The Card


This, quite frankly, is the most “risqué” blog I’ve ever concocted. Maybe ever will unless my life takes some strange, unforeseen twist. And after 2020, well… I’m actually eagerly awaiting the Mother Ship to come and suck us all away and drop us into OUR 2020, not THEIR 2020.


But anyway…


My intention isn’t to be insulting, offensive or judgmental. I try to keep my writing somewhere between PG and PG-13. But this content might, for some more fragile spirits, dip its toes into the R-rated realm. Just a dip, though.


Others, I hope, will find the true heart of the blog and think it funny (And that’s my intention: Funny, a break from the mundane and chaos for just a minute). So fair warning: If you’re easily offended, had some embarrassing round of bad luck, or perhaps you’ve been a little too risqué yourself at some point in your life, just stop reading.


And you don’t have to tell me you stopped reading. Please, for the love of all things wise and wonderful, just don’t tell me anything.


At all. Ever. About this blog and whether you stopped or not. I don’t want to know. I’ve stuffed my index fingers deep into my ear canals and I’m singing “LALALALALALALALA” as loudly as humanly possible.


I. Don’t. Want. To. Know.


For those of you thick-skinned enough to read on, things will become clearer as we go.


So, easily offended? Right now, just click elsewhere. If you do not heed my warning, read ahead like the stubborn person you are, and then scold or shun me later, I’ll kindly remind you that you failed to follow the directions clearly outlined above…


Seriously. You were warned.


Got your big-girl panties, everyone?


Here we go.


Last year about this time I ran out of greeting cards. I don’t send many, but I do take spells where I’ll send “real” mail. I was in one of those moods and a good friend was about to go in for surgery, and Walmart’s selection of sappy, run-of-the-mill cards just wasn’t doing it for me. I like the snarky cards. Ones with a little spunk and spice. (Imagine that!)


So I went to Etsy and browsed the one-of-a-kinds there. Support the creatives directly. Cut out the big-box middlemen. (Seriously, please do that. Small businesses, artists, musicians, *ahem* authors…)


I ran across a shop that specializes in snarky-on-the-outside, blank-on-the-inside cards and filled my cart. She offers some straight-up cute ones, pretty and proper ones, too.


But I bypassed those because I was in full-on snark mode.


And I like the blank ones. It’s a rare day when a stranger writing canned sentiments for the Greeting Card Company knows anything of how my particular people operate…


I scored the perfect surgery card.


Stocked up on birthday cards for my gang, who are equally snarky and enjoy a good laugh. You know. The kinds of cards you wouldn’t send to the typical grandmother in your life who’d declare, “Well, for Heaven’s sake!” and then give you a lecture on appropriateness.


Found some cheer-up cards. Because even before the Grand Virus of Dismay, people needed cheering.


I came across a card that doubled me over laughing. Not just a smile. But a doubled-over belly laugh with a dose of “I can’t wait to send this to someone.” I put two—TWO—of that design in my cyber shopping cart, paid the bill, and eagerly awaited my very own “real mail” package full of “real mail.”


The cards didn’t fail in quality. Nice designs, bright colors. Good, sturdy envelopes. Very pleased.


The surgery card was a big hit. Had just the effect intended with the right amount of “I really do care about you” mixed with a fitting, friendly level of humiliation.


The birthday cards, likewise.


And I eagerly awaited the perfect recipients for my snarky cheer-and-encouragement cards. It didn’t take long, because, well, even in 2019, life happened.


I brought the card out. Enjoyed the artwork again. Smiled again.


Uncapped my pen.


Opened it to the inside to write something personal and relative, and…


I froze. The logical, think-it-through-stupid, part of my brain that had turned off during the greeting-card shopping spree came back online, and I saw my purchase in a whole new light.


The front of the card holds a jar of yellow daisies on white background. In fancy black lettering, the greeting says: At least it’s not herpes.

Herpes.


Then the brain buzzing “What Ifs” started.


Oh. My. Goodness.


What if the recipient (who I think is snarky like me, but maybe not) finds this offensive? What if *gasp* they have herpes?


Then, not only have I failed to cheer up my friend with a fitting, friendly level of inappropriateness that says “I really do care about you”, but I’ve also insulted, enraged, and dredged bad memories from the miry clay.


What if there’s a detail of this particular friend’s life that I know nothing about? Because which of you in casual, friendly, or even best-friend conversations would bring up a medical diagnosis of, well, a rather embarrassing nature? Not many—like not a single one—in my circle would.


What if they do find it funny, they don’t have herpes, but they show it to someone who does have herpes? Then the vicious circle starts again…


What if this?


What if that?


To be clear: I don’t think the recipient I had in mind for this card has/had herpes. But I don’t KNOW one way or the other.

I capped my pen.


I put the card away. Tucked it next to its twin, because I bought TWO.


I turned myself into that Greeting Card Company writer with the canned sentiments. I sent the intended recipient a text that said I was thinking of them. To hang in there.


Because it was the safe thing to do.


No way.


No way am I sending this to TWO people I know and care about and hope that:


1. They’ll find it funny, because they’re screwed up like me.

2. Neither of them has herpes.

3. The roommates/spouses, etc. of the recipients find it funny (not that many people are screwed up like me).

4. The roommates/spouses, etc. of the recipients also don’t have herpes.


Now, I could write a story with this scenario and not give it so much consideration (and I might use it in a small scene someday far off, but if you’d like the dilemma to use in one of your story scenes, go right ahead, I’ll not mind). The characters would be humorously offended, life would go on, and you, my dear readers, would close the book and go about your day.


Even if you have herpes.


Because it’s fiction. And coincidences happen all the time in fiction. And I didn’t write the story personally to you or about you. It was written to the masses, so to speak.


However, holding a card delivered by your trusty mail person, signed by someone close to you, baring the name of a mostly sexually transmitted disease would likely cause a different response. Because this is real life. Especially if you have herpes and now believe that I have inside access to your medical file.


Or your ex.


Or your exes.


See? This is why I don’t want to know. “LALALALALALA…”


Don’t email me. Don’t message me.


I’ll be too busy searching the electronic White Pages for two complete strangers five or ten states over to send these cards to—without a return address. (Wouldn’t that be a gas!)


But do check out this shop on Etsy. Stone Donut Shop. From courteous to slightly-more-than-irreverent, her cards will make you smile. Even her tag line says “We make cards that don’t suck.”


I agree. They certainly don’t suck.


I may go get myself into some more trouble over there today. I’m almost out of “give-them-a-stroke” cards…


Thank you for hanging out for a bit. Check back on Mondays for a new blog or revisit older post on my Archive page. Don't forget to come back on the first Monday of every month for a free fictional short, and be sure to visit my Amazon page.