Cruising the greeting card aisle while shopping the other day, I had a thought.
By Allen Clark
Cruising the greeting card aisle while shopping the other day, I had a thought. Next time Rye assembles cultural artifacts for a buried time capsule, why not just stuff it with an assortment of birthday, anniversary, valentines, get-well, graduation, and friendship cards from the past century of Hallmark offerings. The alien opening the vault will get a good picture of our changing styles and interests over time.
We could start with the lace-bordered valentines from the 1920s (“You know dog-gone well I want to be your Valentine!”), get-well wishes from the ’30s and ’40s (“We’re counting the days till you get better!”) and the sweetly sung birthday wishes to your spouse from the ’50s (“Have I been dreaming all these years or has a princess like you really been a part of my life?”).
Somewhere in the ’80s or ’90s those sentiments morphed into not-so-poetic to downright insulting sentiments. You can find them under the heading “Humor.”
Humor, of course, is good medicine and can be the basis for a very good card. But sending a card to someone’s grandfather with the message, “Hope your birthday is as warm as peeing in your pants,”? While it’s wonderful that people are living longer so that we’re seeing more cards for 90-year-olds and centenarians, whether that very senior citizen likes to see himself depicted running down the boardwalk with his trousers slipping down is another matter.
Which leads me to ask: Why isn’t there a Greeting Card Rating System?
With apologies to the Motion Picture Association of America:
G – “General Audience, All Ages Admitted” – Card contains no nudity, sexual content, or strong language. Card is deemed appropriate for young children.
PG – “Parental Guidance Suggested” – Card contains some profanity, violence, or brief nudity, but only in relatively mild intensity and with intended good humor.
R – “Restricted. Under 17 Requires Accompanying Parent or Adult Guardian.”
NC-17 – “No One Under 18” – Originally “X.”
This would make the Great Card Search a lot less time-consuming. (Of course, it would have no effect on the fact that you need a bank loan for the average card purchase these days, including the added postage required for the outsized envelop, encased electronic chips and extra weight.)
Actually, right now you don’t have to block out a couple of hours to search for an acceptable greeting card at the store; you can shop online. For example, at http://www.zazzle.com/insult+cards there are such winning covers as “Don’t Try to Be Charming, Intelligent and Witty. Just Be Yourself” or “I’m Not Insulting You, I’m Describing You.”
I haven’t begun to quote some of the other cards in the racks or online because, after all, this is a family newspaper. But our time capsule needs full representation. And, who knows, that alien might just like “You’re a monkey butt.”