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Holly Lake Effect

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"Cards, anyone? I'll shuffle, you deal..."

Some time ago—I can't say exactly when—I began to collect business cards. I think what they have going for them is that they're all the same size and you can put a rubber band around them and stick them in a small space, one that you're not using for anything else.

Suddenly I have quite a collection and if they had such designs on them as Jacks, Queens and Kings I would have several full decks of cards with which I could play bridge or mahjong, though I am not sure you use cards with mahjong. (I'm not even sure how to spell "mahjong".)

As it is you can't do much with a pile of business cards even though they are neatly contained in their rubber bands. Every so often I go through them and mull over what the people who gave them to me might be doing. I have a real estate business card that is printed in four colors with something that looks like water swirling around a light house. I never thought just how far the parameters of a real estate person could extend but I suppose light houses are not out of the question.

Then I have the cards of several artists—that is I have several cards of artists and they have very nice pictures on them, also in four color though no light houses. Mostly plants, or pictures of puppies though I have never known personally an artist who specializes in puppies.

Then I have a large number of cards from writers who, because their cards are very nicely designed and are in four color, obviously have become rich and famous. Most of them have their pictures on one side though why they want people to see their picture instead of a picture of their latest best-seller is beyond me. Several have had their picture taken with a wall of books in the background which makes them appear to be very learned or successful or maybe even both. The print on the books is so small you can't tell if they are books the card holders have written and published or somebody else's books.

I have a card from someone who will remove your honey bees if they have set up housekeeping in your living room wall. This person not only saves the bees, he saves the home owner from the embarrassment of having to explain to guests why honey is dripping down onto the sofa while they are sipping a margarita. I have a card from a urologist and on the back I wrote the word "outspoken" but I have no idea what that means. Either he is one of those people who takes over every conversation with details about his profession or he just talks louder than the rest of the party guests. Personally I can't see being very enthusiastic standing in a crowd of people who are clutching drinks as if they were life preservers in the middle of an ocean while listening to a dissertation on various personal body activities. One of the most interesting cards—and also the most puzzling—is one that says "Have Sword, Will Fight". I'm not sure if this person is a commercial sword fighter or is just warning people not to mess with him.

Halfway through the stack I ran across a card from two people named White and Riddle and they apparently are professionals in some kind of business; it isn't clear what. Perhaps they are so well known in their town of West Elm or whatever it is—the ink on the address has become blurred so maybe I left the card out in the rain one time—though how I could have done that when we haven't had rain in nearly a year—seems like—I have no idea. –anyway, they must think they are so well known that everybody instantly is familiar with what they do for a living.

I have a very nice business card without any photos or embellishments, that is written in Japanese. At least I guess it's Japanese because the letters look like little stacks of firewood or groups of prickly pear cactus and they have written under them words like Akiyoshi which may be a person's name or maybe the botanical name of the cactus.

I have lots of cards from handymen and it gets me to wondering why there are none from handywomen. Are women just not handy? I can't believe that because if it weren't for women very few people would be eating regularly.

I also had in the stack one of my old cards I used to give to people when I was a free-lance writer. It had my name on it and my identity as a freelance writer underneath of which were the words "Mercenary Writer" and "Equally Mercenary Photographer" since I did both at one time and "free-lance" in the parlance of the dictionary equates with mercenary.

I have an old OfficeMax card dating back to the time when I used to buy lots of office supplies (now I use both sides of every sheet of paper), cards from several computer fix-it services which I hoarded when my computer was vying for the title of "Slowest Laptop in Wood County" and a number of editorial fixit service cards which led me to believe that my writing could never get so bad that there wasn't somebody out there who could make it into a best-seller.

"Hope Springs Eternal" which is one of the reasons I have kept these cards.