Colin Timothy Gagnon (sacredspud) wrote,
Colin Timothy Gagnon

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The desolate wastes of Hallmark

Nowhere is the line between insipid and sacrosanct so thin as in the world of greeting cards. Mother's Day cards in particular, since that's what I was looking at tonight. From the ostentatiously florid verses that nobody ever reads to the one that has Saddam Hussein straddling a bomb Slim Pickens-style with the caption "You're the bomb, mom!", none of them is really appropriate for me to give to my mother.

In other news, greeting card artists are now writing at a South Park level, except that they aren't funny.

The selection of card styles is unnerving, too. I can understand "for Mother" and the less-formal "for Mom," as well as "for a wife," "from a son," "from a daughter," and "from both of us." "Like a mother" makes sense too, and it's a good idea. Then there's "for a secretary," "for my secretary," and "for an office assistant." What's the difference? For that matter, why give a Mother's Day card to your secretary? "For a teacher?" "For a pet?" "For Dad on Mother's Day?" "For Pete's sake!"

I might be making that last one up. "For one mother of a mother" would be a good one, though. Like, if your parents are into motorcyles 'n stuff.

I think the oddest style of Mother's Day card I've seen was in 1999. I'd been in Decorah, Iowa on Mother's Day visiting Sara whom I was dating at the time, and we stopped at the grocery store that Sunday morning so I could pick up a card. One of the sections was labelled "like a wife."

Like. A. Wife.

I kid you not. I haven't seen "like a wife" cards since, but it occurs to me that "for my secretary" might be a specialized version of "like a wife." Something to remind you both that you have plenty of marriage-breaking blackmail material. Yow.

I wish they made the kind of cards I'd actually give. Something with a nice flower or a cat on the front, and inside the words "I love you too much to give you greeting card poetry," or (if I'm in a more serious mood) "I really appreciate the fact that you didn't let me screw myself up when I was a teenager. In particular I appreciate the less gentle prods, because I probably needed them more."

I'd also love to see a card that says "Hear me out: Some people might find gift cards tacky and impersonal, but you had to put up with me for eighteen years so you must know how bad my taste is."
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