One night in my support group, S. said casually that he’d “left work early… I just pulled a widower card.” I thought about how often I’d done this in the months since LH died, but more about how I could make good use of some little advantage. All the handicaps I was living with… single (really, double) parenting, how impossible it was to go grocery shopping with a toddler, and how no one could see that anything was wrong. The side of me that is tempted to shoplift (but only cashmere or chocolate) was aroused.
I was always comfortable as an underachiever, but could I have some legitimate “cover” after surviving catastrophe? Something versatile? Something I could use every day?
And so the concept was born: Not as useful as a “get out of jail free” card, more powerful than a hall pass… it’s… it’s… The Widow Card!
How to create your own REAL LIFE Widow (or Widower) Cards:
1. Download the PDF
Womenfolk – Download the Widow Card Set A here (PDF)
Menfolk – Download the Widower Card Set A here (PDF)
2. Purchase Avery 5871 pre-perforated business card stock at your local office supply store.
3. Print the PDFs out on your stock. They are double sided; you’ll have to figure out how to run the paper stock through your machine twice.
Also, please note that you WILL get error messages saying you’re printing outside the print area, and so on. Just IGNORE it, and don’t let it automatically adjust the margins, or your widow cards will look a whole lot less slick.
4. Didn’t buy the special paper? No problemo. Print your Widow Cards out on heavyweight paper or card stock and cut them out by hand. The stripy border will hide mistakes if your scissors get shaky because you are laughing.
When can I use The Widow Card?
Pull The Widow Card on someone at work, at home, or in line at the grocery store… heck, take more than one, we’ve got nearly a dozen* here for you. You’ll be amazed at how often these little babies come in handy!
What good will it do me now?
Let The Widow Card simplify your life … avoid long awkward conversations (or silences) … evade minor niceties like being polite, remembering people’s names, and participating in adult society in a normal fashion.
But, dude, I’m a guy.
Chill – there are widower versions as well. Since there are seven widowed women to every widower, I think I can be forgiven for favoring the gals linguistically.
Okay, I get it. I can’t wait to start using my Widow Cards!
Slow down, cowpoke. There are three steps – well, four. Did you read the instructions yet? If not, there is one more – so that’s five. Number 0: read the instructions above! Then follow steps 1 to 4 in order.
How long can I use The Widow Card?
Use The Widow Card until it stops working.
UPDATE 06/09: Keep a couple handy. They work great around anniversaries, even years later!
But I need an excuse for something and you don’t have a Widow Card that fits!
Relax. You can send in your requests for new situations that deserve a Widow Card. Don’t like the suggestions for men? Find the women’s ones inappropriate? Your wish is my command. Let me know what you want, and I will issue a new set B, C, etc. Write to supa.dupa.fresh AT gmail.com. (I don’t promise to be prompt.)
About the design
The font is Mrs. Eaves by Zuzana Licko and published by Émigré. Of course, I thought the character Mrs. Eaves was fictional, and I’m a bit disappointed to find out she was real (or, I am delighted that this fictional character has been accepted as real, as the font and its hyperactive, sometimes shizoid ligatures have gained legitimacy).
Either way, however, Mrs. Eaves was a widow, so my point stands.
Full disclosure: In this project, I owe a significant debt to the work of conceptual artist Adrian Piper.
* Hey, that’s a new expression: widow’s dozen – ten of something. Huh!
* * * Some comments * * *