Of the stories told us by our mother, our favorite is the one about thank-you notes. After her marriage to my father-who is the same man to whom she is currently married, in case you find a family without divorces confusing-she had to write thank-you notes for their wedding gifts. We’re sure she tried her best to fulfill her societal duty, but Mom is always in a hurry to get to more important matters. As she tells the tale, upon proofreading her notes, she discovered that, instead of writing, “Thank you for the lovely pink blanket. It will remain one of our most treasured possessions,” she had hurriedly written, “Thank you for the lovely pink possession.”

Tempted as we are to mass-produce notes reading “Thank you for the lovely (fill in appropriate adjective) possession,” we have instead signed ourselves up for the River Forest Public Library’s Thank You Note Workshops, conveniently scheduled for Wednesday, Dec. 27, and Thursday, Dec. 28, from 1 to 4 p.m. (366-5205). The drop-in program offers materials and design ideas for all ages. We’re hoping it also offers moral support. We always feel that our brain is getting dragged down into the slow-motion oobleck of idiocy when we try to write thank-you notes. “Thank you for the lovely ceramic possession. It will remain one of our most breakable treasures.”

We’re having a hard time this Christmas. We keep thinking of Karl Marx’s assertion that religion is the opiate of the masses. It seems as likely as any other explanation of the universe-that some mysterious source created a universal drug that annually causes us to over-stimulate the economy in a desperate attempt to engender good will. And then the hangover shames us into thinking that we have to write cute notes in response.

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