Sappy Father’s Day!
First let me say, that I’m as shocked as anyone that we still celebrate this day. Not that we Dads aren’t worth it, but let’s face it, Father’s Day has never gotten the same respect as Mother’s Day. Not that moms don’t deserve it. Boy, DO they! I’ll be the first to admit it. Maybe they even deserve a little more, you know ’cause of that whole child-birth thing. I’m just saying that there’s a HUGE difference.
I’ve been fortunate that my Father’s Days have been pretty good. But while Moms get lobster on Mother’s Day, dads may get a tie in the shape of a lobster claw for their big day. Hey Dads, get your revenge by wearing that tie to your kids’ college graduations, or weddings! While Moms get flowers, Dad’s get a reminder to pick up flour on the way home. Moms get showered with attention. Dads are lucky if they have time take a shower before they have to start up the grill to cook their own meal. Moms get boxes of fancy candy, dads get a pair of boxers to match our lobster ties. Mother’s Day is also planned WAY ahead of time. How often I’ve heard “Okay, Mother’s Day is in 6 months. What should we do?” as opposed to hearing some kid on the street ask “Hey, Mom, when is Father’s Day again? It’s not on the calendar.” “I think it’s in September,” she answers.
So before you run out to the fancy tie store (aka Wal-Mart) to pick Dad up a tie… Or before you drive for hours to pick up his favorite cologne (also Wal-Mart)… take a few minutes to read this in order to show Dad how little you care. I mean “show Dad that you care a little.”
First: Plan ahead! If you haven’t thought of something yet, you’ve already dropped the ball.
Second: Don’t go for the cliche gift. At least not for Dads. Cliche gifts for Mom are different: Candy, flowers, jewelry… you can get those every year and not feel unloved. But for us it’s underwear, ties, socks … and where do you keep finding colognes like English Leather and Hi Karate anyway? I didn’t know they still even made those! At least Old Spice still makes commercials.
Third: Think about what you’ve given Dad in previous years. Have you ever seen him use any of them? Even ONCE?! If the answer is no, then let’s think outside the box this year. Especially if the box is filled with Hi Karate! Most Dad’s including me have enough cologne to last until we die. In fact, it’s already in my will, that when I go, I want to be doused (while in my coffin) with every unused bottle of cologne that’s in my drawer. Yeah, come view the body now! If you ain’t choked up cause you miss me, you will be by my overwhelming scent of musk. The same goes for bath robes. Personally, I’m not a bath robe-kind kind of guy. Please except it. Same goes for sports jackets. My wardrobe has circled back to when I was eight. I’ve got a suit to wear to a business meeting, a wedding, or to a funeral (or my own while smelling like Musk).
Fourth: Many Dad’s stress out over money, so spending a lot on him actually may have a negative effect. I’m guilty on this one. I’d much rather an inexpensive dinner and the movie of my choice (MY CHOICE) than spending our mortgage on a five-star French restaurant where I still leave hungry. My family knows this about me. Which is good.
Five: Okay, there is no fifth, just read the other four over and over til they sink in.
Okay, so now that I’ve told you what NOT to do, let me tell you what TO do. Start by thinking of who your Dad is. If you don’t know, then make that part of your assignment. Get to know him. As an artist and a big kid, I’d rather get any type or art supply or art book than a sports coat. My wife gave me a Silver Surfer graphic novel once. That impressed me for two reasons. The first was because I really like the Silver Surfer, he was one of my favorite comic book characters. But the biggest thing was that MY WIFE took the time to know that he was one of my favorite characters. She took an interest in something that I was interested in.
One of my favorite Father’s Day gifts of all time (beside the kids themselves) was a scrapbook that she made full of photos of me and the boys. The book started with the ultrasound photos and included pictures of first steps, first haircuts, T-ball … An amazing gift because of WHAT it is, and also the time that she put into it. I keep it over my drawing table and look at it often.
One of my favorite gifts from my kids was when they surprised me with breakfast that they made. Waffles from scratch! Usually I’m the one who does that. I got up early that day and went down in my studio to draw. About 10 a.m., there was a knock on my door and in walk my sons holding a plate of homemade waffles. “Happy Father’s Day!” they said excitedly. This scored points for several reason. The first being the surprise. The others being effort and initiative. I bit into the warm waffles and was immediately overwhelmed by a sensation that I have not often experienced. Partly because of how touched I was, and partly because of the waffles themselves. See what had happened was that the jar of white crystals in the cabinet wasn’t actually sugar, it was salt. And my Father’s day treat contained two full cups of salty goodness. Good times! Sadly, my sons who had worked so hard to surprise me, now were depressed at their seemingly wasted effort. “No, no, they’re good!” I said. “Maybe they’re not sweet, but they’re still good. Like the kind they serve at Roscoe’s Chicken and Waffles. They’re more dinner waffles, that’s all.”
“Really?” they asked excited that maybe their effort wasn’t a total waste of time after all.
So I ate them. Every bite. And they stood there proudly and watched. Each bite filling them with pride. Me too, for the next ten minutes, I was overcome by a warm tingling feeling. Maybe it was because of how grateful I was to have such wonderful sons, or maybe I was feeling my blood pressure rise to dangerous new levels, but the point is, this was time, this was effort, this was planning … this America … was Father’s Day. And weeks later, after I came to from my salt-induced coma, and to this day, it’s one of my fondest memories. The waffles made it a good story, but the salt made it a GREAT story.
Now before you run out to CVS or Walgreen’s to get Dad a discount gift, take a few minutes to think about what I just shared with you and ask yourself the following questions:
1) Is my Dad the type of Dad who will like ________?
2) Will his gift require him to do anything? (put it together, buy it himself, pick it up himself, clean up…)
3) Have I ever bought him anything like this, and if so, did he use that last one?
4) Have I invested any time, or thought, or planning?
5) Is there any part of this that will do him more harm than good? Like spending too much money.
6) Have I sent Jerry Craft a Paypal gift for changing my life and improving my relationship with my Dad?
Remember, it’s not the money that matters (except my PayPal gift), it’s the feeling behind it!
Thanks for reading.
Happy Father’s Day!