The holiday season kicks off with the holiday walk, and just a few weeks ago I may have seen you through the window at Grand Appliance. Still riding high from the outpouring of joy on Madison, I am now in the special time of year where panic and procrastination meet.
Spent the evening in the window dressed as an elf creating front-page news stories by drawing pictures of visitors who stopped by the window and writing headlines with the publisher, Dan Haley. We then posted our creations on the Grand Appliance refrigerators behind us.
At the end of the evening, there were three wonderful children, Madelyn, Kylee and Kalia, who wanted the glory of being on the inside of the window, drawing their own front-page stories. Kylee, who is 6, took the time to write a note on her front page and, even at a young age, used a salutation.
A salutation is a greeting — or a closure — the open and close of an interaction. It is a secret code we use to say, “I am a human and you are too.” It is a “Hello,” a “Greetings” a “Hey,” a “Good day,” and at the end a “Thank you,” a “Sincerely,” a “Regards.” When engaging in an exchange, it is customary to take a moment to let the person with whom you are interacting know that you are not an animal by using a salutation, a password that opens the door for your message to be heard.
Most commonly we humans open with “Hi,” or my favorite which I picked up from Jerry Lordan, “Hello, Friends.” It’s a way of establishing a base of humanity.
So if you’re sending an email, writing a note, sending a holiday card, or talking to a person, pull out a “hello,” or use one of the seasonally relevant “Happy Holidays,” or “Merry Christmas,” or “Seasons Greetings,” or perhaps “Festivus for the rest of us.”
If you kick off your email straight into your demand or express your painful desires, or air your dirty laundry, pro tip: Do not expect the recipient to hear you if you choose to refrain from a salutation. It’s like a doorbell.
Let’s face it, if you are one of these salutation-lacking people, you are a victim, a hurt animal inexperienced in managing your own heartache, always searching for a place to park your pain. After all, you are the king of anguish and a fractured soul, too damaged to dig up the decency of a salutation.
Perhaps you take your damage to the road, and rage your way through intersections and parking lots, expecting the rest of us to heal your grief. Well, ’tis the season to raise your aluminum pole up and wave your flag of injustice for all to see. I’ll park near Adams and avoid you on Madison, plan to have a little more time to get to my errands — I know you are out there, and expect to see you blocking the intersection as you had to make the turn, even though there is no space for you.
We see your flag and are grateful. What a privilege it is to be like Kylee, and to be able to greet humanity with joy, friends and to see the blessing of simply not being you.