Very Regardfully

C08AA167-6D70-4EED-9A2D-1D4AD164AAD2Wassup, sickos?

I’m busy. Busy busy. Donna’s annual sewing guild retreat at the Westward Look Resort is over today. I’m driving the truck over shortly to help her pack up — there’s a ton of equipment to put back into storage until next year’s retreat (which, Donna insists, someone else will be in charge of). Tomorrow we’re making something yummy to bring to a friend’s birthday party. Monday it’s a haircut, Tuesday an annual eye exam and a visit to Costco to pick out new frames. Wednesday morning a contractor’s coming to put in a pool fence; that night I host an HOA board meeting.

Saw this posted on Twitter:

Someone told me signing off emails and letters with “Best” is passive-aggressive so I’m changing it to “See You in Hell” to eliminate any confusion.

I’ve always been a regarder: “Regards” alone on formal correspondence, “Warm Regards” to friends, “Best Regards” to those I want to butter up. This was so even when I was in the military, where the preferred closing is “Respectfully” (“Very Respectfully” when writing to senior officers, sometimes abbreviated “VR”).

With all due respect, saying one is respectful in a situation where respect is implicit and assumed strikes me as gilding the lily and I can’t bring myself to do it. Especially when, as is so often, what I really mean is “See You in Hell.”

Too bad all my correspondents aren’t hashers, where the perfect sign-off is always a simple “On On.”

Just got word the man I was so worried about a few months ago has died. Here’s what I wrote in January:

The neighbor who was going to take down the dead mesquite trees on our property is a drinker. He’d show up with a cooler full of beer in his truck, cracking one can after another as he worked. I told myself he was a functioning drinker, like many we know … like I once fancied myself to be … but he quickly revealed himself to be in over his head, sloppy and dangerous to the point where I felt obliged to stand watch while he worked, lest he hack his arm off with a chainsaw and there be no one to see it happen and call 911. Then one day he got really blitzed, came inside our house uninvited, and started hitting on Donna and a visiting friend. Upset and alarmed, we sent him packing. His personal life, we later learned, is in shambles.

His wife, who divorced him a month or so later, still lives in the neighborhood. She hasn’t shared details of his death, but the last time we talked she said he was living in his truck behind a transmission shop in San Antonio. Long before things came to a head, other neighbors must have been as concerned about him as we were. I wish we’d done more, though I don’t know what we could have done. His wife, after all, had tried everything and it wasn’t enough to turn him from the path he’d chosen. I hope she finds peace.

© 2021, Paul Woodford. All rights reserved.

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