Thursday, June 12, 2008

(My) Father's Day Gift Guide

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

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,

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!


Anonymous said...

Oh my god you're beyond hilarious.

Unknown said...

now, is that essay a work of fiction, or a documentary piece?

Selina (Flying Saucer) said...

i'm getting my dad a bbq skewer shaped like a sword, go figure!

WendyB said...

Snake stick. I can't get over the snake stick.

Anonymous said...

He ripped out the towel bar?!? That is awesome! Did his paranoia start after seeing "Psycho"? 'cause that's when my mom's did. And I love *and some apes.

Anonymous said...

HA! I love your dad's monkey/ape correction. I've done that about a zillion times. I'm getting a degree in animal behavior myself right now, and take every opportunity to lord my animal knowledge over the animal ignorant. Tell him to say "hi" to the snakes for me. Snakes RULE.

My architect dad - the one who wears small tasteful glasses, plays tennis every weekend, and lives in a house with all white walls, heavy blond-wood furniture, Wrightian lamps, and Asian art - requested a license plate frame for father's day.


Apparently senility has finally set in. But since the man never asks for anything ... a palm-encrusted eyesore he shall receive. Oy.

Poochie said...


My dad would probably want a gigging stick - with which to "gig" flounders.

Tell your Dad I found a baby coral snake in my front yard in FL. I captured it and took it out to the woods and let it go.

I can send pictures, because, yes, I put it in a bucket, brought it inside to identify it and then took pics.

My husband was not amused.



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On behalf of Exile Productions and Exile Publishing, many thanks for plugging Van Morrison and, if you / your readers want good quality, non-pirated, preview tracks from Van’s new album – “Keep It Simple” - full versions of "That's Entrainment" and "Behind The Ritual" (along with album track samplers) are available for fans and bloggers to link on Lost Highway's web-site at .

Up-to-the-minute info on Keep It Simple and Van’s 2008 shows is, of course, also available on and and, for a limited period, you can still hear Van's exclusive BBC concert at and you can also see his BBC sessions at .

Thanks again for your support.



Grace said...

Your pop seems like a cool guy.

TheSundayBest said...

Apparently, you've been pimping Van Morrison...

Your dad sounds like my dad, who stalks mosquitoes OUTSIDE with a fly swatter.

Also - sent you an email. Hopefully it doesn't get bounced.

Vancouverista said...

you are hilarious, i love this post!

daddylikeyblog said...

The essay is nonfiction, all the way.

/// said...


Unknown said...

LOL! That was great! I too hate all of those guides! Unrealistic and way too expensive! I love your snazzy and relavant ideas. So brilliant - and that essay! Tell me you got top marks right? Brilliant, I think I'm getting my dad a garden fork this year, I know, I know but he's been out in the garden a lot lately and the last one broke. (How someone can break it I just don't know!)
Cuddles and cookies,

Anonymous said...

This was so hilarious! I'm going to do the very boring (albeit very Asian) thing and take my family out for dim sum for Father's Day.

Masters in the Czech said...

This post is great! I have the same problem with my father, but everything I can think of to get him, he already has! So I am set on improving his wardrobe from ratty tshirts that say `King of the Shop`, to some shirts that do not have holes in them!

EJ said...

I... I love your blog. I wasn't going to get my dad anything for father's day this year, but now I'm inspired. I'm thinking something cowboy related...

Bekah said...

ahahhha ohhhh my dear goodness
I'd definitely get my dad the snake stick if we got better snakes up here than garder snakes. the taser would be PERFECT...but there's that recent joke about canadians using tasers going around...and he might use it on my poor cat, yoda.
I think the monkey book is perfect!
*giant grin and info-mercially thumbs up* THANKS, DADDY LIKEY! :D

Margaux said...

I had never seen your blog before, but I officially love you. In the least creepy* way.

*Possibly an extremely creepy way.

Anonymous said...

fathers day.O god v dont even remember that..Sorry daddy.But this post will give me some idea..Thanks.

Anonymous said...

So...? Is anyone going to eat those gizzards?


la petite fashionista said...

hahaha I love this. so true! i work at a retail store & i kind of gag at the gift suggestions (mahogany phone holder, jumbo size tv remote, sterling silver cuff links). I think if people bought more for their fathers actual tastes the world would be a much happier place<3

Diana said...

Funny post! I've seen that book, it's cool I wanted it for myself. I still don't know what to get my dad though. Thanks for the help : )

Ariel said...

(laugh) I think Ilove your dad.

WOLF Q said...

once when i was a about 12 years old i woke up in the middle of the night feeling ill & on the verge of vomiting. in order to seek some solace & perhaps some medicine i started walking upstairs to my parents room. my mom, who is a doctor, was not home that night because she was working in the ER so it was just my father who was home that night. my father knew that my mom would not be home until & when he heard footsteps on the stairs he made the assumption that the timid footsteps could only belong to a burglar. the thought that it could be one of his two children walking up the stairs never crossed so he prepared himself for the attack. unlike your father my dad did not any fancy weaponry to defend himself so he called upon his rudimentary knowledge of kung fu.another thing that he was missing besides a weapon was clothing since my father prefers to sleep in the nude. so my father hid himself behind the door of his room & braced himself for the right moment to attack which was when i got to the top of the stairs. he burst out from behind the door completely naked & ready to karate chop my head off.

Rachel said...

AHAHAHA WEB SHERRIFF! hilarious auto-comment thanking you "for plugging Van Morrison!" AMAZINGGGG.

Joanna Goddard said...

LOVE the monkey book!!! your dad must be psyched. also, smart :)

Do You Think I Am An Automaton said...

This post is hilarious! You are so right about the ridiculous advertising for father's day. Why is everyone's dad supposed to be an Ivy League graduate who smokes cigars and golfs all day? Ridiculous! Keep posting girl!

Anonymous said...

I had no idea your dad was such a rock star. Rattlesnakes?!

Winnie said...

Oooh I am definitely adding you to my blogroll! A fellow Winn? I have been toying with the idea of buying a BBQ fork in the shape of a sword. It was pretty hilarious but unfortunately out of my price range!!

Winnie said...

Oh lol, I just read Selina's comment and she got her dad the sword? ha ha.

Fashion Hayley said...

hahaha so funny. Its not fathers day in Australia until September so I'll keep those gift ideas in mind....except not the taser, we don't really have those for personal use in Australia...or guns for that matter.

pretty said...

Winona you are toooooooo funny to be real. I am ashamed to admit that I forgot that it was father's day today until I saw the little google image. I think that's when my dad realised too, so I'm safe.

Anonymous said...

Crackalackin! crazy cools from a sister who rules.

Rachel said...

I sent this to my dad, with the message "You're not the only one! Happy Father's Day."

He loved it. You're great, & so's yer dad. I wish he and my dad could hang out and eat chicken gizzards together. My dad once ordered something in Mexico that I didn't recognize (the food nor the word for it), and only after insisting I taste it did he reveal that it was cojones. Yep, bull balls. Thanks, Dad!

jennine said...

my dad already has a tazer.

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