So there I stand on 11:49 pm, Tuesday night at the Jewel/Osco buying the Queen a birthday card. I need to buy a card because I forgot to on my way home from work, and the Queen will expect it sitting on the kitchen table when she wakes up. Actually, I have to buy two. The Princess also needs to buy Mommy a card, but she alleges that she can't go card shopping because "She Can't Read." Frankly, I think she just didn't want to spend the 2.5 hours is takes to pick out one birthday card, much less two.
Picking out the perfect card takes the endurance of a distance runner to wade through the crapfest produced by the greeting card industry. If you haven't visited the card aisle in a while, then you are a bad person. If you have tried to buy a winner, then you know that birthday cards only come in five different varieties:
Old age cliches: Insert crude picture with bodily function/saggy boobs/limp member/no sex drive caption. Inside there's a witty saying like "Happy Birthday, Old Fart." Hilarity ensures.
You're a drunk: Picture of a beer mug or martini glass coupled with a suggestion to get away and get trashed. Sadly no mention that drinking alone in the dark is a sign of alcoholism.
I'm cheap and you suck: This card explains to the reader that their birthday serves more as obligation than a celebration, and if they were a higher quality of person, then prehaps they would have gotten a gift instead of a card.
Annoying sound: Why should you be the only one irritated on your birthday? Now everybody's ears can be assaulted by the sound clip that may or may not correlate to what's written on the card. My favorite? "Where Were You (When the World Stopped Turning)" by Alan Jackson. Nothing says Happy Birthday like September 11th.
Irrelevant humor: Cards so criminally punny that they belong in the punitentiary. These crown jewels of cards usually are trapped behind the old age cliches--since someone accidentally picked up an OAC thinking it might be funny, only to slam it back into the first card slot they can get to in frustration.
I'm tempted to crack and just start sending out greeting cards willy-nilly. It's your birthday...you're getting a Congratulations Graduate! card. Baby shower = Happy Bar Mitzvah from your Step-mother. Retiring early get you the Romance (for her). If anything, I'm going to pick ten random people from the phone book and send them a Thank You card for existing.
So, just remember when you find yourself standing in the drug store at 11:53 pm the day before my birthday (*cough* August 17th *cough*), that to send the very best, try card stock bought in CVS.