charging cowI recently had a birthday, which is something I really like. I know a lot of people my age who get all droopy about their birthdays. “Oh, I’m so old”, they say, which is completely moronic. Eighty is old. Forty or fifty or even sixty is not.

Mostly I just feel like saying, “Hey, moron, you’re not dead.” I know some really great people who didn’t make it this far. And I’m sure they would’ve given anything to still be here. So it’s good to appreciate, with everything you have, that you still get to be here. I see every day that I am still alive as a cause of celebration, but especially on the annual remembrance that I got to come into this life at all. That is a reason to party, not to whine.

Okay, so that’s rant #1. What is the real rant here is about those fucking email birthday greetings.

I like homemade cards best. Even the most crappily slopped-together homemade card is my favorite kind to get. I understand we can’t always get it together to be even minimally creative, and some people feel that they are not “artistic” enough to pull this off. So I understand that most people want something that looks nice and finished.

What I don’t understand is when people decided they are too busy or lazy to go to the goddamn store and buy a goddamn card. Instead of homemade or store-bought cards of yore, every year in the last five years I am greeted by a plethora of hideous animated email cards, each more vomity than the last.

For the life of me, I can’t understand what the appeal of these things are other than the aforementioned time/lazy constraint. The animation is rudimentary, the music as cheesy as possible, and the saccharin content would kill the healthiest lab rat.

This year I got a particularly hideous batch. Apparently, when uncreative folks who make this junk want to up the cute or comic level, they make all the characters into anthropomorphized Holstein cows. They are always Holstein; apparently Guernseys or Jerseys are NOT FUNNY.

Then these cows sing and dance and this is supposed to make you chuckle or sigh or something or other, but frankly they just make me gag.

Apparently no one who sends these cards have ever been charged by a cow. If you hike frequently in the East Bay Regional Parks, you may often encounter herds of cows who are quite feral, and you may have been charged as I have been. Three times. One when I tried to take a photo of an adolescent bull, another for now real reason, and another when I got too close to some cow’s calf. The first time, the baby bull just stopped after a short jog. The second time, we managed to duck behind some trees. The third time, we were actually trying to avoid the calf, but somehow the mother got it into her head that we were approaching the calf. We were in a big, expansive open field. From behind us we heard the thundering of hooves and had that “OH SHIT” feeling. Now, you cannot outrun a cow. You can NOT. I turned around, ran towards waving my arms and screaming. She stopped and turned around. This approach tends to work with herbivores, I think. Well, it did that time. Here’s a Cow Survival Guide you can refer to.

So, I have a lot of respect for cows, too much so to enjoy them being reduced to the status of minstrels of kitsch.

Now every year I have politely watched the entire disaster that is each of these cards, because of some speck of guilt in myself that I should try to appreciate the thought behind the tastelessness. And what if there is something extra-“special” at the end of the animation that I miss, and then they ask me how I like the card, and I’m outed as not having watched it?

It finally occurred to me that this guilt-fantasy scenario is NEVER going to happen, because if these people were going to actually speak to me, they would have called me on my birthday rather than emailing me the card. So I have been wasting considerable time, to say nothing of the trauma, viewing these “cards”.

Therefore, it is time for another Nerger Declaration:

I hereby declare that I will no longer open or view any future email greetings. Ever. Again.
Witnesseth my hand and signature,
The Nerger