At the outset, it seemed like a simple enough task. Stop at the pharmacy and pick up a birthday card for my brother. Nothing fancy since we only see each other every ten or fifteen years, give or take. The extent of our communication is occasional calls to each other, usually to explain why our Christmas, Thanksgiving, Easter, Anniversary, or Birthday greeting card is going to arrive late.
When I select a card, I am kind of picky about the sentiment. I mean “Yo dude, hope your birthday is sick” isn’t going to cut it. It has to say something that I want to say. I buy a card for the sentiment, not the picture.
When I arrived at the store, I ambled down the card aisle until I found the birthday cards. I quickly found greetings to Mothers, Fathers, Sisters, Aunts etc. Apparently, no one ever sends a card to an Uncle. Somehow, they never seem to make the cut because I can never find a card for them and I dismiss the notion that they are so popular that they sell out immediately upon hitting the display. I also found cards to my best friend, to my sister in law, to my neighbor, to a teacher, husband to husband and, somewhat surprisingly, to the dog. Ultimately, I did find a couple to brother, but they were in the funny card section and, when you are turning 83, there is not a lot that is funny anymore.
Since I am easily distracted, I started to peruse other cards of a more generic nature. To nephew, niece, son, stepson, classmate, veterinarian, mailman, etc. There were also a ton of sympathy cards, ironically, sandwiched between the birthday cards and the get well cards. Now that’s what I call marketing. The only thing missing was a BOGO sale. Moving on, I looked at retirement cards, christening cards, and those cards with dates. Happy 1st, 5th, 21st, etc, however, once you got 50, skipped all the way to 100 and it looked like it had been there a while. It had a picture of a woman in a Victorian dress. Probably just a coincidence. I stumbled on some “wish you were here” cards (shouldn’t they be next to the sympathy cards?) and some of those pocket cards that accept money. I momentarily entertained sending him one of those and telling him to buy his own damn card, but quickly dismissed the thought. I didn’t want to spend any more money on him then I had to. I also thought about sending him a congratulations on your bar mitzvah since he is a retired Methodist minister, but suspected the humor would be lost on him. So I finally did what I usually do. I bought an “Across the Miles on Your Birthday”. It’s kind of a cop out, but, hey, it was going to get there late anyway.
When I was leaving I wanted to ask the clerk if they had any “Wishing you a Happy Divorce and Good Luck with that Tibetan Monk thing, but I was afraid she would say “Yes Sir, they are right next to the ones that say “From The Cat”.