Make my card-signings witty!
June 19, 2008 2:53 PM   Subscribe

What witty things can I write on co-workers cards?

About once a month cards get passed around our office for everyone to sign. Writing "Happy Birthday!" and "Congratulations on your new addition to the family!" and "It's been great working with you, good luck at your new job" seems so lame, but I can never think of wittier things to write, especially on the spot, for people I don't know too well.

Help me come up with a few good things to write for all of life's occasions - birthday, wedding, baby, leaving the company, promotion, death in the family - so I would have a good stock to choose from next time I have to sign a card.
posted by KateHasQuestions to Society & Culture (24 answers total) 32 users marked this as a favorite
I got so sick of trying to think of something special to write on these damn things, that now I just do a Smashing Pumpkins style heart and my name. Otherwise, just put down the sentiment of the day ("Happy Birthday" "So sorry for your loss" "Congrats"). Just too much pressure otherwise.
posted by nax at 3:02 PM on June 19, 2008 [2 favorites]

One of my absolute favorite notes from a coworker, after I had resigned. It simply said "Quitter!"
posted by notjustfoxybrown at 3:05 PM on June 19, 2008 [1 favorite]

after my co-worker got hit by a car I wrote "I am signing this care purely out of social obligation. Congrats on not dying though!"

He likes that kind of humor though.
posted by drjimmy11 at 3:09 PM on June 19, 2008 [1 favorite]

For new baby cards, I usually put some not-so-subtle suggestion that my first name would be perfect for a girl OR a boy!

I also once saw "HOPE IT'S A BOY" and I don't know if it was meant to be funny or not but I was kind of charmed by its off-beat old fashioned quality. (It turned out to be a girl).
posted by lampoil at 3:15 PM on June 19, 2008

happy birthday: "congrats on another trip around the sun!"
retirement: "try not to miss me too much!"

i think for babies, illness and deaths, stick to the classics unless you know them very well.
posted by thinkingwoman at 3:32 PM on June 19, 2008 [1 favorite]

I usually write "keep on truckin'" for everything.
posted by Foam Pants at 3:34 PM on June 19, 2008 [4 favorites]

I can doodle/cartoon/draw, so I generally draw a little bundled baby or a cake on every coworker card. Unless it's a death, in which case I almost wish I was religious because atheists got nothing good to say.
posted by Juliet Banana at 3:36 PM on June 19, 2008

One of my favourites was :

An Irish Proverb:
See a penny,
pick it up,
and all day long
you'll have a penny.

The same fellow now goes into babelfish, translates 'My slippery goose won asparagus chess!' (or something similarly odd) into some language, then writes that on the card with the comment 'An ancient Greek proverb'.
posted by twirlypen at 3:54 PM on June 19, 2008 [12 favorites]

I was searching around for this a while back and this response to an earlier question solved all of my birthday card signing problems.
posted by milkrate at 4:03 PM on June 19, 2008 [1 favorite]

birthday: It's nice everyone remembered your birthday. Mine was yesterday.
wedding: I hope your green card comes soon!
baby: Call me if you need a babysitter. I'll look one up in the phonebook.
leaving the company: Is that what they call getting fired these days?
promotion: Ah, one more ass to kiss
death in the family: If you're in the will, I hope you don't have to do anything for the money, like in that one movie Brewster's Millions.
posted by poppo at 4:26 PM on June 19, 2008 [2 favorites]

Since everyone essentially writes the same thing on a card, I've taken to just crossing someone else's name off and writing mine underneath it. The recipient can still read the original author's name, but it saves everyone time and could conceivably be considered humorous.
posted by wubbie at 4:42 PM on June 19, 2008 [6 favorites]

"The internet said I should write this."
posted by smackfu at 5:13 PM on June 19, 2008 [1 favorite]

I hope your head doesn't fall off.
posted by stavrogin at 5:37 PM on June 19, 2008 [3 favorites]

Three formats that have worked well for me in office card-signings:

1. Riffing on something we happen to have made small-talk about, esp. perennial topics like our shared dislike of X or Y thing (careful who's signing it after you, though; a veiled conceit is often best), with the caveat that since it's their birthday/holiday/they're leaving, they can relax and not deal with X or Y.

2. Riffing on a recent or upcoming event in the office we're both part of (a deadline, a big meeting) or that you know they've had to deal with. E.g. "You've been working so hard on those reports all week—but now it's time to relax and enjoy [thing you like]."

3. Taking what someone else already wrote as a jumping-off point for meta commentary. This works especially well if you don't like the person/don't know the person well/can't think of anything to say. E.g. "Sarah's completely right—you deserve nothing but the best on your birthday!" or "Oops, looks like Sarah's note got smudged. I'm going to switch to Sharpie, 'cause you deserve nothing but the best. ;)"

In general, I treat these like a short composition on a theme, tailored to the specific occasion (birthday, holiday, etc.), and try to work in a joke or shared reference whenever possible. Seems to have worked pretty well so far.
posted by limeonaire at 5:42 PM on June 19, 2008 [1 favorite]

For birthdays I usually write "I'm sorry for your loss, my thoughts and prayers are with you." but I haven't yet had the guts to write "Happy birthday!" inside a sympathy card.
posted by bondcliff at 5:51 PM on June 19, 2008 [1 favorite]

I recently signed a close maternity-leave-bound co-worker's card (one of the three that were filled) with, "Whatever, richat". It worked out well, because days and days later, after the birth of her new baby boy, she got a chance to sit down and really look at the cards. She said mine reminded her of the laughs. So, that was nice.

I like wubbie's idea, and may borrow that.
posted by Richat at 6:15 PM on June 19, 2008

"We all thought you were far too old to give birth, but I guess you've proved us wrong. Congratulations!"
"I would say that I'm going to miss you, but my mama raised me to tell the truth."
"So you got a promotion! How did that happen? Seriously. What the hell?!"
"We'll miss you! Can I have your stuff?

Or, you could steal shamelessly from someecards. E.g., "I'll always think of you as a convenient source of free candy."
posted by the littlest brussels sprout at 7:27 PM on June 19, 2008 [1 favorite]

A guy I used to work with would always write an inappropriate, slightly scandalous note, signed with a fake name - eg: "will always remember your drunken karaoke rendition of Dancing Queen - lots of love, Bob" - the occasion didn't really matter. Made it more interesting for those signing the card after him, anyway! Those who he knew well got the joke, those who he didn't know well didn't know it was him. (He was also the guy who would haze new starters with an email requesting an urgent update on a fictitious project, so maybe not the best role model...)
posted by finding.perdita at 8:07 PM on June 19, 2008 [1 favorite]

For birthdays: "Forget about the past, you can't change it. Forget about the future, you can't predict it. Forget about the present, we didn't get you one." I think this is yoinked from somewhere, but for the life of me I can't remember where.
posted by planetthoughtful at 11:48 PM on June 19, 2008 [4 favorites]

For leaving cards, you could go for feigning ignorance of the person, like

"Marvin who?"
posted by MarvinJ at 1:10 AM on June 20, 2008 [1 favorite]

my company stopped doing these cards once we got bigger, but i used to always just write "happy birthday!" on every card i had passed to me. even if someone was leaving the company, getting married or whatever. but i didn't do that to be funny, i just didn't bother looking at the cards ever.
posted by snofoam at 7:25 AM on June 20, 2008

I've always been a fan of the Pink Floyd inspired “Shine on You Crazy Diamond”. It suits all occasions.
posted by nfg at 8:04 AM on June 20, 2008

Someone wrote "Everybody's got something to hide except for you and your monkey. Congratulations" on my yearbook once.
posted by Rinku at 3:26 PM on June 20, 2008

Great question. I write "Have a great summer" for pretty much everything.
posted by Idiot Mittens at 7:13 PM on June 20, 2008 [1 favorite]

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