My brother’s birthday is tomorrow and I forgot to buy him a card. So I went to look in the box of cards I bought just for this contingency. A neighbor of mine years ago gave me the idea – she used to buy cards on sale so she’d have a card on hand for anything that came up.
I thought it was a good plan, so I went to Hallmark and bought some cards that I thought were pretty funny. I also picked up a bundle of cards when my girlfriend dragged me to a garage sale.
I still have most of these cards, even though this was years ago. The garage sale ones were pathetic. Here are some of the sayings (you’ll notice a couple are based on very old commercials):
“How do you spell relief?” (open) “J-A-N-U-A-R-Y! Happy Holidays!”
(Two frogs on a wedding cake) “Two words come to mind on this momentous occasion.” (open) “You fools!”
“How about…” (open) “…a nooner?”
“Double your pleasure, double your fun…” (open) “run your paycheck through the copy machine!”
“Meet me later….” (open) “in your birthday suit?”
Who bought those cards in the first place? Or have they just made the rounds from garage sale to garage sale, picking up new bad cards along the way like snow tires pick up gravel?
The Hallmark cards are funny, but now that I own them, I have a hard time giving them to actual people I know. Many are about aging, and when I think of a friend opening them and reading the message, it seems a little cruel, so even though I love them and laugh each time I read them, I haven’t been able to pass them on. Here’s a sampler:
“You aren’t getting old” (open) “Hell, you were old last year.”
“Don’t let them tell you what people your age can and can’t do!” (open) “That’s what your knees are for.”
“It appears that sucking in your gut like that…” (open) “has blown the hair off the top of your head.”
If someone is really bald, AND has a gut, could I make fun of them by giving them a card pointing this out? Sure, we’d all get a laugh, but it’s a cruel joke on the birthday girl.
At what age does humor about aches and pain turn into a vicious reminder that you are getting old and it’s all downhill from here? People like me who have a sense of humor can see that this is tongue in cheek, but can the one being honored on his birthday? I’d much rather get a card that talks about getting old as being like fine wine – comparing aging to a process in which a sweet, juicy grape is turned into a dry, fermented beverage that’s one step away from being vinegar.
Wait a minute, no I wouldn’t. I DO NOT want to be reminded that I’m “getting older” on my birthday. I want to pretend it’s just another day and I will continue to be immortal. The aches in my joints are temporary inconveniences that WILL NOT be worse tomorrow.
So once again, I’m going to leave those “old” cards in the card box and go buy a new one that will tell my brother how much I appreciate him even though he used to beat me within an inch of my life when we were kids. I hope Hallmark has one that says that – and I’m betting they will.