Hope All Your Tricks Are Good Ones

In line with my dislike of holidays and “planned happiness” is my aversion to greeting cards. For me, a pre-packaged sentiment drummed up for pay by someone who hates her job isn’t heartwarming. Nor is the fact that the sender found himself so unable to frame an original thought that he willingly shelled out $3.00 rather than try to write a single meaningful sentence like “You are special to me because one time I was having a bad day, and then you came into the room doing a fake tap dance, and suddenly everything felt better.”

As far as I’m concerned, a piece of white paper featuring an awkwardly drawn stick figure kicking up its heels to “Singin’ in the Rain” accompanied by that single meaningful sentence, well, that’s the stuff of a genuine sentiment. Send that.

Prostitute Poodle003


Guess what, though? Every now and then a prefabricated, heartless card hits the spot. Sometimes, the card is particularly clever. Sometimes, it’s got some terrific art on it. Sometimes, the sender has taken a minute to add in some words that redeem the rest.

Sometimes, the sender–having lived a somewhat insulated life–seals into the envelope a card that is unintentionally hilarious.

As was the case last week when my mom sent Paco a birthday card for this tenth birthday.

I’ll let the card tell the story as to why I have been hooting ever since I clapped eyes on the thing. Oops, did I say “clap”? Perhaps not the best word choice, given the scenario on the card.

Prostitute Poodle001

Prostitute Poodle002

What my mom saw were doggies in costume. And what’s more fun than doggies in costume for a kid?

What I saw was an opportunity to explain prostitution and the term “turning tricks” to my fourth grader. You know, in case there’s a question on this subject on the statewide exams at the end of the year.

His first follow-up question, after my mini-lecture, was

“Why do they call terriers ‘Johns’?”







20 responses to “Hope All Your Tricks Are Good Ones”

  1. Erin Avatar

    Bwahahaha! REALLY wished I hadn’t read this at work. I almost couldn’t keep my hearty laughter under wraps! 🙂

  2. Lil Avatar

    Ok, you (or your mom) just made my day!

  3. Jess Avatar

    Best. Card. Ever. And that’s the kind of thing my mom might do. “Dogs! Dogs are fun! And he got that magic set for Christmas so he likes tricks! This one is perfect!”

  4. A Cuban In London Avatar

    I loved your post. You really hit the spot. Many thanks.

    Greetings from London.

  5. Bone Avatar

    I have long bemoaned the lack of creativity, cleverness, and just plain humor in 95% of greeting cards. (Why won’t Hallmark hire ME???)

    I do, however, occasionally find a chuckle on someecards.com

  6. Secret Agent Woman Avatar

    Always great when the grandparents send dog-hooker cards!

    I like some ready-made cards. My brother ha a gift for picking out ones that are quirky and “me.”

  7. Meg Avatar

    An unintended opportunity for learning. What could be better? Better, that is, than the hilarity that must ensue each time you catch a glimpse of Lecherous Trenchcoat Terrier.

  8. christopher Avatar

    Certainly got a lot of value out of that $3 dollar card…along with the laughs.

  9. Phyllis Avatar

    GranMax is a wonder. It’s a great giggle and I’m sorry her brother has already gone to bed. He’ll just have to wait ’til morning to see it.

  10. lime Avatar

    that is beyond hilarious and yes, i would have totally seized upon the opportunity for a little life lesson. i may have even been tempted to discuss doggie style…no, he is only 10 so i guess not…

    but please don’t hate me. i bought a birthday card for my own son many years ago to save for his 18th birthday because i ran across it and it was just.so.him. and as i suspected then, it still is as he heads into the last few months before he receives it.

    1. Jocelyn Avatar

      Limey, baby: I want to know what’s on that card you bought for your boy, O So Long Ago…Colour me interested.

      1. lime Avatar

        it’s a little boy in a funny homemade superhero costume striking a superhero pose like he’s ready to fly. the inside says, “it’s been an adventure having you as a son. happy birthday.”

  11. Vicky Avatar

    Well, that just goes to prove that I had a sheltered childhood since I had to Google it and learned something new today! Thank you for that Jocelyn!

  12. vagabonde Avatar

    This is a funny card, if you understand it. With English being the 3rd language I learnt, plays on words are the hardest things for me to get. If my daughter had received this card I would never had thought of the play of words. Thanks for coming to my blog.

  13. Avie Layne Avatar
    Avie Layne

    That card should go into the box where you keep all of the special childhood objects. It can be brought out years from now along with the “hand turkey” Thanksgving art and funky clay ashtrays made as a child.

  14. pam Avatar

    Ah, grannie faux pas of the naïve and blissfully ignorant.
    My mother in law, after waving her Australian flag wildly at the Australia Day parade which celebrates the arrival of the first fleet, then walked into the South Australian aboriginal cultural and art centre still waving it around, happily grinning at everyone “Happy Australia Day”, and wondered about the stony response. Our indigenous people call it “Invasion Day”.
    I think in retrospect she would have been better off sending a sympathy card but we don’t do a big line here in “Sorry about your Invasion” cards.
    Grannies are full of ‘gerbil-faced optimism’ as my husband calls it. Bless ’em all….and belated birthday wishes to Paco too. My Mother-in-law would have seen that card as most appropriate.

  15. Kimberly Robinson Avatar
    Kimberly Robinson

    I have been making lovingly conceived, poorly drawn cards for years, with the exception of the so-wrong – but so-right Elvis Christmas cards I find at the Dollar Store every year. It has become our special tradition.

  16. logo™ Avatar

    I will confess to being an occasional card purchaser myself, especially on inappropriate card day!

  17. Magpie Avatar


    Also, Trix are for kids.

    And, next year, you get a Valentine.

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