’m planning on it”. And the perennial “I’ll be there with bells on!”

It looks like all the standards are taken already. When that happens, I resort to the common practice of Evite guests, which is to take what others have written and alter it ever so slightly, by changing the word order or punctuation.

I mull it a little more before finally deciding what to write. Perhaps not “I’ll be there with bells on!” But “I’ll be there with bells on.” Period.

And “Thanks”.

Creative Commons License This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.5 License.

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