The next day, she told me that she had found something. Hallmark was holding a contest to design an "everyday" card with no particular theme other than it could be given to someone on any given day to brighten said day. Being the honest guy that I am, I try no best not to lie (unless it involves going to jail, paternity, or especially jailhouse paternity), so I went to the website she had given me and entered the contest; losing what little of my credibility and self-respect I had left in the process.
What followed was a piece of resistance (I sound stupid when I try to say things with an accent, and look equally as stupid when I try to type them) that was conceived by a father of roughly three minutes of thought and a mother of just about double that amount of time; which is odd because I don't think that description made the least bit of sense.
The computer I had at the time has since crashed (read: I watched a porn starring a gal so dirty that she managed to give my computer a virus; but God, was it worth it), so I don't have the actual "design" (and I use that term loosely) that I made. So, I'm going to do my best to recreate it for you all now. Basically, all it consisted of was a picture very similar to this:
Under said picture read a caption, "Hey, you, pull my finger." When you opened the card, it said something along the lines of, "Life is full of tough choices." Let the evidence show that I am nowhere near above making a fart joke or laughing when someone farts. I include queefs in that, by the way, because I knew a few of you ladies were wondering.
I felt pretty good about myself considering I had basically just simultaneously avoided doing something I did want to do and kept a promise to a friend. I sent in my submission and not surprisingly, I did not win the contest. Surprisingly, however, I was chosen as an "alternate." I didn't quite make the finals, but I was just on the outskirts; which is pretty much the story of my life.
Here is a portion of the email I received, as kind-of-sort-of-half-ass proof:
From: Hallmark Contests [Email Address]
Sent: Fri 3/28/08 5:57 PM
This isn’t just another “Dear Contestant” letter. This is to tell you that we have fallen in love with your card idea. But love is a funny thing. The easiest way to put it is… you’re an Alternate.
You should be proud of yourself. Even if you’re not, we’re proud enough of you for both of us. And now you’re probably wondering, “what does it mean to be an Alternate?” Wonder no more, we’ll tell you!
Should a Finalist be disqualified from the competition, we will replace the Disqualifyees with the designated Alternatees.
And that’s why we need the following designated items from you lickety-split (and by “lickety-split,” we mean 3 DAYS):The enclosed legal forms signed and dated, saying that the work you submitted is really, for real, yours and totally created by you...
It went on to say that I had to fill out paperwork that was going to be sent to me via FedEx, go to their website and fill out a profile and upload a picture, etc. The next day, the paperwork arrived and I read it over. They asked the things you'd think are pretty standard, such as your name and birth date. They also asked your favorite snack food, least-liked ethnic group, penis/clitoris size (I didn't even know there was a standard that could be used for both), Body Mass Index, and then strayed into the same questions that James Lipton asks at the end of every Inside the Actor's Studio episode.
Now, I'm no lawyer, but I did almost get a job as a paralegal once -- mostly because they needed someone to make coffee shovel the sidewalks during winter. I'm no conspiracy theorist, either, but I didn't like the fact that I had to grant them permission to use my name and likeness however they deemed fit. Can you imagine a life-size cut-out of my ugly mug propped up in the greeting card section of your favorite store? I have enough experience with actually standing around and creepily staring at people in stores to know that is a horrible idea. Someone who should take it as a compliment and just be flattered is instead going to take offense, and then someone else is going to tell someone how they should have taken it, and then that someone else is going to get maced, because someone is ungrateful. I don't need my name attached to that sort of thing for a fifth time.
So, in the end, I decided against sending in the paperwork. I passed up my sure shot at glory, hoping that maybe one day another would come along. When it did, I was instead passed up by those in place to judge; which actually hurt a lot more, so I just block that entire episode out. Fuckers.
I sometimes wonder what would have happened had I sent that paperwork in. Would I have won? Almost certainly. Would I have quickly shot up the ladder of competitive card writing? As quickly as the novelty of those musical cards wears on you, to the point that you'd light it on fire while your child was holding it just to never have to hear it again. Forty years from now, would someone have found me face down at my desk, lying in a pool of both vomit and blood -- because I doubled up with the liquor/pills and wrist slitting as not to leave any chances -- with a card laying beside me that read, "Happy Retirement...From Life," signed, "Hate - Me"? Somebody might still find me like that. Tomorrow.
Despite the salty taste this experience left in my mouth, there is something about the holiday season that just gets me in the greeting card mood. Maybe it's just me. Is it just me? Yeah? Well, whatever, Scrooge. I hope one of those three ghosts that will be visiting you impales you with a giant piece of broken glass. Or, at the very least, uses their "ghost powers" to knock your drink over into your lap and leaves you nothing but a greeting card to dry off with. Ghosts love irony just as much as the living, if not more.
I wrote the majority of this while we were balls-deep into the holidays. I had been thinking of dusting off the ol' keyboard and trying out a new design. It was a little late to do a Christmas theme, because the kind of perfection I seek takes time, and I will settle for nothing less. No one really hands out New Years cards, and even if they did, the recipient would be too drunk to remember ever having gotten it. We all know that card-giving, along with gift-giving, is not about making the other person happy, but about making the other person acknowledge that you've done something nice for them with a thank you, so New Years is not going to work, either.
That brings us to Valentine's Day, and personally, I think that is perfect. There is no other holiday --save your anniversary, which isn't a "holiday" per se, and thus doesn't count -- that, whether good or bad, elicits a stronger emotion. It's a day where you either rejoice in and celebrate the best thing that has ever happened to you, or secretly loathe and wish the worst thing that ever happened to you.
I've been bouncing a few ideas around in my head, in-between bouncing bouncing breasts around in there, as well (a few times the bouncing ideas and the bouncing breasts collided, which resulting in some great ideas that sadly couldn't be sold in most stores), and I think I've come up with a pretty solid erection -- just kidding -- idea.
I didn't want to go with the standard, "I love you so much; you light up my life; I don't know what I would do without you" message in my card, because that just seems cheap and not from the heart. I wanted to say something that really touches someone in their soul -- something that makes them relive the entire experience over again; from meeting, to falling in love and what made you fall in love in the first place, to wanting to spend the rest of their lives together, to present day and their dreams for the future, and everything in between. I wanted to make them feel what it is to be "in love."
I wanted the true essence of love.
So, I've taken something -- a poem -- that has always given me that feeling, and I think I've come up with something great. I hope you feel the same, but above all else, I simply hope you feel:
Yes, when I first met my Spottieottiedopaliscious Angel, I can remember that damn thing like yesterday
The way she moved reminded me of a Brown Stallion horse with skates on, you know
Smooth like a hot comb over nappy-ass hair
I walked up on her and was almost paralyzed
Her neck was smelling sweeter than a plate of yams -- with extra syrup
Eyes beaming like four karats a piece -- just blindin' a nigga
Felt like I chiefed a whole "O" of that Presidential; my heart was beating so damn fast
Never knowing that this moment would bring another life into this world
Funny how shit come together sometimes, ya dig
One moment you frequent the booty clubs, and the next four years you and somebody's daughter rasin' y'all own youngin'
Now that's a beautiful thang
That's if you're on top of your game and man enough to handle real life situations, that is
Can't gamble feeding baby on that dope money -- might not always be sufficient
But, The United Parcel Service and the people at the Post Office didn't call you back because you had cloudy piss
So, now you back in that trap -- just that -- trapped
Go on and marinate on that for a minute