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Tardy thanks

Blame it on football.

Guys, that's as good a pretext as any for failing to have written your thank-you notes for gifts received during the December holidays.

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We get sucked into the college bowl games right after Christmas. And, just as we sheepishly emerge from this marathon of ogling mud-stained behemoths, we are lured off course by the start of the NFL playoffs in January.

It's a gross stereotype, but in my experience this is mostly a guy thing. My daughters and wife are nearly done with their thank-you missives while my guilt grows daily.

Scientists who have observed this playoff-procrastination phenomenon note another side effect: The Neanderthal Syndrome.

Otherwise educated males band together, grunt boisterously, and seem to lose the ability to use any tool other than a TV remote - certainly not a writing implement.

Disregarding this, a colleague suggests that thank you's can be scrawled during half time. Worthy advice if you're sitting home alone. Almost valueless in a pack of male friends. An atmosphere known to spawn chest bumps and belching contests is hardly conducive to sincerely penned expressions of gratitude.

The answer may lie in technology. Etiquette mavens eschew it, but e-mailed notes of thanks are reportedly on the rise. You can do them during a lunch break at work - or during half time because you don't have to pull out those embarrassingly dainty cards.

I figured a few folks might appreciate an excuse, er, explanation for the dearth of thank-you notes until after the Super Bowl.

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