Thank You

It is so easy to say “thank you” and it makes you look like a cultured, nice person. Except sometimes, one’s gratitude can be nauseating. Take, for example, an award presentation like the Oscars. A performer who is a first time winner flies off the handle when her name gets called. It starts with shock, then recognition of what has just happened and, finally, it morphs into panic. That’s because she never expected to win and was not prepared with a simple, yet elegant thank you speech. Instead, you get a rambling on, stream of conscious listing of anyone who ever had a part in the making of the honoree’s success. If she could only remember, she would even mention the name of the person who diapered her when she was a baby.

After what seems like five painful minutes to the listening audience, the award winner realizes that she has made a fool of herself and proceeds to make a bad thing worse. It takes two or three others to drag her off the stage.

Then there are the athletes who get interviewed in the locker room after a great performance. Before they will answer any question thrown at them by a reporter, they have to thank their personal deity for making them the success that they are. It makes you wonder if there is a game going on up in Heaven between all the celestial honchos and the best and strongest are able to overcome the others and help their personal running back or point guard on Earth.

I once attended a fundraiser banquet which was honoring no less than three people who were contributors to the organization. Each honoree had a personal presenter who spoke about their accomplishments and why they deserved to be recognized. After the first two presenters spoke, the honoree then proceeded to tell his own jokes and bore everyone about how humble he was and appreciative for being so recognized.

Ninety minutes into this, the third fellow’s presenter got his chance to go on and on about the person to whom he would hand off a plaque. Finally, that last honoree came to the podium, took the award, stepped in front of the microphone and simply said, “thank you” and walked off. He received a two minute standing ovation.

Giving thanks is really the same as admitting that somebody did something for you and that you owe them. Sometimes a person has to swallow hard to admit that they are in debt to someone else. No one likes to admit when they are wrong, either.

One time I gave candy to a kid while visiting his house to see his father. The boy took it and started to walk away, but then turned around and came back to me. I smiled because I thought he was going to thank me. Instead, he said, “Does this have peanuts in it?” I told him that it didn’t so he then said, “okay” and walked away.

I’ve been to weddings and other celebrations where I’ve been obligated to give a gift. Usually I make it a monetary award in the guise of a check. I guess I don’t give enough to for it to be a considerable present because it is rare now that I get a ‘thank you’ card. Recently I bumped into a fellow who has been married for two years. I could not attend his wedding but made an effort to go to a store where he was listed in the bridal registry. I bought several glassware items for him and his bride. I mentioned the fact that he never sent a thank you card. He looked at me as if I was being rude by bringing it up. Didn’t get an apology either.

Hey, if you got this far into the story- thank you.

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