Finding the right birthday card for a friend in prison is problematic.
I stopped into Hallmark. It’s like a church (chock-full of Jesus), and there is God-music playing. It’s about 87 degrees inside (they keep the heat on year ‘round), and I’m standing in front of miles of cards. Before I can start reading, the saleslady (who is also about 87) approaches and asks if she can help. I turn to her and open my mouth, but no words come out. It became an awkward moment, because if I had made any noise at all, it would have been laughter. Lots of it! And then I would have no way to explain to this little church lady that I was looking for the perfect birthday card for my best friend. And, oh yeah, he likes hot guys AND he’s incarcerated. So…whatcha got?
At that moment, every potential Saturday Night Live skit began swirling around in my brain. And I was all alone! No one to hold me up while I laughed until I peed myself! At some point, she may have thought I was nuts, and backed away.
So there I stood, perusing the shelves, and every time I would hit on what would NORMALLY be a funny/perfect card, I realized how awful it was. Do you realize how many cards say something to the effect of:
“It’s your birthday! Go crazy! Break a few rules!”
“It’s your birthday! Have a drink on me!”
“It’s your birthday! Eat all the cake!”
“It’s your birthday! Make it so great that you need bail money the next day!”
“It’s your birthday! You KNOW it was good if you wake up in jail!”
Anything involving going out, eating yummy stuff, or getting drunk/laid/arrested was out.
And yes, the irony was not lost on me. I had a few cards in my hand. But it’s almost like they were TOO ironic…that they had somehow come full-circle to “just sad”.
I mean, c’mon Hallmark! My friend isn’t the only dude to celebrate a birthday with a bunch of other guys dressed in poorly-fitting white jumpsuits while eating slightly bizarre birthday fare… Create a fucking CARD already! Sheesh!
My only other choices were religious. Of course. Jesus knows we aren’t going there.
So that’s my card story. We can laugh about that one later.
But seriously Hallmark, at the minimum, think about it.