A note can change someone’s day

Kevin Wilson

Kevin Wilson

By Kevin Wilson

Staff columnist

When I wrote my address to graduates last week, I fear I may have left something open for a misunderstanding.

I told graduates to find a musical group or TV show they love and to enjoy it until all the magic is gone. I said “The Roots” and “Arrested Development” were my vices.

The next day, a coworker said, “Man, pulling from the memory banks on Arrested Development. I haven’t thought of them since the ‘90s. Whatever happened to them?”

To answer his immediate question, Arrested Development never caught the same attention with follow-up “Zingalamaduni” as it did with its debut album, “3 Years, 5 Months & 2 Days in the Life Of …”

To answer the larger question, that wasn’t the “Arrested Development” I was talking about. I was referring to the former Fox comedy brought back to life by Netflix with a fifth season in limbo because the ensemble cast would like to get back to more lucrative film and TV options.

And so I watch it over and over again. A favorite episode involves a man named J. Walter Weatherman, a man who lost his arm in a construction accident. He’s repeatedly hired by the Bluth family’s father to play the victim in an elaborate scheme to teach the kids some lesson. In one flashback, nobody wrote a note about drinking the last of the milk. So George Bluth Sr. creates a scene where he has to hurry to the grocery store to get milk and he hits a poor pedestrian who loses his arm in the accident. Weatherman then tells the kids, “And that’s why you always leave a note.”

The ruse had mixed results. The children always left notes, though one daughter thought it was an attempt to get the kids off of dairy.

That’s an elaborate way to tell you to always leave a note. This is a simpler one, graduates and non-graduates: It leaves a mark.

The New York Times did an article in April about the lost and found art of thank-you notes. The point of the article came across the best from New York publicist Cristiano Magni.

“It is so important, in a digital world, to have the dignity to sit down and write something in your own hand,” Magni said. “It not only strengthens the bonds between people, in your personal life and in business,” it also rings an emotional chord.”

I’ve seen the difference. People who were just a small part of my life became a bigger part because I did something as simple as sending a Christmas card. While going through some of my old possessions, I noticed I had tossed many of the things I always considered valuable, like classic comics and baseball cards, but I kept notes my friends sent me during my first year of college.

A note can change the trajectory of somebody’s day. I received a thank-you note for a small favor over the weekend, and I walked into the office Tuesday to find a note from a rodeo family I wrote about. They both made the unpleasant stuff a little less unpleasant.

Whether a TV show or a column or a New York Times story is the teacher, the lesson matters.

And that, grads and non-grads, is why you always leave a note.

Kevin Wilson is a columnist for Clovis Media Inc. He can be contacted at 763-3431, ext. 319, or by email:
kwilson@cnjonline.com