By Ryan Gaston
In an attempt to get a jump on the impending destruction of all mankind that is rapidly approaching us this next year, Hallmark announced today that they are in the very early stages on a new line of somber birthday cards that they are calling “the best last birthday greeting you’ll ever get.” Currently known as their ‘Happy Last Birthday’ line, Hallmark hopes that these new cards, filled with messages hopeful congratulations, alongside pieces of solemn regret, will give the recipient a bittersweet feeling as they symbolically blow out their candles one last time before 2012, and the world, come to an end.
Hoping to gain popularity among the same groups of people who needlessly stocked up in preparation for Y2K over a decade ago, Hallmark hopes that their new cards will be made useful in sprucing up bomb shelters and panic rooms all across the country. “During the Y2K scare,” Hallmark spokesperson Nelson Johnson says, “people were so focused on canned food, bottled water, and urine filtration and recycling systems for their hideouts, that they forgot about arguably the most important thing to keep on hand: a tender heart. Hopefully these cards can help keep spirits high while the world outside is going all to hell.” So far the new line of cards has tested remarkably well with focus groups, and have achieved a general consensus that while not necessarily a necessity, a thoughtful card on the mantle can make any good fall-out shelter feel just a little more homely.
Production has yet to begin working on all cylinders, as the company still has all of the 2011 holidays to get through, and taking into consideration that the Mayan calendar says there is nothing to worry about until December 21, 2011, October has been slated as the big kick-off. The prototypes of the cards made up so far appear as generic as any other card you might receive when not on the brink of the apocalypse, with the cliche bright colors, pictures of balloons, and confetti, surrounding words of warm wishes, but once opened, the recipient will be exposed to a bleak and morose conclusion.
One example features a photograph of a field of sunflowers on the front that reads “May your birthday be filled with nothing but peace and tranquility…” and closes “Because next year there will just be nothing.” Another has a cartoon tiger wearing sunglasses in a jungle scene that says “Hey Cool Cat! Did you know that this is more than just a birthday card?!” followed on the inside by, “It can also be burned for warmth, or used as toilet paper.” Hallmark has even gone to the efforts of making an ‘Over The Hill’ card as well, with the message, “They say at this age, your good looks and memory are the first things to go…” concluded with, “But it’s probably going to be the sun, followed by plant life, and eventually every other living thing.”
Nelson Winter continued “Ever since our founding in 1910, Hallmark has prided itself on being there for people with a heartfelt greeting for every occasion they might come across, and what better time to show we care than in mankind’s final moments? Our goal has always been to be the first and last name in greeting cards, and come next December, I think it’s clear we’ll have accomplished just that.”
Winter went on to say that depending on the initial success of the cards, as time approaches they might also branch out from the ‘last birthday’ and shine some light on some other final holidays, like Halloween, Valentine’s, and Mother’s and Father’s Day, saying that at that point in time, production costs pretty much go out the window since no one will be around to pay the bill.