When I was a kid, my parents laid down rules for polite behavior. There were very few of them, but they were inviolable, such as: (1) Never pass gas in close quarters; (2) never serially suck your fingers after consuming spare ribs; and, always, (3) if someone has done you a favor, write an earnest if insincere thank-you note. This last rule could be particularly exasperating. My father’s boss once wrote me a recommendation letter to the admissions office at Cornell. The letter was well intentioned, but it had a couple of unfortunate errors of spelling and syntax so that it seemed to be solemnly assuring the school that, if admitted, I would vandalize their campus. (The word “raze” was involved.) My family was too meek to ask for a change but also too smart to submit this letter to the school. They were also, alas, too polite to forgo the need for a thank-you letter, which was excruciating for me to write. I didn’t get into Cornell.

Anyway, it’s this last rule that got me thinking of Donald Trump. It happened after it was announced that the coronavirus stimulus checks (“economic impact payments”) would be delayed so they could be altered to bear his name. Thus, what seemed to be a program to divvy up peoples’ own tax payments to save us in financially perilous times became repackaged as a personal favor from the president! And that is when something ancient kicked in. It suddenly occurred to me that politeness requires us to send our Mr. President a thank-you note. For your convenience I have created several sample letters. Feel free to use the one that best fits your reasons for gratitude.

Dear President Trump, the great and munificent: Thank you for the check. It delivers to all of us Americans a sense of joy that you care even more deeply about us than you did about your beloved one-night stand, Stormy Daniels. After all, you didn’t insist that you put your name on the check to her.

... thank you for the check. It will postpone for at least three weeks the awful decision that I have been dreading: whether to rob a convenience store to obtain basic items necessary for me and my family to survive. Ordinarily this would be out of the question, if for no other reason than the likelihood of apprehension, but now you can just walk into a place in a mask, with no alarm bells activated! So thank you for that too!

... thank you for the check. Because of your delays in recognizing the seriousness of the virus, Americans’ period of quarantine has dragged on longer than that in many other countries, meaning we have had no choice but to learn certain valuable coping devices, and some of them can and will come in handy later in life. I have discovered, for example, that one need not launder underpants as often as we think: By rotating the leg holes and strategically turning the garment inside-out, you can get at least four days out of one garment. Also, that when you are required to live an indeterminately long period with a loved one and no one else, and you are frankly desperate not to lose this person’s affection and forbearance, you learn to appreciate what you have, lest you have to die alone, gasping. And you are similarly grateful that she tolerates living with someone who tells the same stupid joke six times in the past two weeks and has unwashed hair that has come to resemble Dinty Moore’s beef stew.

... thank you for the check. Like many Americans who are wildly insecure about our dwindling material resources, and particularly paper products, I am grateful that I am now able to keep that signed, unused check on hand, in my bathroom, just in case.

Email Gene Weingarten at weingarten@washpost.com. Find chats and updates at washingtonpost.com/magazine.

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