Just been talking with a friend about greetings cards and how they never say the things you really want them to say. Father’s Day for example. I love my dad dearly, but ‘if dads were flowers, I’d pick you’ is not something I would ever say. Or let’s say your mum always told you that you were a mistake. In this case, ‘you’re the world’s greatest Mum’ won’t hit the spot either. What I’m really looking for is a card that says ‘Dad, you screwed up in places but you did your best. Ta’.
Wedding anniversaries present a similar problem. Maybe it’s just mine. Once I’ve rejected the soft porn options and pictures of farting animals (occasionally these slip through the net but that’s because a constipated chimp is always funny), I’m left with something like this: ‘Darling, since I met you, every day has been a constant joy. You are my sunshine. Thank you for completing me’.
I’m not sure who’s written this, but the windy monkey springs to mind. No offense Glen, I love you dearly. But you’re not my sunshine. Sunshine is my sunshine. And being Irish I don’t even like it that much. Nor do I want bunches of flowers as a sign of your undying love. I’d rather have the money. Or something that won’t glare at me accusingly as it takes four days to die. My greetings card would read less poetic, more pragmatic. Like a sexy shopping list. Except not sexy.
‘To my husband. Thanks for marrying me. Overall, I’m really glad we did it. Some of it’s been really fun. Some’s been bloody awful. I’m sorry for all the ready meals. Thanks for rubbing my neck and generally being lovely. Please, please stop leaving the lid off the toothpaste. Now let’s crack open a bottle of Lidl’s finest bubbly’.
Then there’s Christmas. Except of course, it’s not Christmas. It’s ‘Happy Winter Solstice’. Easter is all about Mr Flopsy and his bunny friends. Don’t even get me started on Valentine’s Day – I feel murderous just thinking about it. Pity the man who asked Glen if he wanted to buy me an overpriced rose – I had to be peeled off him, still foaming at the mouth.
I guess what it comes down to is this. We’re being guilt-tripped into scripted displays of emotion. Every day is a celebration of someone – and if you forget, it’s evidence that that you’re a callous skinflint with no redeeming human emotions. Instead, we’re blackmailed by computer generated sentiments we’d be ashamed to whisper in the dark, let alone give to our parents.
Sometimes, there’s something to be said for a bit of healthy repression. And a bag of toffee fudge can speak volumes. You know what I mean, right?