The dearth of noncommittal greeting cards

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You’d be surprised by how few greeting cards just leave it at “Happy Father’s Day.”

Father’s Day was always a predicament when my dad was alive. Unfortunately for both greeting card writers and me, after my early childhood my father was no longer around. He wasn’t my mentor. He didn’t make time for me. He wasn’t there for me when I needed him. He couldn’t be relied upon. He wasn’t my best friend. He didn’t give his family the love they needed.

Although we maintained a relationship and I tried idealize him, I could never find a card that expressed, “Contrary to the reality of the situation, I’d really like it if you actually were my hero.” “You were a great dad for my first seven years.” “Despite everything, I still want to wish you a Happy Father’s Day.”

Mine, like many others, was a dysfunctional family. You can find dysfunctional family cards on the Internet, but they’re too blatant. “You put the FUN in dysfunctional” isn’t my idea of subtle or suitably (pseudobly?) acceptable and besides it wasn’t all that much fun.

I need greeting cards for the dysfunctional-family-in-denial. I’m looking for the card that makes the recipient feel as if s/he is receiving a conventional card, but in a court of law, you could defend that you didn’t say what they thought you meant.

I know I’m not alone in this predicament. There are thousands, perhaps millions, of us who get a knot in our stomach as Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day or anniversaries approach. The problem has has been compounded as more “Days “are foisted on the public. Now, there is Bosses Day on October 15 and Employee Appreciation Day on the first Friday in March. In Arizona of all places American Family Day, an official state holiday, is celebrated on the first Sunday in August. I can’t help but wonder if an ID is required when buying a card to celebrate that holiday? But I digress.

As the dreaded day approaches, you procrastinate as long as you can and then go to the store at the last minute only to discover that all the remotely applicable greetings have been snapped up by those less in denial. All that remain are are the sickeningly maudlin and the flagrant prevarications. Then you have to go to Whole Foods and buy an attractive blank card and compose something you can live with. That takes a lot of time and energy.

What I propose is the Noncommittal Card Company. NCC cards will be beautiful and expensive, printed on good card stock with lovely, but elusive, artwork or photographs appropriate to the occasion, The company slogan will be “When you still care enough to send anything at all.”

Here’s a sample of NCC greetings:

Mom, On this special day, I remember the ways, that you are a mother, unlike any other. Happy Mother’s Day”

To my husband, We’ve been together 20 years, Our life has brought me smiles and tears. Happy Anniversary”

Dad, Credit should go where credit is due, My self-reliance is due to you. Happy Father’s Day.”

The last one is kind of a stumper.  I’ll just stick with “Happy Valentine’s Day.”


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4 Responses to The dearth of noncommittal greeting cards

  1. janicelankford says:

    Thank you for writing these – I just love them. You really getting one thinking and smiling! You are so right on with your comments. For Valentine’s Day – Should be something that included the Mafia for Valentine’s day massacre. I have had a few Valentine’s who could have ended up that way! Happy Valentines from the girl who almost joined the Mafia. Hope you day is bloody bright. Keep up the great job.

  2. bafair says:

    I love NCC – Hallmark is missing out on a huge revenue stream.

  3. James says:

    Yes!! Totally agree! Even as I read this, I’m agonising about what the hell I’m going to write in the fathers’ day card in front of me. The best card I could find has the slogan “Father’s Day: It’s just like Mother’s Day, only you don’t spend as much”…

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