Worst birthday card ever
My dear friend Sarah’s birthday is at the beginning of August.
I possibly would be more on top of my shit if the kitten calendar hanging in my kitchen weren’t still open to the month of June.
Sarah’s been spending the past several weeks on Cape Cod for work, though, so I had plenty of time to procrastinate on picking a proper present for her. To my surprise, I selected something suitable — two CDs by She & Him — in a timely fashion. Sarah has a straight-girl crush on Zooey Deschanel. She can have her over my cold, lifeless body.
We made plans to have dinner together a few days ago. No worries, I thought cockily. She’s taken care of. You found her gift with time to spare.
That was true.
But I’d forgotten to wrap it — an epiphany I didn’t experience until about 10 minutes before my shift ended, and I was meeting Sarah straight from work.
You can fix this, I reassured myself. You work at a newspaper. It’s pretty much a firetrap. There are piles of paper *everywhere.* Wrap it in newsprint. Everyone loves a devoted recycler! You’re saving a defenseless endangered tree in the rain forest from meeting a pulpy end in vain. Or wherever newsprint comes from. Maybe a lumber yard? You know alarmingly little about your industry. You should Google this. Later. In the meantime, you’re a hero to the environment and an awesome gift-giver with a conscience. Win and win.
As I enveloped the music in an inky page and smoothed out tape along the seams, I felt quite smug that I’d managed to save face. And a tree. Which is almost as important as saving face.
Then I realized that I’d also forgotten to buy a card.
I raided a secretary’s desk, but found only Post-it notes. As you may know, I’ve been watching an embarrassing amount of “Sex and the City” lately, and all I could think of was when Berger breaks up with Carrie by writing “I’m sorry, I can’t, Don’t hate me” on one of those obnoxiously yellow sticky sheets. Carrie, shockingly enough, never forgave his thoughtlessness. If Sarah were in her right mind, she wouldn’t accept my apology, either.
But it was a Post-it note or nothing. I swiftly scrawled a few sentences before rushing out the door.
Sarah was already at the restaurant in Chinatown when I arrived, and I immediately handed her the pathetically packaged present to get it over with. “I’m so sorry,” I huffed. “There’s no excuse. It’s late. And I’m terrible …”
“BEST BIRTHDAY CARD EVER!!!” she roared, much to my relief.
In the end, this is probably why we’re friends. Lacking pretense but with a penchant for presents, and never one to stand on ceremony, Sarah recognizes a fail so epic that it’s actually a win.
Thankfully, for the sake of our friendship, I fail epically a lot.
It’s my gift that keeps on giving.