KANSAS CITY - Executives of Hallmark, American Greetings, and other greeting card publishers all had a common theme at this year's annual convention: the mass retirement of seventy percent of their poets within the next four years.
Betty "Twinkle" Goldberg, addressing the solemn attendees said, "We have to convince more high school and college graduates to consider careers as greeting card poets. This is how Louis Untermeyer got his start. Look at how well Ogden Nash has done." She continued, "We have to let unemployed and under-employed English literature majors know that this is a viable career, if they would work for us, let me make this clear, they would be a dear."
There immediately rose a buzz from the convention floor. Some criticized her timing, some criticized her rhyming. Some attendees conjectured that Twinkle Goldberg was just learning how to rap. But in the end, they all made like a nation, and gave her an ovation. Or whatever.
William "Killer" Blake then went to the podium to give his annual address on the state of poetry in greeting cards. Dressed quite differently from the "funeral director's look" of the other executives, he was wearing Russian peasant garb and sandals without socks. His Elizabethan Cockney accent was difficult for some of the other executives to understand, but they all understood his message that it is "an immortal hand or eye that can frame the symmetry of a greeting card poem, and turn the trite into wording which is moving." Once again, the convention attendees all rose for a thunderous ovation. Some of the executives had tears in their eyes.
The next executive of stature to address the convention was Tom Smith "T.S." Eliot. He expressed his concern that if greeting card poetry would be allowed to become perilous, "the entire industry would end not only in a whimper, but the institutional investors would have only hollow retirement years to offer their shareholders." There was solemn agreement on that point. Respectfully, the executives withheld their applause.
Then the moment that all had been waiting for arrived: the address of Dylan "Bob" Thomas. He spoke movingly about the death of his father, and how the poem printed on a Hallmark greeting card took the sting away, when he first got the sad news. He also gave a testimonial on how another greeting card poem from American Greetings convinced him to seek professional help for his dependence on alcohol.
The convention then passed a motion to adjourn.