My brother IS sent me the most hilarious article in the Times the other day entitled “Unfriending Someone, Before Facebook.” Below is an excerpt:
Nor were your choices in those days only friend or unfriend. There were levels of unfriending culminating in that magnificent big gun, “dead to me,” a phrase my family wrapped their mouths around with a relish other people saved for steak.
Dead to me was not achieved with a cowardly little click on the keyboard under cover of night. Dead to me took nerve, it took strength. It also wasn’t for children. You had to be an adult with a house and a job. You cleared a space in the conversation when a certain name came up – let’s use Marvin; waited three beats to make sure you had the attention of the house, and then, and only then, did you say, “He is dead to me.”
I have no choice here but to return to the master of the form, my mother. There came a time when she and her younger brother came to a fork in the road regarding religion, hers being our ancestral one, which eschews pork and enables us to write television comedy, my uncle’s newly adopted religion involving ringing doorbells and giving people pamphlets on Sundays. As he had moved to Los Angeles, this switch might have gone unnoticed but regrettably, one of his converts, returning home after visiting, was 13-year-old me.
My mother’s screams on the phone after she made this discovery are still remembered in Greene County. It remains one of the most powerful denunciations I have heard in my life.
“Aaron,” my mother said, “I never want to hear another word from you. You are dead to me.”
He remained dead to my mother for the rest of life, about 40 years, and from what I could see, she took great satisfaction from it. This was another reason unfriending someone before Facebook was so much better. You didn’t dispatch someone once and move on; you had a lifetime of satisfying moments in which you could unfriend them over and over again.
“So, Milli, what do you hear from your brother Aaron?”
“Dead to me.”
“Your brother still married to that nice woman?”
“Dead to me.”
“I was going out to L.A. and I thought maybe I would look up Aaron, you know we were in the Army together –”
“Dead to me.”
I enjoyed it so heartily that I began to imagine what weird, profile-less hermits like IS and I could do in lieu of “unfriending” and my mind turned to a company called Set Editions, which makes the beloved “Stop Talking” business cards, among other funny things.
I hand out at least once a day.
So I’ve written to Set Editions to ask them to consider making a DEAD TO ME card. Here is my email pitch:
To Whomever Receives This Email:
I’m an enormous fan of your merchandise –– at the moment, I’m coveting just about everything on the site –– and a proud owner of the “Stop Talking” cards, which it seems are quite popular. I have a small idea for you based on the below article, which is hilarious and short and should go down easy:
(I put the link here but I’m not going to do it again because that just seems excessive.)
I think it would be great to create a little card that says “YOU ARE DEAD TO ME” or, more succinctly, “DEAD TO ME.” There also could be something in the idea of unfriending –– i.e. THIS IS ME UNFRIENDING YOU –– but I myself am partial to the “dead to me.”
Anyway, if this idea appeals to you at all, what I’d ask for in return is just one set of cards!
Again, big props. You guys are hilarious.
Oh my, oh my, I DO hope they like the idea!
UPDATE: They did! The woman behind Set Editions wrote me the below:
Thank you so much for taking the time to write with your idea. I get to hear many ideas in the course of doing business, most of which are categorically not hilarious, but “Dead to me” is right up my alley. I will work on it and I promise to let you know if it comes to pass. I suspect it might. You’ll be the first to effectively kill off your friends if it does.
Thanks again. Set Editions is really just me at the end if the day and it still gives me huge pleasure that other people even notice.
Yay! I’m off now to inform Joyce Wadler of the Times. While you’re waiting for these cards to come out, everybody support Set Editions and buy me these good grief glasses!