Contrived card days

I gave up on contrived card days years ago. The pain that made me award Valentine’s day the top prize for ‘most unnecessary day ever’, still sticks in my mind. A brain-stain that I know will never leave me.

I was a young man feeling in a romantic mood (randy) and had purchased a single rose off an authentic looking gypsy woman for the princely sum of one pound. Wrapped in a dark polythene covering of romantic smoky blue, the red of the rose was startling and bright.

It was (so I thought) guaranteed to melt the heart of the lucky lady (I can’t actually remember who it was – there have been so many), and I knew I would get what I wanted without too much effort, (I was young and foolish). She would swoon (there’s a word you don’t hear much these days), and be mine in a flash.

This over-confidence lasted up until the moment I handed her the package and the red rose promptly detached itself from the stalk it had never been attached to in the first place.

To cut a long story about a short evening er…short, along with the card that was supposed to play Volare but squeaked to a halt after the first ‘O’, I ended up looking a complete idiot or as the lady described me,  ‘A dick-head’.(Note: A pattern that was to follow my romantic pathways for the rest of my life).

Since those early disastrous days, I have always resented the designated card-buying days set by none-other than the scheming and greedy card companies themselves.

Especially Mother’s Day.

Expensive and unnecessary.   I loved my mum most days of the year (except when she made me sit in darkness for hours on end, in the cupboard under the stairs). She didn’t need a padded piece of throwaway cardboard in the shape of a heart to know that I loved her. And anyway, I tried it once and I failed.

My dear old mum never forgave me for going my own way and choosing a card that I thought carried an interesting painting of white Lilies. It was different and unlike the usual rubbish I had seen. It was in my mind classy and printed on something that looked like it wouldn’t disintegrate in the rain.

OK so it was a condolence card. A ‘sorry for your loss card’. How the hell was I supposed to know? It was plain inside because apparently you were supposed to compose you own heart-felt message although not necessarily, ‘Love you Mum. Have a great day’.

My family I think were at least partly to blame for my hatred of these contrived card days. I remember receiving cards that I knew were for me because they said so. ‘SON’ embossed clearly at the top of the flimsy piece of cheap cardboard in an effort to remind me who I was. You can still find them stacked up in W H Smiths in the section marked ‘IDIOTS’ stating the bloody obvious…’DAUGHTER’, ‘MUM’, ‘GRANDAUGHTER’. I recently saw ‘STEPFATHER’ for God’s sake.

Don’t get me wrong. There’s definitely a place for celebratory message cards. But I would always suggest you make them yourself. If you have to put an effort in, it means more.  And if you are not the handy sort, I’m sure there’s an episode of ‘Blue Peter’ somewhere on You-Tube where the unfortunately-named Peter Purves shows you how to make a card with just a toilet roll, a tampon and a roll of stick-back plastic.

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