A little over a year ago FCN published a treatise for the stereotypical male on how to prepare a greeting card that expresses the heartfelt emotions that are generally communicated by grunts and nods among males. You can't very well growl at someone on her birthday, but most people expect some kind of affection. And since Hallmark, the standards for appropriate celebratory sentiments can be very high. Here's what we said a year ago:
Guys can't write greeting cards. Whether the occasion is Christmas, a birthday or simply a “thank you for the dried rutabaga, it really made my day,” we males are completely inept at developing any kind of decent note. Maybe it's the testosterone that destroys our cheesy receptors and makes us send schlocky cards we regret moments after dropping them into the mailbox. Or maybe its [sic] that we never put in the time to learn how to send a happy notice. Or perhaps the ability to write greeting cards is repelled by the "Y" chromosome. Whatever the reason, the end result is that we can't formulate a decent card. (Emphasis in original)Our treatise advised a generic card front with an unoffensive and universally appealing image and provided several lines for use, all of which carried a certain happy gravity and a ubiquitous quality that made them perfect for any occasion.
Some of the faithful few didn't like our PreFab card. "Lady A," a reader who has since stopped commenting (thanks for the tissue), groaned and "Anonymous," our most prolific commenter, said that "[t]he idea of a card is that it is personal it is something you took the time to write because you are thankful/happy."
I was unconvinced of the card's deficiencies last weekend when I loaded the PreFab guide to use as a template to prepare a sweet message to my mother for Mother's Day. That's when I realized, we didn't have anything for Mother's Day! None of the generic lines even mentioned the second Sunday in May. I panicked. And, though the wilderness survival people say that you never make your best decisions when you panic, I stumbled across a major breakthrough in derelict social behavior and added another chapter to the FCN Manifesto.
I sprinted down to my local card shop, intending to pick up something cheesy and cheap. When I got to the Mother's Day card rack, my heart skipped a beat. $4.49 for a folded piece of colored paper? Yikes! I could get lunch for that. I thought briefly about pilfering it, but giving your mother a purloined card on a holiday celebrating maternal virtue struck me as nothing short of dodgy. That's when it hit me like the light my roommate turns on when I'm trying to sleep. I didn't actually need to steal the card to take its sentiments.
A pen and paper were quickly produced and I reapproached the card aisle with new resolve. Starring at all those cards felt like looking at Where's Waldo puzzle. I was supposed to pick out a good card from the plethora offered, an impossible task given my genetic deficiency (the pesky Y chromosome). I could hardly tell an insult from a blessing; how could I trust my judgment in this important matter?
This is where the PreFab Greeting Card gets really ingenious. It doesn't matter which card you choose. They all work. These cards are written by women, for women. If we males try to intervene with the intra-gender communication, we could mess everything up. It's best to just leave a beautiful thing alone and let Hallmark make our moms happy.
I reached for the closest card and scribbled down the message it contained. It said something about "through thick and through thin" and "you've always been the best," but that didn't matter, I just wanted the words. When I got home, I inserted the all perfect image -
- and printed it off (color is a good idea). I stuffed the result into an envelope and gave it to her with a big grin and a long hug. The end result is a well packaged sentiment at much less caloric and financial cost than most alternatives. Derelicts the world over can exhale.
I really wish I could have had this out last week so all you guys who struggle with this could have had an easy exit, but now you'll be prepared for next time.