Only a couple of days left in London and I've been stocking up on birthday cards. Here follows the reason why.....
I was in our Western New York supermarket recently, looking for a birthday card. I just wanted an ordinary birthday card that didn’t have a weak joke that underlined the fact that many Americans don't share the British sense of humour. An ordinary birthday card that didn't have sixteen verses of soppy, lilac-printed poetry . This was not proving easy – though I suppose if I lived in Manhattan and not out in the sticks, the selection would be, how can I put this, a little more artistic. My eye couldn’t help straying, however, and soon I got caught up in a phantasmagoria of glittered offerings that ranged from special cards for your boss, your nephew, your sister-in-law and your New Love, not to mention your priest: “Dear Pastor, may you awaken to blessings each day and may mercies bring peace to your nights”, to cards marking Confirmations and Bar Mitzvahs - containing a little pocket for money - alongside those for Pet Bereavement and A Troubled Relationship: “No matter how difficult things are, I really want to start focussing on what’s right about our love”. Sneer not - they wouldn’t design these cards if people didn’t buy them – and believe me, an awful lot of people do buy them. I’ve come to realise that Americans, whatever their image on the world stage, just love to try and make people feel good.
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