I have a love/hate relationship with greeting cards. I love them; I hate shopping for them. Picking out just the right card with just the right saying is torturous. Seriously.
Walk into a store that sells greeting cards, and you’re greeted (maybe “bombarded” is a better word) by rows of cards. Happy cards. Sad cards. Laughable cards. Blank cards. Sweet cards. Sappy cards. Not-too-sweet-and-not-too-sappy cards. You name the feeling, emotion, occasion, non-occasion and person, and there’s a card for it. Or him. Or her.
In the birthday category alone, subcategories are unlimited: for him, for her, for mom, for dad, for your brother, for your sister, for your brother who is now a sister (and vice-versa), for a stepchild, for a godchild, for a grandparent, an aunt, an uncle, a cousin, a co-worker, your boss … even your pet. That’s right. Even Fluffy can enjoy a greeting card.
The cards are beautiful, sitting there all lined up in a row—colorful and fun with mesmerizing covers. The outsides of cards have such great potential. Cute ditties. Cute images.
And then I open one. And then another. And another. And I’m hit with lines upon lines of words—poetic, sing-songy (and slightly arduous) wording. Sentences professing my undying love for another human being; my dream for a couple that their marriage be filled with years of passion and desire; my hope (for hopefully that same couple 25 years later) that the silver years were not only their best years, but the beginning of many more years together; my excitement in hearing that a stork has placed a teeny, tiny little baby into the arms of a deserving mother and father—a mother and father who are blessed by a blessing from God. Etc., etc., etc.
In addition to the excessive verbiage, the sayings never seem to apply to the relationship between me and the receiver. Too love-y, too sappy, too sad, too friendly, too distant, too much “roses are red; violets are blue,” too over-the-top.
It’s because of all the excessive verbiage that I crafted a greeting card-purchasing policy. If the card has more than 25 words, I won’t buy it. In fact, if the cover appears to have 25 or more words, I won’t even pick it up. Because, quite frankly, if I need more than 25 words to say what I’m trying to say in a greeting card, then I need to pick up the phone and call the person to whom I want to mail the card. Or send him/her an e-mail. Because, after 25 words, the card is officially a novel. And novels don’t belong in the greeting-card section.
I’ll continue shopping for greeting cards. And I’ll continue passing by those seemingly overstuffed with words. Some day, if I get into the greeting-card business, you’ll know which ones are mine: Say What You Mean to Say in 25 or Fewer!
[Note: My mom sends me cards with lots of words on them, and I love them because they are from my mom. I hope she continues to send them to me. Hi, Mom!]