I've been sitting on this one awhile. I got a card for my friend Ethelred for her birthday back in February. Before I put it in the envelope, I scanned it because I wanted to blog about it and even promised in the birthday greeting that I would blog about it. But then I couldn't blog about it because I couldn't remember what I had named the scan, and I have a lot of scans and photos sitting around on my computer.
Was it card.jpg? No.
Maybe blog.jpg. No, that's what I name the flag photos.
I tried variations of Ethelred's name, including Ethelred and Eth. This morning I spent some time looking for it and finally found it again under the name pms017.jpg. Nice.
Anyway, here it is.
You can see why I had to get it. It's so incongruous I thought it had to have been made in China, but no, it's made of 100 percent Made-In-USA recycled WTF. I was in sixth grade when I bought the "Valley Girl Guide" from my Scholastic book order in 1982 and was a little young to be a part of the Valley Girl scene. Well, that, and the fact that I was living in Omaha, Nebraska, at the time. But I have to say I'm pretty sure this isn't Valley Girl.
No, this is clearly something someone found in one of those giant clip-art catalogs newspapers and ad departments used to have before such things were computerized -- huge slippery books that you actually clipped the art out of to use it. We had one of those at the college paper Ethelred and I worked at and part of the reason I am sympathetically drawn to this card is that its leggy, angularly drawn model reminds me of late nights laughing until we couldn't see straight as Back Page boys made clip-art collages and narrated them with little speech balloons.
Everything's funnier when it's in print. Or, you know, at 3 a.m.
I love everything about this card. Its cheery colors. Its label text on the front (not even an exclamation point after "Valley Girl" -- it's just a statement). (On the inside, it says "Have a, like, totally awesome birthday!" in the same font.) Its attempt at flashback nostalgia and its total miss. THOSE SHOES! AND HAIR RIBBONS!
I was not a Valley Girl, but she is not, either. She could be a model from a Butterick catalog, fall collection, from 1972. But what she really reminds me of is someone who would have been one of the letter-writers in Growing Up And Liking It, the little booklet about menstruation all the girls received in fourth grade at school. That site is terribly designed, but it has a TON of hilarious and infuriating information, as well as a complete copy of "Growing Up And Liking It," which my friend Natalie and I read out loud to each other as we sat in the branches of a tree in her yard after we got it, screaming with laughter and rolling our eyes.
Anyway. Happy birthday, Ethelred, and many happy returns!