By Charles Osgood
The greeting-card industry has discovered a terrible,
wonderful thing. Terrible for us, wonderful for them. They've discovered that
we Americans don't know how to write letters anymore.
It could be argued that we don't know how to write anything
anymore. Not only do people depend on greeting cards to say "Happy Birthday" or
every other conceivable situation that might arise in life.
It started, I suppose, with specialized cards. "Happy
Birthday to my wonderful mother-in-law." "Get well soon, my favorite uncle."
From there, it sort of branched out, as card companies realized that the public
wanted to use cards instead of letters.
I can imagine a whole new market for unlikely verses. How
"Please don't call the sheriff and send me to jail,
swear on my honor; the check's in the mail."
"Roses are red, violets are blue,
I wouldn't start my
car if I were you."
It will take computers, of course, to keep track of all the
situational messages. But that's the price we pay for convenience.