Anyway, so supermarket at 6 a.m. One important thing to note: On my way to the card area, I passed several people who were doing their grocery shopping. At 6 a.m., the hour of the beast, on a Monday morning. Who were they? I wondered to myself. Those strange beings who inhabit the cleaning supply aisle before the sun rises on a new work week? Why were they so desperate for cleaning supplies? Were they germaphobic insomniacs? Serial killers? Ghosts of people who died while shopping for cleaning supplies?
Sadly, I didn’t have the time or the wherewithal to get to know their true nature better. I had to buy a card and get to the gym, where I could deliver it to its target and then prop myself up on an elliptical for twenty minutes or so while my senses sharpened.
As I was picking out the perfect card for the job – remember: a friend of a friend whose name I was only marginally sure I knew – I realized, I am really a very good card-buyer. I mean, I’m no hero but … oh wait I did that one already. Look, I’m a great card-buyer. If you want to be a truly excellent card-buyer, such as myself, you just need to follow this proven, five-step methodology:
- Put that sound effects card down. Everyone will think it’s funny … for like five seconds. It’s going to cost you big bucks and one of two things is going to happen. Best case scenario: It gets thrown out in a week. Worst case: It breaks and just keeps playing the sound over and over again until the recipient attempts to light it on fire with candles pilfered off his/her cake, but drops the candles, igniting the entire stack of presents. Congratulations, your clever sound effect card just ruined (inset holiday here).
- Ignore all suggested recipients. Just because a card says something about “To Dad” or “To My Father” on it, that shouldn’t stop you from buying it for your sister. Not if it’s a Grade-A quality card. Sometimes those sister cards can be real stinkers. You either play the “Dad” thing for a laugh, cross it out – also good for a laugh, or just act super serious about it. That will also get a laugh. You can’t go wrong.
- Ignore all suggested senders. Well if you aren’t going to let Big Greeting Card tell you who to give a card to, why should you let them box you in as a sender? If I see a card I like and it says “From your loving wife,” I’m going to do one of the things I suggest above and come out with a superior model card and some laughs.
- Ignore all suggested holidays. Honestly, ignore almost everything about the card other than the picture on the front, which we’ll get to in a second. I’ve given birthday cards as wedding cards, Halloween cards as birthday cards, anything goes, man. We should be living in the Wild, Wild West of card-giving, not toeing whatever line some Greeting Card suite traced in the sand. Card-getters will appreciate the uncertainty of it all.
- Always go with a cute animal. Literally every other type of card is completely valueless. People crave adorable animals on their greeting cards. It’s what gets them out of bed on their birthday each year. And we’re not talking about cartoon animals. We need honest-to-god, skin-and-bone animals. In a silly hat, if possible. And with an adorable, possibly misspelled caption. Grumpy Cat is your god card. Your skeleton key. Play her and it’s game over, you just won that holiday. Take a bow.