I was at Target shopping for a Valentine's Day card when a nice woman approached me with a smell of desperation and a side dish of confusion (strangers always talk to me for some reason). "You look like a husband and a father."
"Guilty," I said.
"Could you help me with something?"
"Absolutely -- shoot."
"Well, I want to get my husband a card, but I don't know what he would like. Should it be funny or from the heart?" This was obviously something she'd been thinking about.
"Well," I said and then paused a bit. "Can I be completely honest with you?"
"Please do," she said with a whisper of hope.
"Men hate cards."
The look on her face must have been the same one she had when she found out that Oprah was retiring.
"Really? Are you sure????"
"Yep, I've never met a guy who liked getting a card. We like getting gifts and hearing nice things, but with cards we never know what's waiting for us in there, we feel uneasy opening them, and let's be honest -- they're kind of a waste of money."
She had the same confused look on her face as John Mayer does when someone asks him who he's dating at the moment.
I could have gone on and on, but didn't have the heart to tell her that when we open a card, it's not unlike the bomb squad trying to diffuse an explosive device. The only difference is -- this one is going off regardless.
"Well, I guess you learn something new every day," she said as she pushed her cart away. I may have pulled the rug out from her gift buying adventure to one of the world's most annoying stores. But to know that there was just one guy out there who didn't get a crappy card made me feel good. My work for the day was done.
(The only exception to this rule is the cards we get from our kids. When we start getting them it really makes us feel like dads, until they get to an age when you open one up and think to yourself, "Man, his handwriting is brutal. I hope like hell he makes it out of 3rd grade.)
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