Bourbon Cowboy

The adventures of an urbane bar-hopping transplant to New York.

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Location: New York, New York, United States

I'm a storyteller in the New York area who is a regular on NPR's "This American Life" and at shows around the city. Moved to New York in 2006 and am working on selling a memoir of my years as a greeting card writer, and (as a personal, noncommercial obsession) a nonfiction book called "How to Love God Without Being a Jerk." My agent is Adam Chromy at Artists and Artisans. If you came here after hearing about my book on "This American Life" and Googling my name, the "How to Love God" book itself isn't in print yet, and may not even see print in its current form (I'm focusing on humorous memoir), but here's a sample I've posted in case you're curious anyway: Sample How To Love God Introduction, Pt. 1 of 3. Or just look through the archives for September 18, 2007.) The book you should be expecting is the greeting card book, about which more information is pending. Keep checking back!

Friday, June 20, 2008

A Dave Fun Quiz: Greeting Card Theme Codes

I'm looking over my greeting-card-days memoir today, and it struck me that there's a potentially fun puzzle in it.

Greeting cards are organized by "theme codes" (or were, back in the fin de siecle). They were normally four letters long, and were supposed to tell you the general overall point of any given sentiment. Sometimes they were about the punchline (GGAG stood for "gift gag"--a joke where you promise a gift on the outside, and there's some twist when you open the card), but mostly they were designed for serious cards (such as SELD, for "seldom say"--"I love you all the time, even though I only buy you cards on our anniversary." Very popular in male captions.)

Here are ten greeting card sentiment theme codes. Can you suss out what they stand for?

5. TOY or THOY
10. ENCG

Answers later. I'm a little busy right now.

(Greeting card people who participate will, of course, face a much steeper grading curve. Even if you worked at American Greetings and not Hallmark, I still assume you know Hallmark's theme codes. After all, American Greetings copied everything else...)

UPDATE: I've posted the answers here.



Blogger JennyG said...

My guesses:

1. HMYM - card for a holiday that sounds like another holiday

2. WHAP - card with a small item on spring that pops out and hits you in the face when you open it

3. SLAM - card with a large item on spring that pops out and hits you in the face when you open it

4. FRND - card with a floral theme, particularly one featuring palm leaves

5. TOY or THOY - card to be enclosed with a dildo or vibrator given to a vegetarian with a lisp

6. QLIF or QLIFE - request for dissuasion from suicide

7. WSUC - group apology

8. TYDS - card expressing sarcastic appreciation (thank you, dickweed scumbag)

9. GENW - retronym for birthday greetings to baby boomers

10. ENCG - features a pinup shot of everyone's favorite crossword gal, Ellen Ripstein

6/20/2008 2:06 PM  
Blogger HawaiianBrian said...

HMYM = Hey Mom, You're Mean!

WHAP = What's Happening?

SLAM = Sorry, Ladies, Al's Married

FRND = Friend

THOY = Thought of You

QLIF = Queer Life

WSUC = Washington State vs. University of California

TYDS = Typical Daughter Stuff

GENW = Generic White

ENCG = English Composition (Graduate level)

(Honestly, I couldn't get one of them. I tried.)

6/20/2008 5:13 PM  
Blogger Joshua Kosman said...

WSUC should be pretty obvious to anyone who's been paying attention to the national scene since 2000. Still, I'm surprised Hallmark was already on this back in the old millennium.

6/21/2008 11:01 AM  
Blogger Francis said...

I don't know, I bet you're pretty close on two of them -- FRND is probably "friendship" and TOY/THOY "thinking of you". ENCG must be "encouragement". But I'm pretty stumped by these overall -- WSUC could be, like, "wish for success" and WHAP "wish for happiness", maybe. I want HMYM to be "how I met your mother", but probably not.

6/21/2008 11:39 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said... learn something new everyday! :-)

I love learning that type of information.

Starting A Greeting Card Business

6/22/2008 11:21 PM  
Blogger Jeffrey said... #1 "How Much You Mean (to me)"?

6/24/2008 7:52 AM  
Blogger HawaiianBrian said...

Dave, aren't you going to provide answers to this puzzle? I'm dying to know...

6/28/2008 2:42 PM  

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