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Monday, January 31, 2005

 

When You Care Enough to E-Send The Very Best

I just sent a friend of mine a birthday e-card. How fucking lazy am I? I've fallen back on these a lot over the last few years. In my life, I've rarely been able to get it together enough to send regular cards. I went through a period in the mid-90s when I sent Mother's Day cards Next Day Air five years in a row. Sometimes I got busy and forgot. Sometimes I was too poor to buy a stamp until the day before the frigging thing needed to be there. Sometimes I was just such a complete and utter sloth that the card sat, stamped, ready to go, on my desk for a week and I just never got up the willpower to pick it up and drop it in the mailbox. Pathetic.

So now I use e-cards, which present their own particular problems. For one thing, there are certain people in my life--not to name names, but let's just say that I wouldn't be here without their sperm/eggs--who, through no real fault of their own, but rather a sort of generational lag, don't really have a good handle on computers. Actually, their handle is just good enough to be able to read this and then chide me for my slander. One might call them technophobes. One might also call them luddites. One might also call them People Who Don't Much Give a Shit About Computers. Sending an e-card to them is somewhat like sending a yo-yo to a paraplegic. It ends up being too frustrating to be worth it.

Another problem is that it's just not as personal. Granted, there's nothing all that personal about a greeting card created by a multi-national conglomerate to begin with, but at least with the paper version, the greetee knows that you took the time to swing by the drug store/grocery/Hallmark Gold Crown/adult bookstore to look for something for them. E-cards let you do it while sitting on your fat, hairy ass. This is assuming you've got ass-hair.

The main problem with e-cards, though, is one that you run into with regular greeting cards as well: they mostly suck goat-tits.

This is why I have, for years, engaged in the practice of sending completely inappropriate cards to people. I know that I'm not going to find a card that perfectly expresses, "You're my cousin who I haven't seen in four years and now you're getting married. You didn't invite me, but my mom said I have to send you something, so here's a crock pot. Have a nice life." They don't make those. They don't make cards that say, "You're my friend because you cleaned vomit off of me and kept me from hitting that biker dude that time in that one place." They make cards that say, "Happy birthday from both of us." Wow. Doesn't that say it all? This is why I send Bar Mitzvah cards to my friends on their 31st birthday. It's why I send Congratulations on Your Promotion cards to couples on their anniversary. It's why I pick the most egregiously bible-thumping card I can find to my agnostic friends and Ziggy cards to my most cynical friends. If the card isn't going to say what you really want it to say, why pretend it's even close.

I'm going to say right here and now that I think this sort of anarchy is needed now more than ever. On the day when AT&T merged with SBC; at a time when Bush wants us give our social security money to the stock market; in an era where Amazon.com suggests five hundred things you ought to buy based on a web page you looked at once by accident because that's the way they've taken the old McDonald's "suggestive sell" approach to mind-boggling new heights, we need to skew their numbers.

Hop on Hallmark.com. Send "To a Lovely Bride" cards to your gay friends. Send something from the Mahogany line to the most caucasian person you can think of. Send an "I'm so think I can't horny" card to your priest ('cause he probably is, y'know). Let's make Hallmark think that the public is wanting, nay, demanding more of the cute little kitty cards, but for cancer victims. Let's fuck up their marketing.

Or are we now too lazy for even this?

Comments:
My next birthday is my 31st. What a coincidence.
Happy Bar Mitzvah to me!
 
One of my favorite e-card sites from three or four years ago was www.cruelcards.naken.cc

The cards were purposely poorly drawn and often violently angry. My favorite was the one I sent to my buddy Dan on his 31st birthday. The illustration was that of an enraged mid-crucifixion Christ, glaring and struggling to move his hand enough to flip off the reader. The caption read: "You're such an asshole, even Jesus hates you!"

Classic. Too bad that site got shut down.
Update: the site was MOVED to http://bluechunks.naken.cc/
Check them out if you have the time!
 
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