An original piece for London daily The Independent (print version only).
The world in which we live today differs greatly from the world of our fathers, forefathers and all those other old folks in many ways. For starters, we seldom die from lance wounds – undoubtedly a plus. Royalty must fill out a great deal of paperwork before they can have anyone beheaded – good news for the media. And we have satellites to tell us where we’re standing.
But of all the remarkable differences that separate today from the days when people died from bad fruit, one of the most interesting is how subjects once considered taboo are no longer taboo. At all. In fact, one seldom raises an eyebrow these days at things which not too long ago would have been hidden in closets, banned from the village or burned at the stake.
Until recently, the idea of a card for your mother’s new boyfriend’s birthday or celebrating your friend’s divorce might have been considered outrageous, ridiculous, absurd.
Not any more.
These days, we know more than we did back in the other days – the days when people kept getting piked for things. We’re more understanding. Accepting. Scared of offending someone or piking them. We go out of our way to share those feelings, and we do that the only way we know how: by shopping for cards. After all, as we bear witness to the decline of civilization, there’s certainly no reason to be uncivilized.
To The Proud Parents of An Illegally Adopted Chinese Girl
I’ve Traced Your DNA, Dad.
On The Anniversary Of Your Facelift
Happy Christmas To My Gay Transsexual Parents From Your Confused And Angry Son
I Love You Despite The Restraining Orders
On the 45th Birthday Of The Mistress My Wife Suspects I Have