My nephew is getting a birthday card with penguin on it that says "Gotta Dance, Gotta Sing, Gotta Do that Party Thing!"
My nephew is 32 and a big city attorney that lives in Chicago.
I'd nearly forgotten about his birthday and it was the best I could do on short notice.
Once you step outside the sweet and saccharin genre of cards, there are three remaining categories: body noises, babes and backsides.
The last time I looked at cards I inadvertently opened one with sound that replicated a large farmyard animal, well, you can guess. Cards about flatulence are big these days. ("When you care enough to gas the very best.")
This time I was on the alert for flatulence cards, but I'll be if they didn't get me with belching. I opened a sound card, and "BLECK!"
A kid with three nose rings and a Mohawk walking down the aisle sneered at me and said, "Try saying excuse me. Were you raised in a barn?"
A lot of things come to mind when I think of birthdays cakes, candles, fire extinguishers, balloons, parties, piñatas, streamers. Passing gas and belching have never been on the list.
Is it appropriate for an aunt to send a card about flatulence? Or belching?
I picked up a card that said it was made out of recycled fabric, opened it up, and the inside was made to look like a pair of dirty underwear. I gagged and grabbed for my hand sanitizer.
All I wanted was a simple card with a quip or a pun that would let a guy know we haven't forgotten about him. You'd think I was asking for the moon. They had that, too popping out of sun roofs, on top of a dog house and on the doctor's exam table.
So much flesh, so little imagination.
Another card compared a birthday to "ping in your pants." I haven't discussed the subject of whether my nephew "had to go" since he was two. His early 30s hardly seems like the time to revisit the subject.
Another card had a picture of an elderly woman on the front. When you opened the card, the little old lady offered to "b" slap the card recipient.
It's rough out there in the greeting card aisle these days. The way things are going, it's only a matter of time before Helen Steiner Rice ventures into dirty limericks.
The research and development on greeting cards is clearly being done in bus station bathrooms.
We spend $7.5 billion in this country on greeting cards every year. In a world of texting, e-mailing and social networking, we still like a card to hold in our hands. It's one of the last remnants of a personal touch.
Too bad the personal touch now comes with an open palm followed by a right hook.
Eighty percent of all cards are purchased by women. And card companies sure wouldn't be making them if someone wasn't buying them.
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