It’s got nothing to do like the time I pretended I had ‘man ears’ and ignored Jans suggestion: “Gary, please just stop and ask someone for directions!”
It’s got nothing to do with not knowing how to use our cars GPS– that’s supposed to lead you to where you want to go, but doesn’t.
I’m lost because my Mom celebrated her 96th birthday–that’s right 96!! Like most men I’m not good with words–unless I’m screaming at a football game! So I needed to buy a birthday card.
I’m still recovering from the whole incident, so this is my best recollection of what happened…
I’m standing in the greeting card section of a department store.
In front of me are rows and rows and rows of racks and racks and racks of greeting cards. It’s longer than the lineup to the women’s washroom during halftime at a football stadium.
Unlike IKEA stores where you have to hike along a twisting aisle through acres of glassware, furniture and into the next County where every eating utensil ever invented is displayed–department stores make it easy. They arrange all the greeting cards in two categories: ‘Holidays’ and ‘Special Occasions.’
Well not so fast ‘Mr. Can’t Express His Sentiment Without A Hallmark Greeting Card.’
The ‘Holidays’ and ‘Special Occasions’ sections are just the beginning…
The ‘Holidays’ section has numerous subsets: Christmas, Easter, Halloween, Mothers Day, Fathers Day, Grandparents Day, Thanksgiving…
It turns out that a birthday isn’t a ‘Holiday’ but a ‘Special Occasion.’
On my way to ‘Birthday’ in the ‘Special Occasions’ section I passed Wedding, Sympathy–which is different from Wedding– Graduation, Newspaper Carrier, Mail Carrier, Carrier Air Conditioning (I added this to see if you’re paying attention!) and Babysitter.
Finally I’m in Birthday. But wait ‘Mr. Middle Age Man Who Can’t Say Anything Sentimental’…
Birthday is subdivided into EVEN MORE categories. There’s His, and Hers. In the Hers section it subdivides again into: Mother, Mother-in Law, Step-Mother, Mother-of-the-Bride, Grandmother, Great-Grandmother. There’s even Mother Teresa!
All I want is a birthday card for my mother! I’d even settle for a card with one of those dials you spin around until the number 96 appears!
And then it happened…
‘ATTENTION SHOPPERS. IT’S CLOSING TIME. PLEASE BRING YOUR PURCHASES TO THE CHECKOUTS RIGHT AWAY.’
I hadn’t even begun to read the cards! %#||%#!!!
The next day I return. Eventually I wind my way past Bar Mitzvah, Retirement, Best Wishes, Care & Concern, Friendship, Miss You, Love, Marriage, and Sad To Hear Your Dog Died.
Whew! Almost there. I’m on the home stretch making my way to Special Occasions, to Birthdays, to Hers, and FINALLY to Mother!
What’s with all the women? They are– get this!–actually picking up each card AND reading the words! I mean you’d think the words are actually important! HUH?
Guys grab a card and the first thing we do is turn it over to see how much it costs! If it’s less than $3.99 we read the front cover. If the words aren’t too schmaltzy we buy the card!
About now things are about to make a turn. It isn’t pretty…
Would Mom like a humorous birthday card? Or how about a card that played music? I opened one musical card and I swore the University of Michigan Marching Band was parading down between the racks of cards! At least it wasn’t Snoop Dog!
I could also purchase a mushy, syrupy card. Or even a card that was blank on the inside so I could write my own birthday message to Mom. The price on this one was just as expensive as the others but with a plain inside!
Suddenly the overhead PA system came on. I began to shake like I was Trumps spokesperson about to appear at the daily press briefing. Was the store going to close again–and I still hadn’t chose a card…
‘Attention shoppers. Visit our women’s lingerie section where our expert bra fitters will give you the fit you deserve.’
I DON’T NEED A BRA FITTING! I NEED A BIRTHDAY CARD FOR MY MOM!!
It was a stampede! Ladies dropped the cards they were looking at. They tripped over themselves like they had spotted Justin Bieber– running to get the fit they deserved over in the lingerie department!
Ahhh now I had the entire greeting card section to myself–NOT!
The free bra fitting was a ploy! Store staff descended from Hallmark Heaven to replenish the stock. It was the last week of July– time for Halloween greeting cards, cards for next Christmas AND St. Patrick’s Day 2018!!
The boobs in the greeting card business won out!
Gary Chalk a retired Canadian baby boomer has written for the Erma Bombeck Writers’ Workshop and is a member of Humor Writers of America. Each week over 3,000 people across North America read Living Retired. To unsubscribe or to book Gary’s keynote address visit http://LivingRetired.press
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