Tuesday, May 03, 2005

In the cards

My birthday was more than six weeks ago, but since I'm very lazy and oftentimes surprisingly oblivious to my surroundings, I just got around to taking down my birthday cards. I'm sure Queen Latifah, with whom I share a birthday (same date, different year) had all her cards and gifts put away weeks ago. She probably had a whole room full of cards, and still didn't have them scattered about for six weeks. But she probably has someone to do that sort of thing for her, right?

In any case, in putting my cards away, three things made me laugh, despite the fact that I'd obviously seen them all before (and in fact had been staring right at--or through--them for weeks):

  1. From my little sister, a card that said this: "My cookbook says if I don't have two eggs, I can substitute three egg yolks... I don't think my cookbook understands my problems."

  2. From my good friends Dale and Jenny, a hand-made card that simply reads, "This card would be better if you were reading it in Branson." This probably isn't funny to anyone except me and them. If you don't think it's funny, you've probably never had to explain why your mother and father are so fond of the place Homer Simpson described as "what Las Vegas would be like if Ned Flanders were in charge."

  3. From my 93-year-old grandmother, it was not the card that made me smile, but rather what was inside the card--a $1 bill, secured in place with not one, but TWO firm staples.

  4. I should not still find amusement in this, as every card I've received from my grandmother in the past 13 years has held a dollar bill stapled inside. The second staple is new, however. I suspect she's getting more leery and cautious in her old age. Nothing is certain; the mailman can't be trusted; but that second staple will somehow ensure that her dollar bill arrives safely intact.

    In the past, Grandma has sometimes provided a suggestion as to what I might do with the dollar. Once she said, "Have a hamburger." Another time she suggested it might be useful in filling up my gas tank. (Apparently she was aware of rising gas prices, but not aware that it takes more than half a gallon to drive to work each day. Maybe she thought I had other old ladies sending me dollar bills as well, and together they would provide enough cash to fill the entire tank.) This one, however, was my favorite: "Here's a dollar. You can buy six popsicles. But don't buy red. You'll look like you're wearing lipstick." I think I was 23 at the time. If my grandmother thought cherry popsicle-stained lips were whorish and scandalous, I can only imagine what she must think when she watches cable TV. Bless her little 93-year-old heart.

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