Speaking as a father (“What — am I made of money? Go ask your mother! When you have your own roof, you can make your own rules! No, my abs aren’t flabby, they’re just meditating…”)
No, this could go on forever. Start over. Speaking as a COLUMNIST, with a strict word limit, I agree good fathers should be loved and respected. But no dad should take for granted that they will receive obligatory World’s Greatest Dad merchandise.
Seriously, they should actively DREAD such a last-minute, no-brainer gift. I mean, if the little rascals are just blowing smoke up your butt, they will become trapped in a stressful pattern of topping themselves. (“Dad, I just paid to have a whole newly discovered galaxy named after you. Yeah…Dad’s Galaxy. Now, could you please co-sign for a new Prius and for …um…what I still owe the observatory?”)
Conversely, if the kiddos sincerely harbor such a lofty opinion of you, they may wind up setting the bar embarrassingly low in other areas of life. (“Pop! I’m so excited! I just drove my generic car to my dorm at Generic University — home of the Fightin’ Indeterminate Species or Historical Figure — and fell in love with your generic future daughter-in-law!”)
Let’s face it: most of us don’t DESERVE World’s Greatest Dad paraphernalia, either because we’re unmotivated, emotionally distant, stereotypically dopey or painfully struggling to seem cooler than we are.
For example, you may not be getting a World’s Greatest Dad gift if the “swear jar” threatens to wreck the currencies of the European Union, Dubai and Chuck E. Cheese.
You may not be getting a World’s Greatest Dad gift if you drive the car over the family pet…WHILE the poor little goldfish is being given a “burial at sea” in the toilet.
You may not be getting a World’s Greatest Dad gift if you lazily teach the art of self-defense by leaving around a cassette of Carl Douglas singing “Everybody was kung fu fighting…”
You’ll receive even LESS martial arts credit if you accidentally taped over Carl Douglas with Minnie Riperton. (“Lovin’ you is easy ‘cause you’re beautiful…La la la la la…”)
You may not be getting a World’s Greatest Dad gift if you slapped the “I’m spending my children’s inheritance” sticker on the stroller instead of a Winnebago.
You may be not be getting a World’s Greatest Dad gift if you cover your forgetfulness of major milestones by lying, “The Tooth Fairy exceeded his budget while buying teeth from meth addicts.”
You may not be getting a World’s Greatest Dad gift if you ramble too long with your maxims: “A penny saved is a penny earned,” “There is no ‘I’ in team,” “If at first you don’t succeed, the next vasectomy surgeon may be more competent…”
You may not be getting a World’s Greatest Dad gift if you keep praying for an early entrance by John Wilkes Booth as little Johnny (portraying Abe Lincoln) explains how to split rails in his school pageant.
Even “woke” fathers face an uphill battle. You may not be getting a World’s Greatest Dad gift if you interrupt your child’s halftime cheerleading routine to protest the cultural appropriation inherent in the “pyramid.”
Speaking as a father again, always set reasonable expectations, appreciate Father’s Day and … oh, just WALK IT OFF with the REMAINING leg, for Pete’s sake!
Danny Tyree welcomes email responses at email@example.com and visits to his Facebook fan page “Tyree’s Tyrades.”
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