Tuesday, September 07, 2004


Left behind by a roommate of Martina’s: a Freedom Greetings card “For A One of a Kind Niece,” decorated with abstract, spastic askterisks in pastels and silver glitter. Inside is this inane message:

There’s no one quite like you,
and there could never be,
You’re really loved
by your whole family.
So when your birthday’s here,
sure hope that you will find
Your day is just like you —
and that’s one of a kind!

“Love you lots,” it’s signed, “your ‘Aunt Mary.’”

Now, why would anyone leave such a lovely card behind when moving? Could it be an inability to reconcile the message — that the recipient is “one of a kind” — with the fact that this is a mass-produced card, being bought by thousands of thoughtless relatives a day and given to thousands of mildly confused and disappointed girls? Could it be that, in furtherance of the “we care so much about you that we bought you this card” message, this cheap, ugly piece of cardboard was addressed “Dear Michael,” instead of “Michelle”?

The Freedom Web site continues the fiction, noting that the company has long been “providing the consuming public with insightful, inspired thinking product making our greeting cards truly unique,” the proof being that surely no other greeting card company would think of asserting that a niece is “one of a kind” or include a poem saying straight out that she is thought well of by her family (in fact, “really loved”).

The site has news, by the way, reinforcing the vital role the company plays in the dispassionate, objective service of humankind. The latest news, as of today, is a month old, from Aug. 2, and tells visitors that “CHRISTMAS SEASON IS HERE.”

That is one of a kind. Most people are waiting for Halloween to declare that it’s Christmastime.

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