There are few things in this world that upset me as much as Father's Day Gift Guides. Maybe hair in my food, and war, but that's about it. Oh, and Valentine's Day Gift Guides. I guess I'm easily upsettable.
But anyway, according to Father's Day Gift Guides, all fathers do all day is play golf, smoke cigars, shave with deluxe shaving kits, listen to Van Morrison on Bose speakers, and chuckle about the hilarious novelty boxer shorts hiding under their Dockers.
My dad has never done any of these things.
If I were to make a gift guide that was actually relevant to my own father, a grumpy animal behavior scientist with a profound fear of home invasion (I love you, dad!), it would most definitely not include monogrammed golf tees. In fact, allow me to show you just how different it would look next to my best impression of a Regular Father's Day Gift Guide:
Regular Father's Day Gift Guide Suggestion: Book of pictures of grilled meats.
Show dear old Dad that he really is King of the Grill with the definitive book on barbecue! Throw in a "Kiss the Cook" apron and you've got a delicious gift pack that's sure to please Dad (and the whole family's tastebuds!).
(My) Father's Day Gift Guide Suggestion: Book of pictures of monkeys
I got this book for my dad for Christmas last year, and he opened it to a picture of an orangutan, sighed, and said, "Technically an orangutan is not a..."
"Wait!" I cried, and pointed out the asterisk that added "and some apes" to the title.
"Oh," he said. "Very good."
(Both books from Amazon.com)
Regular Father's Day Gift Guide Suggestion: Box of cigars
When your dad appreciates the finer things in life, nothing less will do. A box of cigars is the perfect way to show him you care and remind him to relax (and breathe deeply!) every once in a while.
(My) Father's Day Gift Guide Suggestion: Box of fried chicken gizzards
My dad delights in making appalling food choices at unlikely places. Fried chicken gizzards and a chocolate milkshake at a quaint cafe, a steaming bowl of clam chowder 500 miles inland, etc. He pretends to genuinely enjoy these things, but my mom and I believe it's for the shock value.
Regular Father's Day Gift Guide Suggestion: Golf club
Dad spends every weekend out on the green--why not help him improve his game? This golf club is sure to impress his buddies and land him a few birdies!
(My) Father's Day Gift Guide Suggestion: Snake stick
Some dads work on their short game, my dad goes to eastern Oregon to catch rattlesnakes.
He finds them, catches them, looks at them, and puts them back. No, I don't know why. He just likes snakes, OK?
Picture from my new favorite website, snakecatcherstick.com
Regular Father's Day Gift Guide Suggestion: Flat screen TV
Give Dad the viewing experience of a lifetime with a top-of-the-line flat screen TV! With a picture this crisp and clear, he'll practically be able to smell the grass and sweat at game time!
(My) Father's Day Gift Guide Suggestion: Taser
I've been trying unsuccessfully for the past twenty minutes to describe, in a few sentences, why my dad would want a taser, so I'm just going to give up and paste in a passage from an essay I wrote a few years ago that illustrates why my dad is the kind of person who would want a taser, and why he is the kind of person who probably shouldn't have one:
My dad was in the shower when he heard the front door creak open. His four kids were supposed to be at school, his wife was at work, and no visitors or deliveries were expected. He turned off the water and stepped out, adrenaline pumping at the possibility of years of anticipation and weapons hoarding finally culminating in this moment.
He silently wrapped a towel around himself and put his ear to the door to listen. Footsteps in the kitchen. Yes. Someone was in the house, his house. His mobile arsenal—the .22 longrifle, the Ruger handgun, the enfield .303, two snubnose .38 revolvers, the police-issue nightstick, the Remington 870 security shotgun and camouflage Kevlar helmet—was tucked away in the upstairs closet, boxes of bullets mingling with my mom’s Nordstrom skirts. He’d have to get creative.
In the back pocket of his jeans piled on the floor was the four-inch folding knife he carried with him everywhere. He extracted it from the crumpled denim and tucked it into his towel. Next, deftly as a trained assassin, he ripped the metal towel rack from the bathroom wall and clutched it to his chest. He leaned against the door, listening to the intruder move through the kitchen and paw through his possessions. Pushing his blonde hair from his eye, he braced himself for battle.
On the silent count of three, he threw open the door to charge the invader and incapacitate him with the metal rod only to find his 18-year-old son standing in the kitchen, toasting a bagel.
“Hi Dad,” my brother said, eyeing the towel rack. “I got out early.”
Aaaannnnnd I'll end there. Good luck finding gifts for your own crazy dads!