Demon Cards

Awhile ago, a kind soul gave me a bunch of hand-me-down alphabet and number cards. She suggested I could use them in MJ’s room. How wonderful, I thought! What a great idea! The cards are beautifully executed, featuring water colored pictures of birds and animals. Unfortunately neither the letters or numbers were in a complete set. When I finally got to hanging them, then, I decided to go for a totally random presentation. I started on MJ’s door:

“G-W-K-I-Q-and-D! This is the alphabet to somebody!” I didn’t really sing that. But come on. It looked lovely. So lovely that I became complacent, and did nothing with the remainder of the cards for a long time.

Finally, one morning when Myra-Jean had awoken at an absurdly early hour, I got inspired (or desperate for something to do with her, depending on your interpretation). Together, she and I put up all the rest of the cards. Alternating animals and birds, letters and numbers (unlike on the door, where the alphabet clearly won out) I lined the two longest walls. It looked amazing.

OK, I won’t say they were a perfect match with the Japanese-anime-themed Futurama poster beneath them, but hey, what is? At least it’s all colorful. Best of all, we had a lot of fun putting them up. MJ loved rolling the scotch tape up and placing it on the back of the cards — all four corners — then watching me lunge clumsily towards the wall, grunting amusingly as I stuck each one in its place. Only occasionally falling over in my bathrobe.

And for one or two days, her room looked really, really cute. Like, Crate and Barrel Kids cute. Or — OK — maybe Target kids. Or K-Mart. Does K-Mart do kids? I’m sure they have something. Anyway, it looked better than it ever had.

Or ever would again. Because then, the damn things started falling. At first it was just one:

Annoying, but fixable. And probably a fluke. I pressed it back in its place — after all, the tape was still there. Problem solved.

And then another one came down.

This one was above the crib, which meant climbing into said article to re-hang it. Fine. I did.

The next day it came down again. Back in the crib for me. Waaaaah. There are a lot of dolls in there. They make footing uncertain. This time I added more tape. We were out of scotch, so I used packing. Now it’ll stay, I thought. Packing tape is used for far tougher jobs than this. This’ll be a walk in the park. Packing tape can do this in its sleep. Does packing tape sleep? No! It doesn’t need to! That’s how strong it —

And down it came again. F-ing thing. I began to loathe this particular card. Who’d ever heard of a Yellowhammer anyway? What am I, a birder?

But it wasn’t just my feathered friend that fell. It was all of them. One at a time, of course. In a gleefully random fashion. Always politely waiting for their predecessor to be re-taped to the wall. And to this day, no matter what kind of adhesive I use, the damn things won’t stay up. I have tried twintack. Hah. The velcro stuff. Double hah. (Full disclosure: I can’t even figure out how to get it out of the package). More packing tape? Nothing doing. WTF?

Mike says “it’s just the plaster,” or, in a variation on this (nonsensical) theme, “it’s just the paint.” As in, that’s just what these things do. Plaster (or paint) just repels scotch tape. Or adhesives in general. Or animal and bird alphabet and number cards. Everyone knows that. Right?


I am beginning to suspect that these little cards, so innocent in appearance, so fetching, so sweet, have been sent here by the Devil. To torment me. I can almost hear their little cardboard mouths laughing — cackling, even! With glee! “Ha ha ha! We’re getting her!” they say. “We’re wearing her down! See how she stomps? See how she mutters? See how she trembles with rage? We’ll have her in the looney bin yet!”

Looney. That’s a bird, right? On the number three card? I think that’s the one that used to be next to the zebra. Before it fell behind the bookshelf. I will retrieve it someday. Probably when we move.

In the meantime? I’m using thumbtacks.

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