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Thursday, January 19, 2012

We Invite You

Those three words conjure possibility like few others I know. When I receive a letter that leads with WE INVITE YOU, I feel the pumps prime and possibilities loom large and boundless. My friend, Dara Kindler, sent me a party invitation in third grade that seemed to hint at understated elegance and subtle wealth. A lovely cursive scroll decorated the small, pale violet invitation. I knew, simply by those three words - you are invited - that I was someone special. I was included in a gathering of third grade girls; Dara promised me a memorable luncheon in her honor. I was nervous because I was one of the few girls that did not attend dance school, nor was I being trained in manners and etiquette by anyone other than my parents. Most of the other girls had memberships at the Country Club. In fact, it was my first visit to the rarefied world of the Club. Marketeers have managed to have tapped into the universality of this appealing verbiage. This explains why letters for credit cards, timeshares and insurance products often start with these magic and enticing words. There is a sense of belonging, being included, that comes about when I am invited
. So much of who we are as humans has to do with belonging and being accepted. It seems only natural that we would respond to such an invitation with gratitude and no small measure of enthusiasm. I can picture Steve Martin doing an entire comedic riff on this -- “You want me? Really? Well, I am honored. But let me ask you this. How much? Do you want me if I wear my dickey? Do you want me if I make rude noises? Am I still invited if I show poor timing when I am delivering my jokes? Is your invitation a conditional one?” In short order, I can imagine Steve Martin bringing a crowd to its knees with his comedic take on "We invite you." I have trained my mind to revel in on how delightful it feels to be included. I can attest to this based on a recent experience. My daughter received an email that, tucked in the body, included the three words, WE INVITE YOU.... She called me with her voice high-pitched and excited. The invitation was nothing more than a request that she visit a psychology department at Catholic University, but in the highly competitive world of doctoral programs, such an invitation is an honor in, and of, itself. Thus, this email invitation proved one of life's inalienable truths of life is unimpeachable . WE INVITE YOU bodes well for those lucky enough to find those words inside their envelope. Like the gold wrapper on Willy Wonka’s chocolate bar, the odds are very good that something extraordinary is likely to unfold.

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