The Cards I Play

Close Up Of A Deck Of Cards
Close Up Of A Deck Of Cards

When Donald Trump accused Hillary Clinton of "playing the woman card," I had the same reaction as many women. Hell, yes. Deal me in. All that.

And then I realized that I have in my deck a whole treasure chest of cards. Since I've never been much of a poker player and couldn't achieve a poker face if my life depended on it (but don't make me show you my Resting Bitch Face) I'm going to show my hand.

It's a good one.

1. The Cancer Card.
Having had breast cancer -- twice -- I feel entitled to use this one when, and only when, it can get me something. As in, telling a United Airlines attendant that I must have an aisle seat, because I am a cancer survivor and taking medication that can cause deep vein thrombosis, and I need to be able to stand and walk around. Yes, I did play that card. Shamelessly. Well, semi-shamelessly.

2. The Broken Leg Card. Okay, so I broke my leg in a motorcycle accident way back in 1979, but it still counts because I have a metal plate holding my left femur together, and that leg does sometimes act up on the occasional rainy day. Plus, playing that card is just a good story, and gets me both sympathy and a level of coolness -- girl on a motorcycle with a hot boyfriend! -- that I don't actually possess.

3. The Short Person Card. I'm only 5 feet tall and I feel entitled to be in the front of things where I couldn't otherwise see, so I play this card from time to time, especially if I think I might be spending some time gazing at the belt line, or worse, of very tall people.

4. The Old Card. If someone I know in a band proposes that I come and listen to him drum, but, yeah, the set doesn't start until 10 p.m., I totally play that card. Oh, I totally would love to hear you, but...

5. The I Lived In China Card. No one in this country can complain to me about air pollution here. They just can't. Add to that people complaining when their heat isn't working well. People, we had heat in Beijing apartments only from November 15 to March 15, even if there was snow on the ground before and after that.

6. The Mother Card. My children occasionally say that I've overstepped my bounds in telling them who, for instance, they should date or what they might have for breakfast on any given day. Nope, it's all there on the Mother Card, I tell them.

7. The Big Sister Card. I've got three younger siblings, but I get to decide things like who made the best Italian food at Christmas. Who says I get to decide? I do. I may no longer have the right to whack them over the head with a Sugar Daddy bar, but with the Big Sister Card, I get a say in their lives.

8. The Low Blood Sugar Card.
If I have a croissant and a cappuccino for breakfast, I get low blood sugar, which then allows me to have a total meltdown. Sometimes people confuse this with the Bad Behavior Card. There is no such thing unless you play cards #8 or 9.

9. The Alcohol Card. If I have a tad too much to drink -- and I'm a total lightweight on that account -- I can't be blamed for the stupid things I say or the f-bombs I drop indiscriminately.

10. The Diabetes Card. Not precisely the same as the Low Blood Sugar Card, this one allows me to turn down dry cake or store-bought cookies because I have a family history of diabetes. This card does not apply to the pint of Ben & Jerry's Caramel Core in the freezer.

11. The Crazy Cat Lady Card. I have a cat -- I've always had cats -- which means you are not allowed to bring your dumb-ass dog into my house.

12. The Journalist Card. You know those people who ask if you have a minute for the environment or LGBT rights? Well, since I write about many issues, not only cannot I not donate money to your cause, but I also cannot sign my name to any dumb-ass petition. Which everyone knows does nothing but get you on yet another annoying mailing list.

I'm going to venture that I'm not the only person who plays various cards. I've got mine on the table now. Deal me in.

Debra Bruno is a freelance writer in DC who realizes she might regret playing all of her cards in one fell swoop.