No Thank You

I enjoyed slicing yesterday with a prompt from Old Friend from Far Away by Natalie Goldberg, a great book on the art of writing memoir. My prompt for today is “Begin a ten-minute writing with No Thank You. Every time you get stuck, write No Thank You again and keep going.”

No Thank You. That’s what I say to young children when they’re doing something I’d rather them not do. I’m not sure who I learned it from, but I have found it’s more effective than just saying no, and it’s much more polite. When I taught preschool for six months in 2017, I said No Thank You often, sometimes with a gritted teeth smile, willing them to stop doing whatever they were doing at the moment that was driving me crazy. I occasionally say it to adults when I don’t particularly like what they’re doing. Well, I say that or No ma’am. Imagine me saying it with attitude. It’s not a polite No ma’am when I say it in this context.

No Thank You, Covid-19. You’ve come into our lives, disrupting everything and effectively changing life as we knew it. While we don’t want it to go back to exactly the way it was before, we’re tired of the way it is now. Bring back some normalcy, please.

No Thank You, I don’t want to receive three emails a day from your company. As if bombarding me with emails will make me want to spend money with you. Play a little hard to get, will ya? Throwing yourself at me like this is a sure fire way to turn me off. In fact, if I’m honest, I’ve stopped even opening the emails you send me, deleting them– sight unseen. I wonder how you feel about that, knowing I am no longer even tempted to open your messages, despite the subject line tempting me with a sale.

No Thank You, cold weather mornings. I’d very much like to go back to the mildly cold mornings that we had earlier this month. I’m so over wearing my winter coat, especially since you’re just going to warm up again by mid-day, forcing me to carry said coat around later. Make up your mind already!

No Thank You, alarm that’s going to go off in 7 short hours. I’m not looking forward to being awoken from my deep sleep too early in the morning. I long for lazy mornings when I can wake on my own rather than from your annoying buzzing.

10 thoughts on “No Thank You

  1. Book Dragon

    I didn’t realize Natalie Goldberg had a book about writing memoirs. I recently received a gift card to a book store – this title is now at the top of my purchase list. Her writing exercises sound perfect for prompts for SOL

  2. Terje

    I should go back to the book you mentioned. I looked through some other ones for prompts but missed this one. I like how you used the “No Thank You” with little kids. I don’t think I have heard this technique before. My little nephew said “No Thank You” to her kindergarten teachers when they suggested getting dressed for going outside or announced time for a Music lesson. They had to switch from invitational language to more commands. I am usually good at saying “No Thank You” to promotional emails, except this weekend, when a bookstore sent an email about discounts. My today’s slice.

  3. elsie

    Too bad your alarm can’t react to your no thank you. 🙂 But in a few short weeks you will have the pleasure of waking on your time when spring break arrives.

  4. Fran McCrackin

    Ha ha, I can just hear that teacher voice to the youngest ones, “No, thank you” through gritted teeth! I have a colleague who uses it always, and I do like it. I also like how you use it here to dismiss several annoyances, big and small.

  5. Alain Tassé

    No thank you to a bladder infection, no thank you to a computer shut down, no thank you to a right wing government, no thank you to a flat tire on my bike when 40km away from home, no thank you to being able to freely buy guns without control… Thank you for your Slice today!

  6. Sara T.

    I’ve always found it weird that teachers use that phrase so much. I’ve never understood it when I hear a teacher redirecting a naughty Kindergartener with it. They didn’t ask you a question. Why are you saying no thank you?! 🤔

    Those emails though… perfect time to say “no thank you” – not today. And doesn’t it register somewhere that I didn’t even open the last 50 you sent. Very clever slice!

  7. livinglife816287820

    Great words, and I think they’re known in almost every nation even if the person you address doesn’t really speak English. As you say the polite firmness of the phrase is perfect, I feel no other language quite has that way of saying no. And yes, kindergarteners get it when addressed that way!


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