Dear Tell All: Yes, I am one of those people who hand-write old-fashioned 1,000-word letters -- the kind you made fun of in your response to Faithful Correspondent, who feels out of place in the era of terse email communications ("Send/Receive," 7/10/2014). And guess what? There is not one of my many correspondents who isn't thrilled to death to receive my long letters.
For one thing, I write well. My letters are interesting. For another, my writing shows them my interest in them -- my willingness to take the time, spend the postage (no small matter these days).
I also tell friends and family that they do not need to write me in cursive, on good stationery or at great length. I'm perfectly content with a computer-generated printout letter. (Well, maybe not perfectly....)
This is especially true if I've just sent someone a check for a birthday or graduation. Hey, did your mama fail to tell you it's rude not to acknowledge gifts with more than one sentence, texted? Shame on her, as well as you.
The purpose of any communication, like that of any other relationship, is not normally the barest minimum. Marriages would be even briefer than they are now if that were so. In business, maybe. Otherwise, take the time to give some thought to the person you are (or, sadly, are not) relating to. Is the message you want to convey "I really don't give a flying f--- about you?"
Don't Think Courtesy Ever Goes Out of Style
Dear Don't: You sound like a time traveler from 1952. You apparently yearn for a world where stamps still cost 11 cents, where divorce is still unheard of, and where hyphens still mask the last three syllables of "fuck."
If you want to live your life writing polite letters on stationery, Don't, feel free. What concerns me is how quick you are to say "shame on you" to those of us who inhabit the perfectly normal 2014 world of texting and email. That's not a very polite sentiment to communicate even on a piece of stationery, IMHO.
Do you have a question about life or love in Madison? Write Tell All, 101 King St., Madison, WI, 53703. Or email firstname.lastname@example.org.