Thoughts Akimbo

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Truly, madly, deeply – your loyal liege

I got another e-mail today with the word “Best” right before the signature. This part of a letter is called the “complimentary closing.”

It’s where you would normally write “Love,” as in the following letter example: “Dear Friend, Blah blah blah, Love, Kim.”

Of course, it’s not appropriate for a public relations person asking me to please print a story about artichokes to sign her letter, “Love, Vanessa.”

But that word “Best” just bugs me. I mean, best what? Is it short for, “you’ve got the best of my love?”

Is she the best, or am I?

Then again, if “Best” is a dumb way to say, in essence, “that’s all for now” – what is a good way?

“Sincerely” is a good complimentary closing for the cover letter with your resume, to show how serious and businesslike you are and, therefore, how very likely to pass the pre-employment screenings.

But in casual usage, if you have to say how sincere you are, you’re probably up to something shady.

I have a spiritual friend who uses “Blessings” as a complimentary closing. It means, I guess, “I’m sending you blessings along with this letter telling you about my new poodle,” or maybe just, “Boy, the world sure is full of blessings.”

He probably means them both, and he’s probably right. But I think people who read a letter from me ending with “Blessings” might think I had joined a cult.

I’ve been signing off lately with “Regards,” because it has a nice, old Victorian sound to it, although it’s not quite as quaint as “Your loyal liege.” I have a dear colleague who signs his letters to me “YLL.” I’m not sure if he’s everyone’s loyal liege, or just mine, but it’s charming as heck.

Here are other complimentary closings and what they might really mean:

• “Warmly” – I hate to ask, but I need money.

• “Fondly” – I hope you take my request for money seriously.

• “Party on” – I might have enclosed something illegal.

• “I remain” – I have not yet entered a witness relocation program.

• “Truly, madly, deeply” – I once sang with the pop group Savage Garden.

• “Aloha” – I just got back from vacation in Hawaii.

• “Good night, and good news” – I am Edward R. Murrow, or fictional anchorman Ted Baxter on the old Mary Tyler Moore Show.

• “Bee-biddy-bee-biddy-that’s all, folks!” – I’m Porky Pig

•”My signature is coming up” – I’ve become too literal.

Perhaps you’d like to try the ancient (and New Age-ish) “Namaste” (nah-MAH-stay). It means, loosely translated from Sanskrit: “The sacred spark within me recognizes the same spark within you.” It’s Sanskrit for “I’m OK, you’re OK.”

Of course, because Sanskrit is a highly conceptual language, it might really mean “Your heart chakra appears to be on fire.” That would explain the cuneiform tablets where “Namaste!” is always followed by an exclamation point and little caricatures of people running for their lives.

If you’d like to share the way you sign off your letters, please e-mail me. You can use my template: “Dear Kim, Blah-blah-blah, (Your Complimentary Closing Here), (Your Name Here).”

But I’d be happy to hear your actual thoughts, too.

Well, that’s all, folks. Good night and good news. My signature is coming up now.
Love, Kim

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