I dread greeting card holidays. Seriously! Even when I’m the honoree, like today, I find little about them to enjoy. I’ve never been one to bask in attention given to me about, well, anything. It’s incredibly embarassing and sets off waves of anxiety for days before said occasion dawns.
When I was a kid, I bawled at my own birthday cake cuttings, when everyone sang “Happy Birthday”. (Had I known that there was a little white pill that could erase all traces of the nervous waves of agitation and fear coursing through my body, I would have been a pillhead at 5.) All eyes on me? Baby shower time, when everyone watches as the expectant mom opens each gift? Lord….it was horrible. Don’t look at me. Please. No. Avert your gaze. These have always been my mantras.
I have always regarded greeting card holidays with suspicion. Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Valentine’s Day, Administrative Assistant Day, Grandparent’s Day….there’s a “day” for every “title” now and we’re urged to buy gifts and cards and shower attention. Yes, I still went all out on my mother when she was living, but I never received the kind of gratitude one would expect. Maybe this is why I am kind of repulsed by the whole thing. Often, she would read the lovingly purchased card and just set it aside, commenting, “That’s nice” and gaze at whatever gift I chose with puzzlement or better yet, a question:
“A new summer robe? Well, I have one.” (Yes, and it’s stained with coffee and food and I can’t get it clean no matter how much I wash it for you and you never get dressed anymore so I thought this one in your favorite color would make a nice replacement but what the fuck do I know?)
“Oh, flowers? I hope the cat doesn’t knock them over.” (You’re welcome.)
“A necklace? Oh, it’s pretty. I just don’t know when I’ll wear it.” (How about to the nursing home when I haul your ass there because I am so tired of your shit! Okay, I never, ever would have said that. I damn sure might have thought it, though.)
My dad was not present, and would not and does not deserve a day in his honor, so Father’s Day was a non-event for me. I still dreaded it, because I didn’t have the opportunity to celebrate the way others did. Now, if American Greetings would like to sponsor a new holiday for people who grew up fatherless like me and name it Worthless Sperm Donor Piece of Shit Day, I’d be all over that business! A card would be purchased! It would be titled, “Fuck you, Asshat” and the verse would read as follows:
You suck. But I’m glad Mom didn’t douche. Thanks for nothing, Buttplug.
I’d lovingly brown bag my dog’s feces and set it aflame before knocking and leaving it on my dad’s doorstep with the card propped up prominently! I think this should be a “thing”. As a matter of fact, I encourage it.
Anyway, I guess my point is this: Zoloft and Xanax make days like this bearable for me, when I am touched and filled with love and appreciation from my kids and my friends who call me out and say, “Hey. You don’t suck as far as parents go.” It is nice to hear it and to read it all over social media. But why do we need “days” to celebrate the good people in our lives? I think it’s more important to celebrate them every day, in some way. Even if you only think about how fortunate you are, or, like my daughter and I are so fond of doing, send silly emoticons in texts to each other’s phone (One day, I sent her a goat. She replied with a cheetah. That’s as pure a sentiment of love as you’ll ever see.), you honor your love for them genuinely and authentically. Sure, that guy who works in the factory that makes the greeting cards needs his job, but there are plenty of other occasions to print cards for. Hell, here are some new ones I’ve thought of to take up the slack:
Annoy Your Neighbor With the Lawnmower at 6am Day
Stinky Old Man on the Bus Day
That Aunt Who Spits When She Talks Day
Pharmacist Day (For people like me, who adore theirs because they provide courage in pill form)
Walmart Greeter Day (Don’t write this one off. I DID this for 4 of the longest hours of my life recently, and these people are grossly underappreciated by multitudes of thankless assholes who don’t address with gratitude the fact that the wheels on their cart aren’t bockety because their greeter separated the shitty carts from the good ones. You’re fucking welcome!)
I’ll be waiting by the phone for my call from you awarding me for my genius, American Greetings. Well, maybe not.
Anyway, it’s just this. Love as a constant, daily affirmation. It is the best gift. Give it. That’s what I’ve got today.