Earlier this week, I was shopping for a Mother's Day card, and if I had any artistic talent and if I were capable of being pithy and terse, I think I sense a potential untapped market: Greeting Cards for Geeks.
None of the cards the store had really fit my situation. For starters, the syrupy sweet cards with "meaningful" poetry and drawings of flowers just wouldn't work. As my mom would say, "Urp."
There were some amusing cards about Mom taking a well-deserved break that might have applied while the kids were at home, but my mom is retired and the kids are grown. My dad's the one who needs to tell her she deserves a break because he's the only other person in the house.
The cards about now appreciating how tough it must have been to be a mom don't work for me because they're about the shared bond of motherhood now that you have your own kids. Spending 45 minutes a week with preschoolers hardly applies (even if I do have 17 of them at a time).
A lot of the cards are about how awful you were as a kid and needing to make that up to your mom now. I did have a bad bratty phase when I was about ten and probably should have been stranded in the woods without even any breadcrumbs, but for the most part, I think I was a low-maintenance kid. I did my homework, made straight As, practiced my band instrument, didn't spend that much time on the phone, didn't stay out late, didn't run with a bad crowd, didn't go through a rebellious teenager phase and didn't get into trouble. I don't think I'm responsible for that many gray hairs.
A lot of the cards meant for adult daughters to send their moms are based on the idea of what mom taught and how your relationship has transitioned to a friendship, and I like that concept, except that all of the cards seem to express that through shopping or shoes (or shopping for shoes). Newsflash: women can do other things. I'm not opposed to recreational shopping (though I haven't done it for anything other than books in ages), but that's definitely not anything I learned from my mom, who hates to shop for things other than books.
What I need is a card about a mom who started the geeky indoctrination early by watching the original Star Trek with me when I was an infant, who took me to all the Disney fairy tale movies and gave me books of fairy tales, who introduced me to Broadway musicals and who gave me my first Narnia book. We're more likely to watch Firefly or Doctor Who together than to go shopping. Our conversations are more about this week's episode of Grimm or the last Terry Pratchett book we read than about shoes.
So, what we need is a line of cards that expresses that kind of sentiment. Ditto for Father's Day, though in that case it would be about my dad dragging me to see Star Wars, Star Trek the Motion Picture, the original Battlestar Galactica pilot (it was released as a big-screen movie overseas) and Raiders of the Lost Ark. We also need birthday cards for geeky friends. Instead of stuff about shoe shopping and drinking martinis, we need cards about Firefly marathons and seeing movies on opening weekends. It's really difficult to find birthday cards for female friends that celebrate female friendship in some way other than buying shoes together. Forget about finding a card that's appropriate for a woman to give a platonic male friend. All the cards aimed at men seem to be about beer and sexy women -- unless they're about getting old. It does seem like platonic male/female friendships are more common in the geek world, perhaps because a lot of geeky interests are stereotypically "male" and geek girls grow up hanging out with guys because those are the people they have more in common with. Hallmark doesn't seem to acknowledge that men and women might be friends and might not want to give each other cards laden with innuendo, though.
I bet cards for geeks would sell really well at conventions -- unless geeks are more inclined to just send e-cards and have forgotten how to use postal mail. For special occasions, I do like to send or give a real, physical card, though, and the right card is very hard to find.