The Tyranny of Greeting Cards

She went easy on me…this time. My wife presented me with a birthday card for my nephew and asked me to sign it. She did not ask me to inscribe it with some words of love and respect, and, for that, I am grateful. My gratitude is not because I don’t want to express love and respect for my nephew. He’s a great kid. I’m happy because I have been appointed the greeting card laureate in this house, and it’s a position I loathe.

It started when I pursued a degree in literature, implying that I have a love for the written word. I went on to make the tactical error of writing a couple books, clearly signaling that I am interested in writing. Because I am more inclined to put pen to paper than the other members of my household, I am the default greeting card inscriber. It’s a writing specialty I’m not comfortable with. Just because I can string sentences together does not mean I am the right guy for every writing assignment that comes by.


Rita Rudner once said that just because a guy is funny at parties doesn’t mean he can be a stand-up comedian. A comedian has to be funny at 8 o’clock. Similarly, while I can write books, I do it at my own pace, which could be described as erosional. I can’t be clever, witty, charming, heartfelt, and profound when presented with a 5 x 7 birthday card that needs to get put in the mail today. It takes me years to be clever, witty, charming, heartfelt, and profound.

The most distinctive feature of my writing is procrastination. I will go to great lengths to not write. Television is my primary weapon of mass distraction, but, strangely, writing blog posts is another way I avoid writing. That is, I write blog posts rather than work on my next full-length book. That’s correct: I write short pieces to avoid writing long ones. That’s some serious avoidance behavior. Perhaps I should re-think my disdain for greeting card inscription. It’s clearly another opportunity to avoid staring at 150 blank pages of my next memoir.

By the way, while I complain about being pressed into writing well-wishes, my wife quietly does the thankless job of being the official greeting card purchaser. Without her, our friends and family would not be acknowledged for any birthday, graduation, or anniversary. Thanks, Lynn. You do a great job buying cards. All my love…(see, I’m terrible at brief gestures of respect. I really need to get started on the book).


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