The greeting card company unveiled its 2007 Christmas ornaments on Saturday, and I slipped into the store after snagging my wife’s Starbucks, worried that I’d find David Wright or Jose Reyes in boxes along with the other ornaments.
So I was looking through the display and saw a football player, Ben Roethlisberger of the Steelers. Yes, that’s the guy who was in the motorcycle accident last year, making me wonder if the curse is expanding to other sports.
But there were no baseball players to be found.
It was actually hard to squeeze in to get close. There were people with checklists filling baskets with the ornaments, which I have to say are not cheap. The days of me spending $14.95 to hang Luke Skywaker on my son’s little Christmas tree have long passed.
But I digress.
Sometimes the baseball guys aren’t out early because Hallmark tends to release them in the fall. But there’s usually a photo of the player-to-be-cursed hanging in the spot where the ornament will go.
Finally a clerk came over and asked if I was looking for some thing in particular. I told her that I saw the football player, but couldn’t find the baseball player. She pulled out a catalog intended for people who take this very seriously.
Another customer, who was kind of a busy body, was listening to our conversation and paused from filling her basket.
"There’s one in there, I saw a picture," she said.
"But do you know who it is?" I asked.
"Beats me," she said. I don’t think she likes the sports ornaments.
Finally the clerk found the page, and showed me a photo of a chubby Red Sox player.
"Here it is, some guy named David Ortiz," she said. "But it won’t go on sale until October."
"Yes!" I said, pumping my fist.
"You like him?" she asked.
"Oh, he’s OK," I replied, truthfully.
"If you give them your name and address, they’ll put you on a list and call you when they come in," the nosy shopper said.
"Oh no, that’s OK," I replied nicely.
"You might not remember, and it’s good to have that little call to let you know to come in," she said, persistently.
Now, I’m in that strip mall just about every day — especially since the Starbucks opened — and I’m in that Hallmark frequently as my daughter looks for the elusive back kitty Webkinz.
But truth be told, I have no intention of buying a David Ortiz ornament since I’m rapidly running out of tree-space and limit new acquisitions to Mets items.
But I didn’t want to get into this in the middle of Hallmark with a busy body and a clerk who has no doubt suffered greatly already on Ornament Premiere Day even thought it was only 9:30 a.m.
"You’re not going to remember, let her put you on the list," the shopper again insisted.
Finally, I let the cat out of the bag.
"Ma’am, I just wanted to make sure the baseball ornament wasn’t a Met because who ever Hallmark picks is cursed and I want the Mets to win and I don’t want David Wright, Jose Reyes or Carlos Beltran dealing with a curse. They’re having enough issues right now."
At this point all activity surrounding the ornaments stopped and I noticed heads turned my way.
"A curse?" the clerk said, trying not to look alarmed.
"Yup. Something bad happens to every baseball player you guys pick. Look at Ortiz, it’s not even out yet, and he announced last night he has a torn meniscus. It’s not good."
"Well, if that gets out, nobody will want to be on an ornament," the clerk said, matter-of-factly.
"If they want to make Yankee ornaments, that’s OK with me," I said.
The nosy lady was too horrified to speak. It got pretty uncomfortable.
"Hey, is that a new Webkinz?" I said, then quickly made my way to the door.
Sometimes people don’t need to know the truth.