Nicola Mostyn’s helpful postcards from the edge
The other day, a group of us were out for a drink when one of my friends informed us that he’d broken up with his girlfriend.
As people began to ask him questions about the split, he reached into his bag and handed over a postcard.
For a moment, I thought he’d come up with a brilliant solution to an awkward conversation. As it turned out, the split was amicable and the postcard featured some of his ex’s artwork but, still, it got me thinking:
What if it we could hand out explanatory postcards in response to difficult life questions?
Everyone’s got one. The question that won’t die. The one you dread in social situations. The thing you get asked so often it makes you want to thump your head enthusiastically on the table until everything goes dark.
Imagine if, instead of attempting to muster up an adequate answer, you could just give your interrogator a postcard bearing everything you wish to say on the matter and featuring a thematic image. (The small print will state that follow-up questions are not permitted.)
I’d embrace this idea in a big way. I’d immediately have about a million printed up for the question “How is your novel coming along?” (picture of “Here’s Johnny!” from The Shining) with another 200,000 for “Why are you a vegetarian?” (Morrissey)
I asked around and it seems that if I set myself up in business I’d be in great demand.
I’d call it Postcards From The Edge. Judging from my current research, at least half of my business would be devoted to missives to offer in response to the question “Why are you still single?” – which will come bearing a design of my customer’s choice. A crying clown? Certainly! Some monkeys doing the can-can? No problem! You, naked, save for a set of bagpipes? Well…. sure. We might not even need any explanatory text with that one.
In relationships, these postcards will save so much time when faced with those thorny questions that have no easy answer, like “What are you thinking?” or “How was it for you?” or “Would you like to watch that new Nicolas Cage movie?”
And, when you’ve finally met the one, you’ll really need to stock up. “When are you getting married?” “When are you having kids?” “Are you having any more kids?” “When is the divorce final?” “What did you see in her anyway?” “Why are you repeatedly hitting your head on the table?”
My imaginary company is not just handy for romance either. Buy our “What do you do for a living?” card and you can fully express your thoughts about capitalism, status-addiction and the folly of defining a person’s moral worth by their occupation – but then add levity with a picture of a camel in a hat.
Meanwhile, recent graduates will do well to invest in my “How’s the job search going?” – which comes with an image of tumbleweed as standard.
And finally, I’ll create a small line of postcards for people who come up with great business ideas that they talk about endlessly but never put into action.
That way, when you see me in the street and ask me how Postcards From The Edge is going, at least I’ll have something to not give you.