Dear Husbands (and Wives too):

One of my business cards is tucked into a corner of the mirror above Rita’s dresser in our bedroom. The printed side is facing the glass. On the back are the words. “Love you. XXXO.”  It’s been there five years.

As I was packing to leave on a three-day business trip, it took me about twenty seconds to pull out that card, flip it over, print two words and four letters, and put it on her pillow which she would find later that evening. That miniscule action is still paying dividends five years later.

For the record, three Xs and one O is my go-to signature for just about all the correspondence I do with Rita including notes, emails, greeting cards, and even texts. Where did that come from?I’m glad you asked.

Each time I type or write “XXXO,” the same vocal cadence goes through my head in – believe it or not – the voice of Mel Brooks: Kisses, kisses, kisses. Hug!  

You probably won’t remember the commercial, but it’s one of my favorites. And it may have been one of the reasons I got into advertising back in the day. The 1973 spot opens with a grandma wearing a housedress sitting at an old kitchen table attempting to write a letter with various kinds of fruit. Here’s the entire voiceover script.

MEL BROOKS: “Don’t write with a peach. If you write with a peach you’ll get a very wet letter. Don’t write with a prune. Words will come out wrinkled and dopey. Let’s face it. The only fruit you can write with is a banana. The Bic Banana. A fine line marker. Not to be confused with a ballpoint. Writing a letter to your son write right. Usually you write, “Dear Son, how are you?  I’m fine.” Write that same letter with a Bic Banana and you get, “Dear Sonny, I miss your face. Mom!” See what a nice letter it writes.  Kisses. Kisses. Kisses. And it comes in colors. Most fruits only come in one color except grapes, which comes in two colors. Look, if you’ve got to write with a fruit, write with a Bic Banana. It’s only 29 cents.  Your best buy in writing fruit. Kisses. Kisses. Kisses. Hug. The Bic Banana. A different way to write.”

And here’s a link:

It’s not romantic, but it’s hilarious. To me, anyway.

Here’s the point. When you leave town, leave a note. Be creative. Be silly. Be romantic. Be short. Be nice. And don’t forget to include lots of Xs and Os.

Of course, a few days apart may not seem like a big deal anymore. Emails, texts, and video chat all seem to make absence less of an issue. But being remembered and appreciated with little notes still brings warm fuzzies.  That’s why that business card is still tucked into the corner of our bedroom mirror.

Oh yeah. When you write those notes, please use a pen or pencil. As Mel Brooks so clearly stated, “If you write with a peach you’ll get a very wet letter. Don’t write with a prune. Words will come out wrinkled and dopey.”

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