Recently, someone sent me a Christian Passive Aggressive Note or CPAN if you will. (Not to be confused with CSPAN.)
A coworker left the note on the fridge at the ministry he worked at.
How do you write a really good CPAN? Well, allow me to enlighten you with this real-life example:
5 Commandments of CPANs.
1. Use at least one Bible verse.
It’s not a Christian Passive Aggressive Note unless you’ve got at least one Bible verse. Whether you want to go old school and quote the OT is up to you. This person chose to drop by Exodus and Deuteronomy. Well played.
2. Don’t write out the verse.
Just use the reference or “address” of the verse if you will. This accomplishes two things: One, it makes the offending party feel like a sinner if they don’t have the verses memorized and know them by heart. Two, it forces people to read their Bible. Win, win.
3. Make fairly broad claims.
My first thought upon seeing these two Bible verses was, “Is there a verse about a fridge in the Bible? Did Moses ever confront Pharoah about how the Israelites were tired of him eating their leftover Jason’s Deli sandwich that had been clearly marked with papyrus?” Alas, that is not in the Bible. Instead, these verses both say, “You shall not steal.” I like the broad assumption that there is a cold item bandit on the loose, not that it’s possible two people bought the same exact Dannon yogurt and one got eaten by mistake.
4. Leave it anonymously.
Why should you never leave your name on a CPAN? Because that might lead to conversation, not condemnation. And there’s no doubt about which one you’re going for here. Make sure you type the note so that no one in the general area can tell it was your handwriting.
5. Get creative.
Big points for incorporating math into the mix. Check out the brain on Brad! This also gets a little dig at someone who might not be a Christian. The thinking is that perhaps this fridge felon is not a believer, sees the note and then says, “Bible verses, who cares about those? I’m still eating your old lasagna, there is no God! Wait, hark! What is this? Math and common courtesy? Who could argue with those? You’ve got me you wry note writer!” If that wasn’t enough, the note continues at the bottom with something called the “Toddler’s Rules.” Here we see the passive aggression reaching new levels. The photo doesn’t show it well, but the rules say things like: “If I like it, it’s mine. If it’s in my hand, it’s mine. If I can take it from you, it’s mine.”
Hopefully, those five commandments will help clear up any confusion you’ve been feeling about how to write a Christian Passive Aggressive Note.
I will say this, though, the hardest part of writing a CPAN is making sure that you act in passive aggression quickly. You’ve got to get back to your computer, look up Bible verses, look up creative additions like the toddler rules, print out your note, get it from the printer, find tape, wait until no one is around wherever you are going to put it, and stick it quickly.
The last thing you want is patience, understanding, or civility to get the best of you before you’re able to execute a really amazing CPAN.
Have you ever seen a great CPAN?