The Business CardOctober 4, 2006
Our office has an informal policy of circulating hallmarkish cards for key life events, like when employees leave, or have kids, or a member of their family dies. We used to do ’em for birthdays, but we have too many employees for that now. The card is equipped with a list of employee names, and you get it, write your trite three or four word note & cross off your name, then find someone whose name isn’t crossed off and give the card to them. This always poses a problem for me, because I have almost as hard a time resisting writing something funny once it’s occurred to me as I do saying something funny once it’s occurred to me, and bereavement cards are the wrong place for the uncomfortable joke. Or rather they’re the PERFECT place for them.
Last week, our company dwarf resigned after years of working here, allegedly to travel the world in a series of tiny little steps. This event necessitated the circulation of yet another card. After three pages of “Best wishes [name of dwarf]”, or “Have fun on your journey, [name of dwarf]”, I felt compelled to write something distinct. I ended up with “Good luck, [name of dwarf], we’ll miss the pitter patter of… well, you know”. He’s been gone for a few days now, but the little stepladder he kept in the handicapped stall in the men’s room is still there. Sometimes I use it to make myself feel like a giant when I pee.
A few months back, my boss’s father passed away. He was pretty torn up about the whole thing, and when the card circulated, I was in a bit of a quandry. I really like this guy, I’ve known him for a decade & he’s one of the better friends I have, so I wouldn’t ever want to write something to hurt his feelings. That said, when I received the card, it was full of page after page of “So sorry to hear about your dad” and “Our condolences are with you” etc. I wanted to write something that he would know was from me, and by way of how my logic worked, the one thing you’d wish for a friend in a time of sorrow is that they could move past it and eventually smile again. I ended up writing “Hey [name of boss], I feel awkward asking this, but is it too soon for me to ask your mom on a date?”
Eventually I suspect they will stop circulating the cards through me.