Am I the only LDS woman in the world who dreads having to buy a greeting card? You all probably have sunny, delightful relatives and co-workers, and you can buy any mushy card you like.
But all too often I find myself standing there reading a sentiment for someone I'd rather be un-introduced to. Chirpy wishes about "the many things you do for others" can't be sent to someone who does the least she can get away with, can they?
And it's no easier if you love the recipient. Take your husband, whom you adore. Doesn't it feel weird that some stranger (with pimples? Eating pork rinds? Doing drugs?) wrote a steamy, intimate message in your behalf? Or worse, a card that says, "I know I never tell you I love you" when indeed you say it all the time?
And how about sympathy cards that sound so confused? "We don't know why death comes," they say, when in fact we know the whole plan of salvation and we know exactly why death comes.
Greeting cards, which only started in the 1800s and believe-you-me did not include Secretaries' Day, have grown into mandatory attachments to any gift, and required expressions of compassion even when someone has a bad hair day. This mega-industry has us convinced that we should shell out several dollars every time we want to jot someone a little note. Wasn't there a Dr. Seuss book about chumps who fell for this same kind of marketing?
And still we rifle through the racks. Funny cards work in casual situations, but not when solemnity is expected. Blank cards would seem to be the solution, but if you're writing to a difficult person, your mind often goes as blank as the card, and there you sit, tapping your pen.
If we're going to send cards this often, we need cards that fit real life, cards that say:
"I'm sorry my daughter pushed yours into the river at Girls' Camp, however your daughter was on fire, after all."
"You graduated! Listen, after everything you've put your poor parents through, you ought to be giving them a gift."
"To a dear Aunt, who never remembers anybody else's birthday."
"Get well soon, since everybody knows you're faking it again just for the casseroles."
"I know we dislike each other, but isn't this your birthday?"
"Thank you for giving me so much tribulation, for it is through trials that we grow."
"Congratulations on winning the Pinewood Derby. I mean, on your dad winning the Pinewood Derby ."
"My deepest apologies for knocking off your toupee with the sacrament tray."
"To the happy couple, who probably won't be happy that I ignored the tacky gift list printed on your invitation."
"Thank you for teaching our little Jonathan how to play Hang Man every Sunday this year."
I have an even better idea: Buy a book. They're practically the same price, then you can just scribble, "with all best wishes" inside the cover. Wow, think of the points you'll make, when everyone else only gave them a card! I mean, think of the joy they'll have, knowing you gave them a whole book just for letting their mom earn an Eagle! Greeting card dilemma solved.