Word of honor
By Mike McQuaide
A few days ago I received a letter from the Luxembourg government that began “Madame, Monsieur, Nous avons l’honneur de vous informer que...” (Madam, Sir, we have the honor to inform you that…)
The letter went on to remind me that it was time to renew my Luxembourg residence card. But that’s not what got my attention. What struck me was that the person who wrote this letter—someone I didn’t even know—felt it was an honor to do so.
I was touched. My eyes welled up as I reflected on this individual who was so free, open and generous with their feelings.
And it wasn’t just one person who was feeling the honor either. The letter read “Nous avons…” ("We have…") Perhaps there’s a giant roomful of folks at "Le Gouvernement du Grand-Duché de Luxembourg" who are all just bursting with honor because of me!
I wondered if co-workers there had fought over which one of them would be chosen to send me the letter. “Let me send it to him!” “No, me—I feel more honor than you do!” “Nuh-uh, I’m really, really honored!” “Oh yeah, well I’m really, really, really honored!” And so on.
Wiping away a tear, I recalled a time when I felt honored to do something.
Last year, the wife of a good friend asked me to write a song and sing it at his 50th birthday party. That was a double honor because not only was it an honor to be asked, but performing the song before a roomful of partygoers was also an honor. Maybe that’s the kind of honor these people felt in sending me this letter.
Or maybe it’s more of a civic pride-type of honor. These were government people after all, and in doing their job well, they experience the honor that comes with doing one’s duty for the greater good of the community.
Inspired, I imagined a situation in which I might feel similarly. I would feel such greater-good honor if, say, I was chosen by the bulk of mankind to throw a balloon filled with cat pee at Donald Trump. (I would aim for his forehead so that when the balloon burst, it would drench his awful coif as well as his smug, imbecilic, orange visage.)
This would be a double honor also--an honor to be chosen and an honor to do it. In fact, a triple honor because it would be hilarious, and bringing joy and laughter to others is one of mankind’s highest honors.
Back to the letter...
Sadly, the missive’s closing struck a tone of pleading insecurity.
“Nous vous prions, Madame, Monsieur, de croire en l'expression de nos sentiments distingués.” (Roughly: "Please, Madam, Sir, believe in the expression of our distinguished feelings.")
No doubt in the past, this poor letter writer had put their feelings on the line and been rejected. Or worse, ignored.
Well, rest assured, brave soul, whoever you are in the Gouvernement du Grand-Duché, I’ll not ignore you! I believe you and fully support your expressions of distinguished feelings of honor! I will do all in my power to renew my titre de séjour by October 7, as you have so excellently, conscientiously and virtuously reminded me.
It will be my honor to do so.
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