I've got a bit of a dilemma. It involves a greeting card. And my grandfather.
Granddad's been having a tough time recently. Grandma, too, for that matter -- by association, at the very least. The details are... well, fairly important to many of us, but not so much for describing my dilemma. Which is this:
My grandfather is a tough old guy. Wiry. Scrappy. An old Navy man who worked in a steel mill -- and not a proverbial steel mill, either; I'm talking the real shit here -- for much of his adult life. So although he's mostly a 'family man' these days, he's not the most touchy-feely geezer out there. Think Andy Rooney mixed with Andy Capp, minus the eyebrows. That's in the right ballpark.
But like I said, he's having a tough time of things right now, and I'd like him to know I'm thinking about him. We talk on the phone now and then, but I thought I'd send him a greeting card. One of those non-specific, hand-wavy 'Hey... you!' sorts of cards. The kind that are theoretically 'good for any occasion', but are mostly appropriate for no occasion at all.
(And incidentally, the most diabolical, devious, evil card you could possibly send to a member of the opposite sex on Valentine's Day.
Any other day of the year -- fine. But on February 14th, a 'Thinking of you, my friend' card will inevitably unleash that mental maelstrom of:
'Do they... like me? And do they like me like me? Were they just being nice? Are they finagling their way into my pants? Should I just punch them now?'
Believe me, I know. Those are the only Valentine's Day cards I've ever gotten. Hell, my wife even gave me one, this year!
For the record, I didn't punch her. But I think she might like me like me! Homina!)
So, the 'thinking of you' card. All well and good in concept -- until you need to send one to my grandfather. The retired steelworker, who fought in Korea.
(I'm still not clear this happened during any particular war, mind you. All I know is that he got into quite a few fights. In Korea. And in several places in the Pacific, on the way there. And back.)
Right now, for instance, I'm sitting here looking at a card. My wife bought it for us to send, and on the surface, it's wholly appropriate to the situation. It shows that we care, and we're thinking of him, and that we hope he's doing well. Perfect.
It's just... that on the front, it has a picture of Snoopy, from Peanuts, holding an envelope up to the sky. Just above, it reads:
'Okay, sunbeams, into this envelope!'
Now, I mentioned that the man's going through a rough patch at the moment... but I'm not so sure it's a rough enough patch that he wouldn't drive all the way here to kick my ass for sending him a Snoopy sunbeam card.
Not that he's ever kicked my ass before, mind you. But I also stopped sending him sappy-assed cartoon greeting cards when I was about four years old.
Hey, I love my grandpa. But the dude poured molten steel for a living. I'm not pressing my luck, yo.
So now, the dilemma. Do I send the card, or not? Worst-case scenario, he gets the card, flies into an apoplectic fit, and has to be medicated into a deep sleep while muttering:
'Lousy pansy-ass Snoopy-sending sonofa-- SOMEBODY BETTER SWIRLY THAT DAMNED KID!!'
On the other hand, maybe this card is just what he needs. It could give him a purpose, a new goal -- take it easy, live right, and feel good enough to rent a car to drive up here and personally beat the living shit out of me. That'd take some planning, too, which ought to take his mind off things.
I suppose that's the answer, then. I'm sending the card. Maybe grandma will intercept it, and relay the spirit of the message, as opposed to the clingy-sweet letter of the card.
But just in case -- I'm keeping the doors locked and the lights off for a few days. This is Snoopy we're talking about here! With an envelope full of sunbeams!
Jesus. Granddad's gonna be pissed!