Friends, Romans, future shareholders, I hope…
In days of yore, tribes of nomads would spend months planning elaborate, multi-day feasts to commemorate “special” occasions. Luckily, we live in an age where that level of foresight and dedication, along with a willingness to dance stark naked around a fire, are not required to fulfill one’s social obligations. (Excepting, of course, one’s twenty-first birthday.) Yes, thank the stars, for we exist in the best of all possible worlds and at a time where observing the necessary social graces can be done via proxy. Specifically, it can be done via brightly colored cardstock containing a bit of out-of-context verse so ostensibly moving it’s liable to give an angel the runs. Yes, we have improved. But we can do better.
Years of testing by Hallmark and similar syndicates in charging $4 for six cents of material and a bit of verse from a man (or woman) too dead to demand royalties has proved that the human race can successfully adapt to expressing vaguely benevolent situational tidings in a written medium. Yet the problem continues to be that written well-wishers are forced to be painfully explicit as to what event in particular motivated them to postmark blessings to begin with. This seems unnecessary, which is why it is time for less specific greeting cards. The world is ready.
Presently, in order to purchase the card that most accurately corresponds to the occasion being celebrated, one needs to know what is being celebrated, when it is being celebrated, and who is doing the celebrating. To this is added another unknown – i.e., the date by which the card must be postmarked in order to make it seem like you care. If nothing else, we should all be able to agree that this is an unacceptable amount of variables for any one person (and particularly any one person of the male gender) to keep straight. This is, of course, particularly true for those of us who have long ago quit tracking our ages in terms of mere numbers and have instead gone to a simplified system of measuring years of life in terms of “when we could buy beer,” as opposed to “when we could buy beer legally.”
Right now, special occasion cards are like sniper rifles in that the target needs to be carefully sighted in and the shot taken when the ideal moment is at hand. Whereas for those of us with a Y chromosome (and let us be honest, this whole firearms related metaphor is for individuals with a Y chromosome), it would be better if commemorative cards were more like shotguns – i.e., so long as they’re pointed in the right general direction, one is bound to hit something or someone. So having made my case, please allow me to present “Vagueries – cards for those who haven’t quite mastered this whole Gregorian calendar thing.”
Rendered on my ink-jet printer in bold black and white, using only the finest of remanufactured cartridges, Vagueries occasion cards are perfect for any special occasion or, for that matter, any decidedly normal occasion. We’ve just rolled out our new line of “you (have/had) a birthday (soon/not long ago)” cards. The front simply reads, “Happy birthday,” thus bypassing any embarrassing, off-by-a-decade, age mistakes. Inside it reads, “I think your birthday is coming up or already past. Either way, have a good one.” Honestly, the only way to go wrong with this one is if it actually shows up on their birthday, and those odds are three-hundred sixty-four to one against, and slightly better during a leap year.
This might also be a good time to remind everyone about our spousal PR line-up. Featuring a sappy sounding Shakespearian sonnet excerpt in every card, these little works of art are the perfect way to put words to how you really feel about your mate. Let’s read the front, shall we?
As I’m sure many have figured out, prevention is the true goal of the Vagueries card line. Why look like a forgetful fool and miss the occasion entirely when one can preempt it and simply look like a fool? That’s a savings of one-half of one’s dignity, if nothing else. Granted, Miss Manners might not approve, but hey, most of those rules are unwritten, so why can’t we add unwritten addendums?
And why should we have to wait until the unthinkable happens to mail out those sympathy cards? Everyone’s already bummed at the time anyway, so it seems silly to bring it up then. With that in mind, Vagueries has created the world’s first “preemptive sympathy card.” The front reads:
While the inside message is one of our most heartwarming yet:
Finally, we hope to release our most general card line of all in the next few months. We call them the “‘Sup” cards. This is only a prototype, but we think it’ll get you excited. The front is blank, in case anyone has the wild urge to do some customizing. (Although, to be frank, if you’re interested in these cards, odds are the terms “wild urge” will never be applied to you.) And inside, it reads:
Does that not say it all? Well, of course it doesn’t. But, you see, that’s the point.