I have a friend who became an executive for Hallmark cards in Kansas City, Missouri.  I don’t know if he is still there.  But years ago he was on the Hillcrest High School hall of fame board.  If my books and/or music becomes popular my picture might join his.  I bet he isn’t there for writing.  Actually, I’d rather sell a million cards than earn a million dollars because more people would appreciate having the cards and sending them to loved ones than care about how much money I earn.  

     I remember back in elementary school that we had to make boxes to receive valentine day cards from all the classmates.  I forget what the cards said.  But now that I’m an adult, if I receive a card from someone, it is the thought that counts.  I’m used to funny cards as many people are.  I’ll give some examples of funny statements for various occasions.  

     Some people like disgusting pictures.  I remember back in New York around 40 years ago an assistant manager I worked for got a Christmas card with a skinny naked Santa on the front.  I would never appreciate getting a card like that.  But some like disgusting cards like that.  Some cards are profane or have pornographic pictures.  That isn’t new.  During Colonial times there were lewd drawings on many playing cards and profane statements have been popular for over two millenniums.  I’d rather deal with decent cards with decent statements on the face and inside the card.  

     Many popular cards have funny pictures on them.  With so many pictures on the internet to choose from, as long as they are in the public domain, there is a picture for all occasions.  Card companies are lucky.  They have photographers, graphic designers, writers, and a legal department that secures the rights to copyrighted pictures.  Just because you like Mickey Mouse doesn’t mean you can create a greeting or birthday card with his image on it and sell it in drug stores.  The mouse is still owned by Disney.  Pictures on the internet are owned by web sites and using them without permission can get a person sued for copyright infringement.  If you like an image and want to use it for a card, always make sure you check with the web site.  If you are creative, take your own photos or draw your own images.  And just because an image has been around forever, don’t think you have the right to degrade it.  A naked Statue of Liberty might be allowed in “Hustler.”  But I don’t want to see that image.  

     I like to see cute pictures and funny ones.  I love to see pictures of kittens and babies.  Combine babies with kittens and you’ll get a lot of aws from me.  If I were a little boy of nine and received a birthday card with nine tiger kittens on the face I would know the significance of the number.  Inside could be the statement: NINE LITTLE KITTIES FOR A NINE YEAR OLD BIRTHDAY BOY.  HAPPY BIRTHDAY.  It may not be profound.  But for a nine-year old whose favorite kitties are both named Tuffy, I would appreciate it along with the $10 bill in it.  When I was nine, $10 could buy me a lot of candy and soda.  

     If a young man sent a card with the picture of a baby on the face to his girlfriend, it depends on his girlfriend’s attitudes as to how she would receive it.  If she likes being complimented for her appearance, the statement inside might be: THE BABY IS CUTE BUT NOT AS CUTE AS YOU.  If she wants to get married and start a family the statement might be: OUR FIRST ONE IS GOING TO LOOK CUTER THAN THE ONE ON THE FACE OF THE CARD.  If she just likes pictures of babies the statement might be:  A SWEET PICTURE FOR A SWEET PERSON TO ENJOY.  HAPPY BIRTHDAY.  

     I like puns and sarcasm and clever statements.  On the face there could be the picture of the butt crack of a plumber.  Inside the statement could be:  A CRACK EXPERT TOLD ME IT WAS YOUR BIRTHDAY.  On the face could be a bulldog eating a weiner.  Inside the statement might be:  IT IS A DOG EAT DOG WORLD.  DON’T WOLF DOWN YOUR BIRTHDAY CAKE TOO FAST.  On the face could be a fallen skier who is flat on his back at the bottom of a ski slope.  The statement inside could be:  DON’T LET BEING OVER THE HILL GET YOU DOWN.  If on the face there is a fisherman with a little fish hanging from his stringer and he ia talking about the big one that got away, inside the statement might be:  YOU THINK YOU LOOK GOOD FOR  39?  THAT’S REALLY A WHOPPER.  HAPPY 80TH BIRTHDAY.  

     For my birthday a couple years ago I received a birthday card from my sister that had on the face the Star Wars statement:  A LONG LONG TIME AGO……  When I opened the card, the Star Wars theme played.  The inside statement was:  Y0U WERE BORN.  If I had on the face someone bulching and when I opened the card there is the sound of a belch the statement might be:  HAPPY BURP DAY.   If on the face there is an old man in a bathrobe and slippers in a grocery store with a shopping list in his hand pushing a full shopping cart there could be a thought bubble above him that says:  I THINK I FORGOT SOMETHING.  Inside the statement could be:  AT LEAST I DIDN’T FORGET YOUR BIRTHDAY.  

     When a person writes a card he has to consider the feelings of the people that will receive it.  Language is important.  Try not to use profanity or words that would upset people.  Sometimes jokes aren’t understood.  Just because you think something is funny doesn’t mean everybody will think it’s funny.  Years ago when I visited the Museum of Radio and TV Broadcasting in New York City June Ferrer who did the voice of Rocky the Squirrel and the man who did the voice of Boris Badanoff appeared.  June said Rocky and Bullwinkle was written to make the writers laugh; not just children.  That might have been why the comedy was more sophisticated than the children’s shows today.  Greetings and brthday card writers need to know what people of all ages would appreciate.  If you’re writing a birthday card for a child, don’t use sophisticated jokes or images.  If you’re writing a birthday card for an older person, don’t dwell on death or remind the recipient he or she isn’t long for the world unless they look forward to going to Heaven after they die.  

     Sympathy cards walk a fine line in many areas.  Do you want to encourage someone to get better or just comfort them because they are dying?  Do you feel their pain and are empathetic  or just glad you aren’t in as bad of shape as the person receiving the card?  Do you feel sorry for someone or do you think they should be blamed for their condition?  Religious cards are often welcomed by older people that have a Christian upbringing.  Let’s say a person is dying of cancer and knows they don’t have long to live.  I would write inside the card: MAY THE LORD OF DIVINE MERCY AND COMFORT GIVE YOU THE GRACE TO NOT DESPAIR BUT LOOK FORWARD TO THE DAY Y0U SEE THE FACE OF YOUR SAVIOR AND YOU ARE SAFELY IN HIS ETERNAL EMBRACE.  For someone looking froward to entering their home in Heaven, this simple assurance of safety in the arms of a loving God in Heaven might ease the pain a bit and help them look forward to a graceful death.  As a Christian, death is just a transition from this temporary existance on Earth and the discarding of mortal flesh for the acquisition of a perfect and immortal body in an eternal realm with a loving God.  Christians may sorrow some.  But we have a hope that allows us to smile even as the angel of death is reaching his boney hand to clutch our final breath from our nostrils and our souls ascend into Heaven where we’ll never again taste the bitter dregs of death.  If the words you write are the last words people read before their names are read by Saint Peter in Heaven, if you meet these people in Heaven and tell them you are the author of the words they either read or were read to them, they will smile and might thank you before God tells you, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant.  Enter into the joy of your Lord and Savior.”

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