by Mikki Halpin

Greeting cards have bad, bad associations for me. They remind me of the shitty job I had in the Student Union at Cal, where the chipper pep-squad types would come in and shake their blonde bobs, looking for a cute card to give their sorority sisters. Greeting cards also remind me of Christmas, Valentine's Day, Birthdays, and all the other days I hate.


But now, there are cards for the misanthropes of the world. Dirty Works Alternative Greeting Cards (out of San Francisco, of course) is the spiteful brainchild of Goldy VanDeWater and Rose Kedem. Deceptively noncommittal cover images of hand-drawn insects or still lifes give way to interior messages like these:

"I hear things aren't going very well for you, and I thought I'd give you this card to tell you I'm glad."

And: "I only asked you out because I felt sorry for you....Thank God you said no. "

Recently, Dirty Works came out with its Low Self Esteem Line, which detours into such bon mots as:

"I know I shouldn't tell you this, but I would never press charges against you."

And: "I know you're not right for me, but I can change."


Maybe it's our forthcoming "Star Trek" (September!) issue harshing my buzz, but I wonder what Kirk and Spock would make of these missives if they were to beam down onto Earth. Rather than a Hallmark representation of the world as a happy, cheery space full of celebratory events, Dirty Works cards refer to broken hearts, resentful attitudes, ungrateful children, and dysfunctional families.

Of course, the main problem with the cards is that you would never really send them. The worst thing you could do if you wanted to send someone a message that said, "I don't care," would be to buy a card expressing that thought, put it in an envelope, address it, stamp it, and send it off. Kind of subverts the intention, if you know what I mean.   </end>

Cards by Dirty Works, P.O.B. 460216, San Francisco, CA 94146-0216