Sunday, January 4, 2009

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OK. That's enough.

I have always kind of ignored it when the Washington Post promoted their annual Valentine's Day special classified ad section. You know, when you buy your sugar-doodle a heartfelt sentiment in 3-5 lines?

"Say honey, check out today's Post classifieds for a special surprise! It's in that special section between the automotive and the garage sales. See?"

That's right, nothing says "I love you" quite like a classified ad.

And recently, I sneered quietly when I saw the Post promoting their special section full of "Welcome to Washington" messages we were all encouraged to buy for Barack Obama. I'm sure just as soon as the dust settles from the Inaugural whirlwind -- perhaps over coffee before his first day On The Job -- the Obamas will pore over this Very Special Section of heartfelt greetings. "Oh look Michelle! The Carson family says 'good luck and God bless'!"

But this past weekend I think they reached a new low with their "In Memoriam" section of the Washington Post Magazine. ("Prepared by the Washington Post Advertising Department" as if they'd taken it upon themselves to honor all of our lost loved ones.) It's just a scheme to sell 12 pages of advertising. Which I think is a bit tasteless. At best.

Before anybody gets all up in my business about anything, know this. Between us, Karen and I have lost three of our four parents. We know grief. So if this sort of thing brings comfort to people left behind, I'm all for it.

But I have a really hard time imagining that a classified ad is going to bring that much comfort. And I wonder how many people will actually "browse the In Memoriam pages and take time to reflect on the lives of these wonderful people who were loved by many." Seriously.

And to be perfectly honest, I think that if I bought one of these cheesy little "in memoriam" ads for my parents, my mother would come back from the grave to beat me for it. And my father would probably come back with her. To help.

As far as I'm concerned, there is nothing special about this section at all. Like all the others, it's just a . . . well, you know.

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