Friday, August 1, 2008

you don't want to read it when...

Any letter that begins with the words "Dear Sir" is not a letter I want to read.

I got one of those letters today. It was from my friends at the Canada Revenue Agency. The letter asks for my charitable donations receipts from previous tax years so they can verify that I have actually given money to charities. They don't want to talk about it, they want my receipts in an envelope headed for PEI.

The people I know well don't tend to write me letters. They talk to me. When they do write me, the tone is warm and sometimes funny, like a Robert Munsch book. Other letters I receive are hand written and serious in nature. Like what you'd find in a dictionary. Usually I don't know those letter-writers well.

It's the people who don't know me, like the good folks at the CRA, who write letters with cool, calculated precision. There are no questions about how my family is doing or whether I'm enjoying my summer. No, these letters are written with an agenda; a demand; an issue in mind.

I wonder how many of those letters could be avoided if the writer used their lips to do more talking than licking.

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