I waved the envelope at my buddy Jimmy.
''Hey look, Brad finally found someone who will marry him.''
Jimmy munched on an Oreo as we walked down the street.
''Cool. Is that an invitation to his wedding?''
"Let's see." I reread the card. ''It's a notice that he and Michele had a wedding, it was fun, and he wishes he'd been able to invite me.''
Jimmy wiped cooked crumbs off his shirt.
''Ah, an unvitation.''
''An UN-vitation. It's just like an invitation, except it lets you know that someone had a party and didn't invite you. I get 'em all the time.''
I tucked the card back in the envelope.
''Probably Brad just forgot, that's all.''
Jimmy fished a half-eaten beef jerky from his back pocket.
''More likely Brad remembered. Wasn't he at George and Ellie's wedding when you knocked over the buffet table?''
''Could have happened to anybody,'' I said.
''Brad didn't forget you. He remembers all too well.'' Jimmy chomped on the beef jerky. ''Hey, unvitations are all the rage. Maybe you made the B list, man.''
"The B list?"
"See, weddings, open houses and other events cost big bucks. Hosts have to limit the invitations to fit the max on their credit cards. But lots of times, hosts keep a backup list. If someone from the A list cancels, somebody from the B list gets promoted."
"So I'm a party standby?"
"Unless you're on the C list. The C list are friends who aren't getting invited no matter what."
Jimmy crammed the rest of the jerky into his mouth.
"That sure was a mess at George and Ellie's wedding. Rigatoni in the groom's cummerbund, meatballs impaled on the bride's tiara. You're C list, definitely."
''So this is the height of modern-day etiquette, don't invite people to your party, then rub it in their faces?''
Jimmy dug through his pockets, came up empty, shrugged and wiped his hands on his jeans.
''Reminds me of how I found out my parents moved,'' Jimmy said. ''They taped a note to the front door.''
''I've narrowed the new place down to one of three states or an island in the South Pacific.''
I shook my head.
"So unvitations are proper?"
"Wish I'd known about unvitations. I'd have sent one to my boss: 'Finished the big project, and it's great. However, due to conference room limitations, I couldn't invite you to the presentation. Be happy for us, and please forward my bonus at your earliest convenience.'"
"Or you could have actually done the project. Personally, I'd have sent unvitations to bill collectors: 'Here's a photo of me with the two T-shirts I bought at the thrift store. I wish there'd been some money left over to put toward your invoice. You can borrow one my T-shirts.'"
Jimmy peered into a bakery window while I slumped against a lamppost.
"So how come you and I are stuck by ourselves tonight?"
"Dunno. Everyone seemed to have someplace else to go."
I thought about it.
"I suppose," I said, "we'll find out in a week or so when the unvitations show up in the mail."
"Reckon so. After all, it's the polite thing to do."
---- Unvite Cole on the Burton W. Cole page on Facebook or by email at