Want the news summarized?
Subscribe to The Morning Report.
Friday, June 9, 2006 | It’s not easy being a dad but the hardest part is hinting to your family what you’d really like on Father’s Day.
That’s because a lot of dads I have spoken with admit the one thing they really want on Father’s Day is time away from their families (which sort of defeats the purpose of having a pro-family day).
So instead of freedom, a lot of Fathers settle for gifts on their big day. Sadly, there is no perfect Father’s Day gift because there is no perfect father.
I believe American families still treat Father’s Day as a poor relation to Mother’s Day. For instance, Mother’s Day is the number one day for the restaurant business while Father’s Day is a day when dad slaves over a hot barbecue cooking for everyone else.
Admittedly, a lot of the second class treatment is the fault of the fathers themselves. Most men realize their wives do a lion’s share of the work around the house and feel weird about insisting on a holiday for themselves.
Another problem is the gifts that get pushed on dads. Besides the stereotypical ties – which make little sense in the middle of a San Diego June – the pickings for Father’s Day gifts range from ridiculous to just plain weird.
For instance, there’s a San Diego-based website called www.redriderleglamps.com that gets a big boom in business around Father’s Day for its flagship product: A $130 lamp featuring a woman’s leg just like the one in the 1980s’ holiday film, “A Christmas Story.”
Other pointless but thoughtful gifts are the Great Neck Tire Clocks, where the hour-hands are shaped as wrenches and the second-hands are shaped as screwdrivers, and the Big John Toilet Seat, which is made for the big-assed man and measures a spacious 19 inches, compared to the normal toilet seat, which is 14 inches.
Another item that is supposedly a perfect Father’s Day gifts is a product called Dave’s Hot Sauce & Garden Spray, which, true to its name, can either spice up some carne asada or keep the bunnies out of the garden. Amazon.com sells it for $5.49 a bottle – which is a bargain at half the price.
In fact, lots of businesses make a killing off food items on Father’s Day. Vienna Beef sells a Mega Father’s Day Party Kit ($74.95), which does make for a truly authentic experience for Midwest transplants. The kit includes some all-beef hot dogs, bright green relish, sport peppers, a jar of Plochman’s yellow mustard, celery salt and 16 poppy seed buns.
The Italian Beef kit boasts two pounds of sliced Italian beef, two pounds of gravy, some Giardiniera peppers and eight Italian rolls. The indigestion is free of charge.
If you don’t want dad to bust a gut all in one day, there are service like the Healthy Carnivore, which sells variety packs of various free-range meats and poultry and the Solomon’s Cookies Cookie of The Month Club, which, true to its name, delivers a variety of sweets every month.
Of course, if your Dad has high triglycerides like me, you may also want to invest in the Philips HeartStart Home defibrillator, which is the first and only defibrillator available without a prescription.
Some gifts are a little more subtle (subtler than an in-home defibrillator? How can that be?). Take the Dyson DC14 Drive vacuum cleaner. Honestly, a vacuum cleaner seems like a really sucky Father’s Day gift. It’s like telling dad, “Here’s your gift. Get to work.” But every man I know who has tried the Dyson has become addicted to vacuuming and the reason is simple: Since you actually see the dirt as it’s collected, there’s no delayed gratification waiting until the bag is filled.
Meanwhile, there are gifts like the Head Blade that can only be appreciated by a select group of Dads: the bald ones. It’s a razor that looks a little like a Hot Wheel with a ring that that fits over the middle finger. The blade pivots so you can glide the blade over your scalp with a natural motion; an action that the manufacturer says is as simple as “running a hand through your lack of hair.”
Finally, there are gifts for the guys who are too young to be Dads. For those, there is the Fretlight guitar, which is an interactive guitar learning system that hooks up to both an amp and a computer so that wannabe guitarists can learn to play by following a series of lights embedded in the fretboard.
The $500 guitar also comes with software that allows you to learn solos or rhythm parts as fast or as slow as needed. As a guitarist, I find the instrument itself is quality and a bargain when combined with the software.
Plus, it’s a little more festive than the in-home defibrillator.
David Moye is a La Mesa-based writer whose ideal Father’s Day gift would be a bacon cheeseburger – with a side order of defibrillator. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Or, write a letter to the editor.