My wife, The Queen B, was searching for chocolate-covered radishes or radish-covered chocolates. I forget which.
My bride was in hunting for the perfect Valentine’s Day gift. She must have been unable to find appropriate motivational socks.
We were in a big box store, but it had many other things than big boxes.
She had determined many years ago that I’m of little help in gift quests. I’m more of a hindrance.
While she headed off in one of the directions, I veered. I detoured to the greeting card rack to read the funny and clever cards. I wasn’t the only one. Others were there chuckling along with me. We were a choir of chuckleheads sharing giggle-inducing cards. The cards ran the gamut from birth to death. The sympathy cards weren’t humorous.
I don’t just look at the greeting card library, I buy cards, but I have to look at more than I buy. To buy more than I look at is insanity.
Sometimes a mouth gets cold feet and you need a card. A handwritten letter would be better, but not everyone deserves the best. We give them a card instead.
When I was knee-high to an extremely tall grasshopper, I visited the Rexall Drug store. They had an excellent library offering the world of magazines and comic books. I read the comic books and MAD Magazine as rapidly as I could because the friendly proprietor would show up eventually and yell, “Are you going to buy something? This is no library!”
Ancient magazines were available at the dentist’s office. I’d look at Life, Look and The Saturday Evening Post magazines as aquarium fish watched me. I see magazine displays along the checkout lines in stores today, but they’re periodicals for which I’m not the target audience.
I send out Christmas cards each year. It’s part of my job description. I’m not good at it, but I try. I always get cards from people I hadn’t sent one to. This occurs when it’s too late to send one and blame the late arrival on the poor post office. My Mama didn’t raise no fools. The neighbors raised me. One year, I attempted to get ahead of things by mailing out Christmas cards on July 5. An aunt called to ask if the card was for the coming Christmas or last year’s Christmas.
Why greeting cards? We appear in people’s lives at wonderful times and at awful times. We offer support made of paper.
I heard a man grumble to his spousal unit as he sorted through greeting cards offering a plethora of pithy sayings, “There’s no card for it.”
I don’t know what “it” was, but making things better requires a heavy lift. We don’t know what to say and we’re not good at saying nothing, so we send a card because there is a card for everything.
There are cards for those who have had their sense of humor surgically removed and cards to congratulate someone for being marginally competent and graduating.
You’d think the phrase “he’s a card” came from greeting cards, but the earliest recorded use of “card” in this sense was in 1836 by Dickens, in which he referred to someone as “a knowing card.” The usage sprang from playing cards, which had inspired phrases such as a sure card, safe card and best card.
I thought of getting my wife a knowing, sure, safe and best “Curses! Foiled again” card in case she couldn’t find the chocolate-covered radishes or the radish-covered chocolates, but I decided not to.
Before I located my wife somewhere in the giant maze of stacked shelves, I encountered a friend who had several family members die unexpectedly in a short period. She hugged me and said, “I’m going to punch the next person who tells me everything happens for a reason.”
Well, I knew what I wouldn’t say.
I’ve heard the best thing to do is to be silent and listen, but I needed to say something.
I searched for the perfect words. None were available. I said I was sorry.
I went back to the greeting card display. I tried to find the perfect card to send to her. There wasn’t one.