Father's Day is just around the corner and you may be thinking you don't need any guy-advice for this particular holiday. And as far as your Dad is concerned, you don't.
First of all, your Dad isn't expecting a present. He's already bought himself everything he could possibly want the moment it popped into his head. "Delayed gratification" just isn't in your father's vocabulary.
If he's into fishing, he's already got the latest Rappala "Li'l Mermaid" lure with wriggle-action hips (TM), more treble hooks than Angelina has kids, and an underwater speaker that says "Bite me!" If he's into camping he's just purchased Coleman's new battery-powered Woodsman "Survivor" radio with a built-in GPS unit, fold out chain-saw, rocket-launched emergency flares, and the optional carbon fiber sonic-tubes for the "Cathedral-In-The-Woods" sound. Or if Dad is a golfer, he's pre-ordered the Tigger Woods Bouncy-Flouncy Fun-Fun-Fun number 5 fairway wood with the patented "tops are made out of rubber, bottoms are made out of springs" dual action grips.
The point is that you don't have to think too hard about buying Dad a present. By definition, anything you get him is either a duplicate of something he's already got or he didn't want it in the first place. Your best bet is to get him something that he'll use up -- like a bag of potato chips. Don't bother wrapping it. Holding your thumb over the price tag as you hand it to him is enough to show that you care. Dad's a guy, after all. He'll understand.
The tricky part about Father's Day comes if you have children of your own. You'd think that with Father's Day being a federally approved holiday devoted entirely to you, that you could do anything you want. In theory, Father's Day would be the perfect time to try things that you always wanted to do -- like go bowling with a bazooka or mount twin jet engines to the minivan -- but sadly, that isn't the case. As a father you'll be expected to spend the day with your children.
Clearly this isn't fair. For Mother's Day, you woke up early (i.e. five minutes before your wife) to help the kids make Mom a delicious bowl of oatmeal for breakfast. Then you basically spent the day doing whatever she liked and ended it by taking her and the kids out to dinner. It's not your fault that you didn't know that oatmeal needed to be cooked or that the restaurant that your pal Bernie recommended was, in fact, a strip club. So now that it's your day, will you be able to do whatever you want, like watching your entire boxed set of "Near-Fatal Sports Bloopers"? Don't count on it.
But instead of brooding on the injustice of it all, do something constructive. Use this time to bond with your kids. For example, you could take this opportunity to learn your kids' real names. You really shouldn't call your daughter "Freckle-Face" when you're giving her away at her wedding and it'll be bad form to phone up your son's law firm and ask to speak to "Monkey-Brain". They grow up so fast. It's never too early to start.
You can also use Father's Day to teach them a few valuable life lessons and share some of your wisdom that they'll remember for the rest of their lives. (I mean, in addition to the "pull my finger" game.) Why lecture about the dangers of firecrackers when you can make a lasting impression on your five-year-old son with an M-80 and a bullfrog? And which do you think your eleven-year-old daughter will remember more? Some dry speech about the dangers of mixing ruffies with alcohol or sitting down on the couch with her Dad and watching three or four "Girls Gone Wild" DVDs? Trust me, these are the kinds of activities that your children will remember the rest of their lives -- no matter how hard they try to forget and despite thousands of dollars of therapy.
If you follow this simple advice you'll always be "Dad" to them -- even after Social Services takes them away. And that's what Father's Day is all about.
Dan writes a weekly humor column called Tomfoolery & Codswallop. You can visit Dan's website where he welcomes your comments and suggestions for future columns.