Under orders from my lovely wife, I am working on expressing my gratitude. I'm a writer. How hard could it be?

Why, Thank You
"Under orders from my lovely wife, I am working on expressing my gratitude. I'm a writer. How hard could it be? " – Rick Bragg
| Credit: Ralph Anderson

My wife tells me I do not write enough thank-you notes, which means I am ill-mannered and probably a philistine. To prod me toward better behavior, she bought some nice stationery, which I said makes me look like a girl but she said to just hush. So here goes:

Dear Mr. Airline Executive:
Any airline can pick people up and set them down. I want you to know how much I appreciate your efforts to prolong that experience by extending a 30-minute flight into a 7-hour nirvana. In this hurly-burly world, couldn't we all use more time to reflect in sumptuous airport Naugahyde? The reason for this gift of time is not important. We were told the plane was in perfect flying order but the weather was a tad warm, and a pilot simply could not be found who was willing to sit in that stuffy cockpit for what you pay him, which is said to be about minimum wage. This delay made some passengers (philistines) testy. I myself do not want to be flown around by a sweaty pilot. Yuck.
Once aboard, you still had our comfort in mind, providing not a big, wasteful cabin but an itty-bitty one, with seats designed for a Cabbage Patch doll and belts better suited as a collar for a cocker spaniel. Then, after landing, you did not hurry us off the plane but allowed us to decompress while you searched for a ramp operator who had not yet been laid off—to increase the profits you richly deserve.

A Guy Waiting on a Train

Dear Mr. Satellite Television Service Operator:
How are things in Rawalpindi? This is just a note to say "thanks" for your efforts, though in vain, to get my satellite television service back on here in Fairhope, Alabama, before football season. I appreciate the upgrade to high definition and three months of free HBO, which unfortunately expired about the time we figured out the real problem was a water oak in the way—that, or a poplar. It's a botanical garden out there.
I would ask you to cut down the obstacle but, since the satellite company outsourced most of its payroll, this is unreasonable. I cannot expect you to lug a chain saw thisfar. Besides, since a 30-minute flight now takes seven hours, your trip from Central Asia would, if my math is right, take roughly 15 years.

May peace be with you, and Roll Tide.

Dear Mr. Fancy Restaurant Owner:
Thank you, from the bottom of my growling innards, for the delicious spoonful of dinner you created in your elegant establishment. The morsel you prepared was exquisite, better than the Whopper with cheese I picked up on the way home. Dessert, likewise, was to die for. Who knew a chocolate shaving and a single blueberry could mingle in such a satisfying way. I cannot wait to feast there again, or maybe I will just lick another stamp.

The Eppicuri…Epicunari…Oh, To Heck with It

Dear Mr. Telemarketer:

Thank you for informing me I won a Caribbean cruise, need an extended warranty on my car, qualified for a low monthly rate, can purchase inexpensive life insurance without a physical, am urged to donate to a policeman's society that will send me a sticker that is NO guarantee I will get out of a ticket, and, buon giorno, am invited on an Italian adventure…
A dozen times a day I reach for the phone thinking it might be a friend or family. How relieved I am to learn "while there is nothing currently wrong with [my] accounts, [I] am strongly urged to call 1-555-FEARMONGER" for "a new credit opportunity."

Your Conscience