I love greeting cards. When I see a cute card, I just have to buy it, knowing that one day I’ll find just the right occasion. (And to prove it, I have some cards going back 30 years– still waiting …)
So last night, I needed a birthday card for a friend and unearthed one of those long-ago cards, a big glittery one with a bunny rabbit in a black formal coat playing the piano while all kinds of creatures watch. It’s a musical card — you open it and it plays a tune. It was in its original cellophane wrapper (slightly yellow from age) and I thought, “doggone, I wonder if this thing actually works.”
I took off the wrapper and opened the card. Nothing. Not a peep. I closed it and opened it again. Still nothing. I turned it upside down and shook it. Nope. I tapped it gently on the edge of the desk. Silent as a tomb. Well, dang. I tossed it in the wastebasket and forgot about it.
It was somewhere after midnight and I was sound asleep when my dream was invaded by a scritchy-scratchy noise. Sort of like mice in the walls. (Not that I have or ever had had mice in the walls. Never. Pretty sure.) I finally struggled awake and listened — it was nearby. I turned on the light and zeroed in on the wastebasket. There was the glittery greeting card making that little scratchy mouse noise. Maybe it was trying to wake up after its decades long slumber.
I gave it a vicious swat. The noise stopped. I went back to bed and back to sleep. Much later, the scritchy-scratch started again only louder and I was dreaming of being chased by mice. I was in no mood. Once again fully awake, I took the dratted thing, opened the front door and flung it as far as I could. Good riddance. I stumbled back to bed and drifted off to sleep.
So now it’s morning. The sun is up, the cats are too, I’ve started the coffee and am fetching the paper off the driveway and there right by the front door is the glittering little card. And now it’s actually playing notes. Not a whole tune, mind you, but discernible notes. Cute.
Picking it up, I walk across the driveway and toss it into the trash. As it falls from my hand, the notes come together and I recognize Beethoven’s “fur Elise.” Now I’m starting to feel bad about this. All these years it’s lain dormant in my desk drawer and now that I’ve awakened it, what do I do? I throw it in the trash. I feel like I just took a puppy to the pound. Geez. It’s a greeting card.
An hour later I’m in the backyard and I can still hear it in the trash can over by the gate. How long do these things play, anyway? Surely it will run down before long. Just before lunch I get in my car and I can still hear the plaintive tune like it’s saying “don’t forget me.” I can’t stand it! I get out of the car, open the gate and pluck the stupid card out of the trash.
“Okay,” I tell it. “Enough! Stop playing. I’ll take you back in.” I close the card, but it doesn’t stop playing. No matter what I do, it’s not going to stop. I shake it, I swat it, I turn it upside down. Just as I couldn’t get it to start, now I can’t get it to stop. It’s like the Sorcerer’s Apprentice. A couple of good whacks on the side of the house, but it keeps playing Fur Elise over and over.
I pry open the glue on the card which is holding the little recording thing and press it down. Nothing. I study the mechanism — can’t be too hard. Shaking, swatting, tossing bring no results. Finally, I realize there is a little plastic strip that fits into the little plastic disk. I carefully maneuver it in and … voila! … the music stops.
So now it’s sitting on the dining room table (it wasn’t in the dirty part of the trash can — just on some branches I’d cut off a shrub) and I’ll be hanged if I know what to do with the darn thing. The message is “Congratulations! I knew you Could do it!”
So will somebody please do something noteworthy so I can get this card sent to a person who really deserves it? It’s been waiting 30 years for you.