Sidey’s Weekend Theme is “roses are red, violets are blue”….
“Why are they blue?”
“Why do we say that violets are blue? Surely they’re violet?”
David, in his coat and about to leave for the evening, sighed. Richard was in one of his moods again. They were becoming more and more frequent and David, who liked Richard, was becoming afraid for him.
“Well, they’re sort of blue,” he said, soothingly.
“Yes, the sort of blue that’s called violet,” said Richard. “The hint is in the name. It’s one of the actual seven colours of the rainbow. That means it’s pretty important – it puts it above things like purple, crimson, and ochre, whatever that is.”
“Well, very little rhymes with violet,” said David. “ ‘Roses are red, violets are blue’ makes our job easier.”
And it was a job David loved, writing Valentine verses for Happy Cards Inc. He was young and had a beautiful fiancée with whom he was madly in love, and all he had to do was look at her picture on his desk and stuff like “roses are red, violets are blue, I’m under the spell of the magic of you” just poured out of him. He had been employee of the month for the past four months. He had four “Congratulations On Being Employee Of The Month” greeting-cards to prove it.
But Richard had been with the company for fifteen years now, and was beginning to show signs of Good Vibes Stress Disorder.
He knew it himself. He’d known since the day when he woke from some daydream and he found that he’d idly typed “roses are red, violets are blue, I’m fed up with living and fed up with you” onto his computer. He’d sat staring in horror at the words on his screen, then quickly deleted them, but he knew that the first seeds were there, seeds that would not grow roses, or violets, but would eventually produce tumbleweed that would blow eerily through the empty streets of his creativity.
He would then be moved to the Plain Sentiments section, where they wrote lines like “with love on your birthday”. It was known as in the company the Brain-dead Department, and all of the creatives shunned them, as if the simplicity of their thoughts was contagious.
There was only one place after that – the Entirely Blank Card Section, for those cards with no message inside at all. Old Peterson “worked” there alone, waiting out the days till his retirement, making a paper-clip model of the Large Hadron Collider and reminiscing to anyone who passed about how “Roses are red, violets are blue, no-one in history’s been lovely as you” won him the Greeting Card Writers’ Association Loveliest Thought Award for 1974.
Richard looked nastily at David. “Well if it’s such a wonderful phrase,” he sneered, “then why is it only used in the Valentine cards?”
David shook his head sorrowfully. “Good night, Richard,” he said quietly. “You take care of yourself.” He left, and Richard stared into nothingness for a long time, then began to type.
David was in first next morning, saw what was on Richard’s screen and then went to see the CEO.
“I’m really worried about him,” he said, holding out what he had printed off Richard’s computer. It was a design for a Sorry You’re Leaving card, with the words “Roses are red, violets are blue, Fred got made redundant, now it’s your turn too.”
“Send him to see me when he comes in,” said the MD thoughtfully. When Richard arrived into his office the MD slid the printout across the desk at him.
“Er, look -” said Richard.
“No, you look,” said the boss. “The company is nearly broke – we’re being put out of business by the e-card, which is essentially someone saying “Roses are red, violets are blue, I didn’t bother going to buy a card for you”. I think a range of cards like this one might sell. Think you can do it?”
Richard did. He made a Congratulations On Passing Your Driving Test card that said “Roses are red, violets are blue, we all drive like loonies, now you can do too”. A Get Well Soon Card said “Roses are red, violets are blue, if you die in hospital your family can sue”. His Good Luck In Your New Home cards read “Roses are red, violets are blue, your mortgage will last till twenty-sixty-two”.
The cards were a huge success, saving the company and, more importantly, Richard’s soul. The biggest seller of all, and the one he was most proud of, was a secret joke between himself and David.
It was a Get Well Soon card that read “Roses are red, violets are violet, hope your runs go so you can get off the toilet”.