Monday, April 16, 2007

When you care enough to send the very best

Patty here...

As you all know, shopping a greeting card can be a tricky business. What kind should you buy? Mushy? Funny? Somewhere in between?

I know I can’t give my mother a funny card for Mother’s Day. It has to have cursive script and sappy poetry that makes you burst into tears just reading it in the card shop. When I told her I was writing about greeting cards for my post today, she told me to mention a really funny one she was sending to her son-in-law. I was surprised because my mother doesn’t do funny. Here’s what it said:

Son-in-law—We can’t take credit for your great personality. Good Looks. Intelligence. Or Thoughtfulness…but we’d still like to brag about you if that’s okay.

Oh yeah, that’s a knee-slapper all right.

Sometimes I buy cards for no reason and sometimes I like the cards I buy so much I can’t give them away. I looked through a few in my file the other day. There were several picturing Westies. Gotta keep those. Some cards were yellowed with age. Some seemed funny when I bought them but not so funny now. For example, here’s one I bought for an old boyfriend. Can’t remember which one. It only cost sixty cents so it's eligible for carbon dating by now. Lucy is pictured on the front, mooning over Schroeder.

Love me or leave me!

You open the card and see Schroeder walking away in a huff. Lucy is chasing after him.

Let me rephrase that.

Hmmm. Wonder what was going on in my life back then?

I once read that puns are the lowest form of humor. So sue me. I love them. Here’s a card from a while back. It shows a bunch of yellow bananas next to one green one. It reads:

If loving you is wrong, I don’t wanna be ripe.

Here’s another favorite of mine. Obviously a novice has typed the message on an old typewriter. There are cross outs and letters that are unevenly inked.

DeaR Animal-CracKer PeOple:

I did nOt receive my full complement of zooloGiocal shapes in my most recent purchase of your crackers. NotaBly missing aRe: tHe Deer, the Beaver, aNd tHe Dingo (fOr which I only received tHe head).

PleaSe advise.

Inside, the card reads:

PS: Also nOtably missing: you.

It seems funny on the surface, but there’s an underlying loneliness in the words that makes me picture Eleanor Rigby in a third floor walk-up, pining away for those missing animals. I think I’ll send this card to Our Jacqueline Winspear. Maybe she can ask Maise Dobbs to sort out the psychology and lead the investigation.

Here’s a card that’s a take-off on the old “Badge 714” TV show. I might send it to Jim Born and ask him to consult ATF agent Alex Duarte. Duarte might even have to make an arrest because I believe exposing your small furry creature is illegal—even in Florida. The card reads:

This is the city. 1:37 a.m. The city sleeps. A million weary people lie in bed or sit staring out the window, trying to make sense of it all. Sometimes one of them gets the urge to pet a small, furry animal; that’s when I go to work. My name’s Friday—I carry a badger.

Inside the card is a picture of a man with his trench coat open, exposing this little guy.

Here’s one I’m going to send to Cornelia Read's Madeline Dare. Madeline and Ellis can riff about those "shoulds" and make me laugh—in a noirish sort of way.

Every woman should know how to use a stick shift; a plunger, understand the difference between Don’t tell a soul and Don’t tell a soul I mean it; know her mind; change it; use special china; and special underwear; for no special reason; over commit; come through; refuse to do it again; do it again; be able to discuss first and ten; have better things to do; dance crazy all alone; stare at a phone…

I don’t think I bought this next card for anyone in particular. It just made me laugh and laughter is always a good thing. I've decided to send it to Paul Levine and ask him to pass it along to Victoria Lord. Her relationship with Steve Solomon is getting a little too hot to handle and I want to warn her of the consequences. The front of the card is all flowery and sweet looking. Here’s what it says:

If you love something, set it free.
If it returns, you haven’t lost it.
If it disappears and never comes back,
Then it wasn’t truly yours to begin with.

and if it just SITS there watching television
unaware that it’s been set free,
you probably already married it.

Happy Monday!

P.S. Here's a link to a very cool article from the Los Angeles Times featuring friends of NakedAuthors Denise Hamilton, Naomi Hirahara, and Gary Phillips. It profiles the new "Los Angeles Noir" short story anthology. Click here.

If you can't find the perfect card,
then send this post instead.
You'll make this writer really glad
And save yourself some bread.


  1. Hi Patty,

    I collect cards the same way I collect kiddies Picture Books - mostly for the art, but sometimes for the words. A favourite was sent to me some years ago, and I can't remember the exact wording, but it went something like this: "Scientists all over the world have spent years searching the night skies for weird and alien,I gave them your phone number."

    Sometimes I buy sappy cards, and sometimes I buy sentimental ones: depending on the person, their state of mind at the time, and the occasion. Sometimes, I buy ones just for the hell of it as a day brightener. :-D

    Thanks for a great post.

    PS: I have six blank greeting cards in publication - all fantasy pieces. :-D

  2. I love the elephants on that animal card! And that last verse made me chortle - I remember sending the original to a boyfriend (I must have been sloppily in love). I saw him years later with his wife, and walked away thinking "Whew, close shave there." He'd turned into the free man couch potato who had not an ounce of spirit about him. And do you remember those Susan Polis Schultz cards and books? Thet were hand-made for those in the throes of romantic angst. And I love the card I sent my brother for his 40th birthday - it was a photograph of masses of marbles, and inside I wrote, "Thought I'd make up the numbers." I gave him a bag of very lovely glass marbles as a gift too. Bless him, he laughed.

  3. I particularly like the one you're sending to Madeline Dare. It's not only a great card, but it's got words to live by!

  4. Marianne, your artwork has been used in greeting cards? That's really really cool!!!! Though I can see why. It's beautiful.

    "Whew, close shave there." I can so identify with that, Our J.

  5. Hey, Louise, glad you like the card. There was more that I didn't include, things like "see a wrinkle and be reminded of her youth; not her age." Yeah, as if...

  6. I can vouch for Patty collecting way too many cards, because she actually sent me one.

    My very favorite two cards were from my wife for my birthday and a farewell card from the staff when I left Barnes & Noble.

    The birthday card showed a precious little illustrated teddy bear wearing a party hat and waving. The front of the card said, "Look! It's Timmy the Birthday Bear!" Opening the card revealed the remainder of the sentiment: "Try drawing him out in the open so I can get a clean shot."

    The farewell card showed a 1950s photo of large middle-aged woman in a cotton dress with a scowl on her face, sitting in a dining chair smoking a cigarette. Upon opening the card, the sentiment was, "Behave or Aunt Bunny will kick your ass."

  7. Omigod, James! I LOVE the Timmy card. And having met your lovely wife I can now attest to her exquisite taste in spouses AND greeting cards.

  8. I love good cards and tee-shirts.

    My current favorite shirt is "Mess with me and you mess with the whole trailer park!"

    It's a Florida thing.


  9. Great post...

    I can spend hours in a card shop, and usually come home with no fewer than 20. I'm looking at a great one right now; there are a couple of snazzy-looking gals on the front, with the message "So many men..." On the inside, "so few who can afford us". Can't wait to have the opportunity to send that one ;-)

    I also like the cards that are very textural. My card store sells cards that turn into mobiles, and cards with sequins and beads on them, and one card with a cat on the front - and the cat actually has a furry tail. Love it.

  10. Hey Born, I think we should adopt the trailer park motto on our official NakedAuthors T-shirts.

    Rae, I bet you had "Pet the Bunny" when you were a toddler. I love touchy feely cards, too.

  11. Hi,

    I realize this entry was made a couple of years ago, but I just stumbled upon it recently when I was trying to find the "My name is Friday. I carry a badger" quote.

    I had that card several years ago, but I don't anymore. I bought it to give to a friend, but I loved it so much I wanted to keep it or make a copy. Apparently I did neither.

    Any chance you have the card that you can scan? I remember the image of the man with the badger in his coat is just priceless. :)

    There is a TV series filmed in England called Midsomer Murders. It's based on the novels by Caroline Graham, five of which were turned into episodes.

    The first episode was called "The Killings at Badger's Drift." Someone in the props department decided a badger would look good on the police officer's badges. So lo and behold for the past 12 seasons they've been carrying badgers. LOL! :)