Nothing Says "Thank You" Quite Like a Handwritten Note

Thank you notes are great for following up with a prospective employer, reconnecting with an old friend, expressing gratitude for spectacular service, or just letting someone know you care.

Yesterday afternoon, I went through an experience that left me quite admittedly bewildered.

Some sort of miscommunication over a claim had arisen between my insurance company and doctor that resulted in me being sent a bill for some ungodly amount of money to cover a basic check-up. Thus, I was left with the unhappy task of having to call my provider, no doubt to sit on hold for at least a decade until finally being connected to the surliest customer service representative this side of Mos Eisley spaceport.

And yet, pretty much the exact opposite happened. I sat on hold for a minimal amount of time. The woman who answered was kind, patient, and understanding. My issue was resolved promptly after she went above and beyond to find the root of the problem.

It was amazing. As horrific as bad customer service calls can be (looking at you, Comcast), the positive ones feel so much better. I went in thinking I'd be dragged through the depths of insurance hell. Instead, I came away feeling a bright sense of, "hey, the world's not such a bad place after all." 

So what's the point of this anecdote? My immediate thought after hanging up was "how can I really express my thanks?" That's when I turned to the mode of communication most preferred by characters on Downton Abbey (as well as your cat-ridden great-aunt): the handwritten note.

There's a lovely piece over at The Huffington Post right now all about when and how to write the perfect thank you card. It's well worth a read if you want to know more about note etiquette, but the main thing I took away is that nothing will express your gracious appreciation quite like a handwritten note. It's a gesture both classy and thoughtful. Jotting down even a few words expresses to the recipient that you took time out of your day to do something for them.

As for when thank you notes are appropriate, there's hardly a context in which one would be deemed inappropriate. In fact, you should send one along whenever you interview for a job or open a gift in the absence of the giver. In my case above, my experience was so refreshing that I want the company to reward the employee who had answered my call. If more people sent thank you notes every time a worker made their day, good employees in all industries would be more appreciated by their companies. Everytime someone goes above and beyond for you, taking time to send a thank you note to the corporate office says "I want this to be the norm every time I call."

And that's reason enough to take 5 minutes and a 46 cent stamp to pass along your gratitude.

Read more at Huffington Post

Photo credit: Deerfield Photo / Shutterstock

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Scientists study tattooed corpses, find pigment in lymph nodes

It turns out, that tattoo ink can travel throughout your body and settle in lymph nodes.

17th August 1973: An American tattoo artist working on a client's shoulder. (Photo by F. Roy Kemp/BIPs/Getty Images)

In the slightly macabre experiment to find out where tattoo ink travels to in the body, French and German researchers recently used synchrotron X-ray fluorescence in four "inked" human cadavers — as well as one without. The results of their 2017 study? Some of the tattoo ink apparently settled in lymph nodes.

Image from the study.

As the authors explain in the study — they hail from Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich, the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility, and the German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment — it would have been unethical to test this on live animals since those creatures would not be able to give permission to be tattooed.

Because of the prevalence of tattoos these days, the researchers wanted to find out if the ink could be harmful in some way.

"The increasing prevalence of tattoos provoked safety concerns with respect to particle distribution and effects inside the human body," they write.

It works like this: Since lymph nodes filter lymph, which is the fluid that carries white blood cells throughout the body in an effort to fight infections that are encountered, that is where some of the ink particles collect.

Image by authors of the study.

Titanium dioxide appears to be the thing that travels. It's a white tattoo ink pigment that's mixed with other colors all the time to control shades.

The study's authors will keep working on this in the meantime.

“In future experiments we will also look into the pigment and heavy metal burden of other, more distant internal organs and tissues in order to track any possible bio-distribution of tattoo ink ingredients throughout the body. The outcome of these investigations not only will be helpful in the assessment of the health risks associated with tattooing but also in the judgment of other exposures such as, e.g., the entrance of TiO2 nanoparticles present in cosmetics at the site of damaged skin."

Photo by Alina Grubnyak on Unsplash
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