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Lenore Skenazy
Lenore Skenazy
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Send Me a Postcard, Not a Group E-mail

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It's Christmas in July.

The bad part of Christmas, that is. The part when you get those Christmas letters from C-list friends all about their fantastic jobs, stunning new homes, and mind-blowing sex (if you read between the lines).

Except now, those letters are e-mails. And they're not about Christmas. They are all about your friends' vacations — e-mail blasts so chock-full of photos, fun and detailed meal descriptions they make you want to scream: All right! Yes! I was planning a terrorist attack. Now please — stop!

"I don't have time to look at my own photos. What makes anyone believe I have time to log in, create a new password, and scroll through 500 photos of their road trip to Toledo?" asked my friend Marcia Clark.

Marcia would much prefer another kind of vacation blast — a blast from the past, as it were. So would I. Our plea?

Bring back the postcard.

Surely some of you remember the postcard? Rectangular thing you'd get in the mail?

Surely some of you remember mail?

"The idea of anyone receiving a postcard in the mail is kind of mind-boggling to me," a 21-year-old college student, Eric Kuhn, said. "Have you ever gotten one?"

As a matter of fact, sonny, yes. And there's a lot to be said for the medium, once as time-sensitive and sexy as texting.

"Mail was delivered three times a day sometimes," a postcard collector in Atlanta, Pat Sabin, said. Each time the postman arrived, "It would be the big event." A friend might write something like, "I can't wait to see you for lunch on Tuesday" — short and sweet as a Twitter tweet. But it had one huge advantage:

It was actually written to one person. You.

"It means so much more to me to get a good old-fashioned note that makes me feel connected to the person versus an e-mail blast that might include their dentist," said Dana Korey, a personal organizer.

Blasts are not only dentist-heavy but also heavy, period.

Every, "Then we ran into the people we met two days ago." Every, "The crepes here are so amazing." Every, "Now I'm soooooo sick of crepes." Imagine "War and Peace" written by Natasha, with digital photos of all her boyfriends and samovars.

A colleague of mine who is traveling cross-country (so I feel safe printing this right now) put this in a recent posting: "Here's our glove compartment. Thought you'd like to see it."

And there it was, filled with a flashlight, Kleenex and cough drops.

Bring back the postcard.

Postcards boast sweeping views, stunning art, or at least sofa-sized trout lashed to cars with captions like, "You should've seen the one that got away." And don't forget the fact that the ones mailed from abroad have cool foreign stamps.

Bob's group e-mail from Fiji never will get pinned to the office bulletin board. At home, nobody's going to stick it to the fridge or save it in a shoebox or use it as a cookbook bookmark. In another generation, we still will be collecting old postcards; they'll just be older.

"My grandmother sent one from St. Lucia. It's made of straw on one side, with a silky yellow flower. It's got to be 40 years old, and I think I can still smell her Shalimar on it," Clark said. Postcards don't impose a vacation on the recipient. They share.

But today, if you are younger than 47 and off on some lovely trip, the chances of you sitting down to write a postcard are on par with the chances of you being eaten by a shark ... who is sitting down to write a postcard.

That's too bad because all you'd have to scribble is, "Thinking of you," and we'd know you really were.

Bring back the postcard.

Lenore Skenazy is a columnist at The New York Sun and Advertising Age. To find out more about Lenore Skenazy (lskenazy@yahoo.com) and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.

COPYRIGHT 2008 CREATORS SYNDICATE INC.



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