A very special inscription

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While shopping for a card for my dad the other day (he will be 90 on August 7) I noticed a sign of the times: a birthday card with a big silver "100" on it — one of quite a few, in fact, manufactured specifically for birthdays of people who reach that age. The extreme longevity made possible by modern medicine, nutrition, and social care may be a disaster for pension plans and health insurance companies, but it has inspired a new niche product for card manufacturers. They didn't make Happy 100th Birthday cards fifty years ago. I was puzzled, though, when I looked inside. The inscription was distinctly peculiar.

These are the words I read inside the card:

This very special milestone
has been passed by you!

I never thought I would hear myself say this, but sometimes you really do need to avoid the passive (yes, come back William Strunk, all is forgiven). This is about as inept a use of the passive as I've ever seen in real life. I wonder what strange impulse gripped the mind of the card designer who wrote it.

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