The lineup of greeting cards reads: “Great job on the thing you did”; “Hooray for you. No really. Yay.”; “General greetings and/or possibly thank you card”; “Congrats or whatever”; “Best wishes, I guess.”
These are actual greeting cards, ambivalent, yes, but the kind of card that you can hold in your hand. Really. Boston artist Tim McCool released them late in November.
“I think they’re for the holidays,” he says. “But I think they can be used year-round. Because people are having babies year-round. Or getting married.
“I made them because I spend too much time on Facebook probably,” he says. “When you’re hearing all this information about people, some of who are your best friends, some of who are complete strangers, when you hit the ‘like’ button, I’m not sure what that means. ‘Well done,’ maybe? If someone has a baby that’s an amazing accomplishment. And if you hit the ‘like’ button that doesn’t seem like the right response.
“I don’t say any of these things to people,” he adds. “I think I’ve said, ‘Great job.’ Maybe. … That’s just a phrase I’m always thinking for some reason. Again, I think it’s that general stance on Facebook that encourages you to be like, ‘Great job.’ I think my natural voice sounds sarcastic to people. … Sometimes I have to go out of my way to make people realize I’m serious.”
McCool’s online shop, The Irony Laboratory, also offers a T-shirt with a doodle of a trophy emblazoned with the word “worst.” Does he have a recipient in mind? “Not really. No. I think it would just be hilarious to give people trophies that say, ‘You’re the worst.’ I’m not mad at anybody. I just have that sense of humor.”
His shop also offers an all-purpose greeting postcard, that allows you to check off various options as appropriate: “I am very/We are very/You must be very: proud, thrilled, psyched, happy, disappointed, bummed, freaked out, profoundly embarrassed…”
“It’s just sort of a general, all-purpose message,” McCool explains. “You could do all your holiday cards at once. You could order one set of these and get your grandma, your boss, your bully from high school, and send them all out at once. It makes the holidays a lot more simple.”
Because, of course, the spirit of the season is efficiency. McCool: “I like efficiency in holiday situations, making life simpler. … This is every card that you could possibly buy at the grocery store or the Hallmark store. It’s got all your bases covered. At the same time, in this fast-paced world, it’s nice to get a real card, a physical card.”