Saturday, April 5, 2008

A crap birthday card

By law every market town in England has to have at least 4 greeting card shops on its high street. No town actually needs 4 card shops because they’re all identical. Imagine sticking your head inside a rainbow, that’s what it’s like walking into one of these shops. The colours assault your eyes. An Aladdin’s Cave of lurid ribbons, sticky bottomed ready made bows, shiny helium filled balloons, tacky gift bags, sparkly candles, cheap fluffy teddy bears that combust with a satisfying whoompf if they go within 12 feet of a naked flame, sheets of psychedelic wrapping paper hang on display, a bit like how I imagine Timmy Mallet’s towel rail to look, heart shaped cushions…at first glance it looks like a giant clown has spewed up all over the place. And then of course there are the greetings cards themselves. Every occasion is catered for, from births to death and everything in between. Now, a few weeks ago my brother would have found himself awkwardly shuffling along the aisles of a card shop much like the one I have described. He would have been in a hurry no doubt, because no man wants to be seen inside a card shop. Ever. His eyes would have been hurriedly scanning the shelves for a card for his older brother. That’s me. He may have paused briefly to check out the card with the footballer sporting a Mark Hateley hair cut, he might have picked up the one with the old fashioned racing car roaring through the chequered flag, or perhaps even the one with the football, rugby ball, cricket bat and snooker cue. He was probably losing the will to live when something caught his attention. His heart would have skipped a beat. Because there on the shelf was the perfect card. With trembling hands he would have made his way to the counter. His search was over. Here is that card.