Relax, Father’s Day Isn’t Mother’s Day

Sweating about what to get your pops this year? Why? He only likes seven things anyway. Keep it simple.

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The trick to shopping for a Father’s Day present is to understand that this isn't Mother Day.

Unlike the second Sunday in May, which is prepped for and marketed months in advance, replete with brunches and church services and graduation exercises, the third Sunday in June is a day when dad gets breakfast in bed; a few gifts are exchanged, and by 11:30 or noon, everyone's ready to move on with their day (including dad). Really, the whole thing should probably be called Father's Morning, but I digress.

I've often wondered why the above is the case. I've whittled it down to the weighted average of species perpetuation. Yes, creating a life is a 50/50 proposition, but really it's not. During a pregnancy, I don't know too many guys who have to remove their rings for fear of choking the life out of their fingers, and I don't know any who have to push watermelons out of their nether regions. Like I said, it's 50/50, but it's not.

Now with that weighted average comes weighted expectations. Because you put weight on your mom that she couldn't get off and kept her up worrying for countless nights each year, you should be especially considerate at least for one day; Mom likely does most of the really hard parenting work, and it behooves all involved to remember that. How is that done? Through unwavering devotion of an entire, schedule-non-negotiable day built around her. And getting a good gift. Not a gift; a good gift.

Your dad? He got the easy (and fun) part of the average. Sure, he's had to deal with your mom’s temporary insanity from time to time, and with your own shenanigans, but most recognize that they’ve got the good and relatively easy end of the deal. In fact, if you took a straw poll of dads, I bet most can only approximate when Father's Day falls, but they ALL can tell you when Mother's Day is. Why? Because of the weighted average. (And because they know that's a day that they can find themselves in a world of hurt if they're not on the ball.)

So how should you approach Father's Day? First, take a big, deep breath and release some of the pressure you feel before Mother’s Day. In fact, the only person logically positioned to feel pressure about Father’s Day is your mom because she’s the one who’s committed to staying on top of all special days and events.

To be honest, the real key to a good Father's Day gift can be found in one of the basic tenets of theatre: Present something with which the audience is familiar in an interesting way.

Think about your dad. The guy probably only likes between seven and eleven things total. TOTAL. Knock three of those outsocks, ties and cologneand move from there. Unlike the magnum opus you work toward every second Sunday in May, dad's gift need only be an extension or continuation of one of the seven to eleven things he enjoys. Dad likes to bike ride? Get him a new helmet with some kind of clever attachment for his phone. Pops likes a glass of Chivas from time to time? Get him a few tumblers with his name engraved.

DO NOT GO OUTSIDE HIS WHEELHOUSE. He's your dad; if he didn't think to take up some new hobby on his own, don't bother trying to get him to do so. Otherwise, you'll soon find out that that state-of-the-art tennis racket hasn't seen the light of day. Do not present the audience something with which they cannot identify because they won't pay attention long enough to be interested.

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