Saturday, September 16, 2006

Dad Shopping

A friend of mine got me thinking. She was in one of those life predicaments that is almost unavoidable, and she was looking for some help. She spoke the words that can strike fear into the heart of even the bravest warrior:

"What the hell can I get my Father for his birthday????"

Now you may not have a dad of your own anymore, but somewhere in your life is someone who fits the bill. Could be a father in law, a husband (yeah most Moms have to shop for something the kiddies can give to ol' Pop). Grandpa's don't quit count, because pretty much any item related to fishing makes a suitable gift. And with fishing, you'll never, ever run out of items to buy.

Nope, I'm talking about Dad Shopping. It is something almost none of us can escape. Ah yes. The dreaded Dad Shopping.The most fearsome question known to man. And at that moment, your heart shudders. For Dad Shopping is like working a computer.

Christmas shopping doesn't really count, because if you have a Mom and a Dad, you can kinda just buy something you know Mom wants. And then write both names on the tag.

No it's the Birthday Gift. There's a whole bunch going on in the mental process here. Of course, there's the moral motivation, as you can't believe you can't come up with a decent gift for the man you call Dad. He brought you into the world, for God's sake. How can you not know?

But there's also that little blip in your brain that says you have to get a good gift, because you don't want to go home that night, knowing that your Dad is sitting in the chair mumbling "What the hell kind of stupid-ass gift is this?"

Then he accuses your Mom of infidelity, 'cause no way a child that stupid came from his loins. And it's just a big mess, and...


It happens to almost every one of us, and it's something that we fear. Yes, we FEAR it, because it's one of those times that our brain just absolutely quits on us. Shuts down, goes blank, like a reformatted hard drive. Yeah, just like the times when you spend 8 hours reinstalling Windows. Everything you have spent the past year inputting, every shred of information, GONE. Think about it a second...

Remember in school, you'd sit down for that Math test; you'd open the little booklet, and turn to the first problem, and it would look something like this:

xy+zy(9a+3b)² + (ab²x2xy) + (b * ½a)³ * x³ .

And then you'd read:


And you'd freeze. Dead cold frozen. "G? G? there's no G, what the hell? How do I find the value of G?"

That my friends, is the problem. G= Dad's GIFT!

So you get a zero on the test, and you vow to study a lot harder for the next exam. And every math class from then on, you listen, observe and take notes.

Same thing happens with Dad's gifts. In this class though, you get very little help from the teacher, cause Dads NEVER know what they want. Every father, same old story:

"What can I get you for your Birthday, Daddy?"

"Umm, nahh, can't think of anything. Just get me a card," he answers.

Yeah right.

Just TRY gettin' ol' Dad an empty card for his birthday.

And a lot of us feel creepy stuffing cash into a card for Dad. Even if we want to, and do, it's just not 100% comfortable. And don't even get started with the Gift Cards. He may like it, actually, and it may be a great idea. But more than likely, you could do better by taking the 25 bucks and setting it on fire. Unless it's a card to a place Mom could get herself something. Because months later, the Gift Card Guilt will be there, taunting and torturing you.

Always there, louder and louder, like the Tell-Tale Heart.

A Gift Card. HOW COULD I?

And neck ties. You see a man, all dapper in his suit, white shirt, wing tipped shoes and a necktie. A necktie is a joke.

Do you know there is only reason why men are wearing neckties in the first place?

They were invented so that desperate children had something to get their Dads for the birthdays.

Think about it.

Why in God's name would you tie a stupid piece of silk, (a fabric you place nowhere else in your male wardrobe) around your neck? It chokes, it binds, and makes you sweat. But it bails out the kids, so, it's one of the things Dads do for Love!

But you know what I mean. You failed this test so many times. Oh, you may have gotten a D-minus a few times, but you are fed up, and determined to get it right this time around.

So your eyes are open, and your mind is a sponge. You're in some store in February, right after the Christmas Shopping horrors are over. And you spot something on the shelf. Could be Walmart, Sports Authority, Borders Books, doesn't matter.

You spot it, and immediately think, "Ohhh Dad would love that".

Well, too late to make it a Christmas gift, and Dad's birthday is in August, so you say "I have to remember this and get it for Dad on his birthday this year."

You click SAVE, and move on. You've got your eye on the prize, and you're good to go. And even in say, March, when you're out shopping for your Shamrock decorations and green t-shirt for St. Patty's Day, you'll see something in a store window, and again, the prompt pops up.

"Oooh Dad would really like that". And you click SAVE, being careful to put in into the same folder with the February entry.

Oh you are doing so well.

And on and on it goes. You breeze through Spring, and shop for Mother's Day, which is rarely a problem cause we always know what Mom wants. Hell, she just usually tells us. Well maybe not directly, but through thousands of hints. You're headed out of the Mall, see some strange new store sitting there between the Verizon Wireless Shop and The Limited. And it's a cool looking place. Got a whole bunch of gadgets, toys and trinkets. It's almost like a Man Store chock full of goodies that are just perfect for Dad. Whoa, here you have to create a whole new subfolder to save, cause you don't want to get mixed up. You've found a TREASURE trove!


Good to go.

Then the Professor throws the Pop Quiz of Death.



You didn't see it coming, you freaked out and you blew it. You left your hard drive home, and you didn't bring the Flash Memory Card.

And Dad got a pair of socks.

Now that reminds me. There are times when a man needs socks.They rarely, if ever, will buy them for themselves. I mean he is walking around with a little piece of white elastic wrapped around his big toe. His feet are hanging out, baby, and this man needs socks. And you arrive on the scene on Father's Day with your neatly wrapped 6 pack of crew socks. He's happy, he's grateful and you feel like you did something good.

However, that feeling is about as gratifying as getting your G.E.D. on the same day your bratty sister becomes a PhD.


But again, it's all about the learning experience. You're an adult, you learn from your mistakes and you move on.

So now, you're thinking how cool it is that you are prepared. And you're getting so, so good at studying and remembering to SAVE the items to your Folder. You're loving life, cause THIS year you're going to be READY!

And now, it's August and his birthday is this weekend. Oh you are so ready. You get to the mall, boot up the brain and head on in.
You're at the store, you click the Folder marked "DADS GIFTS" (it's written like that cause you can't type a ' in the folder name) and...


You are NOT pulling up any useful data. You're hitting the ANY key to continue, but it's no use. Nothing. Blank disc. You're out of Memory.

Good God, why have you abandoned me!

But then, just as the screen flickers, your floppy drive spits out one last byte.
The MAN STORE! That place on the upper level, right between The Verizon Wireless Shop and The Limited. YES! Salvation!

You hop on the escalator. You fly up those moving steps. Your Flash Memory is allowing you to remember where that store was, and you're on your way! You race to the store, your system hasn't completely failed you.

Then you see it.

Tucked in between The Verizon Wireless Shop and The Limited: 5 or six planks of 4x8 plywood.

Your heart goes into defib as you race up and see the little handwritten sign that says

"Coming Soon: Lucy's Handbags".

Now just before the blue screen goes completely blank, just before the CPU is toast, a scream emerges from your quivering lips. It's a horrible sound, but no one pays any mind, because it's a sound they all well recognize. Your brain has crashed. At best, they offer a sympathetic glance, and maybe a nod of the head.

And so, Monday morning, Dad goes to work. He's had his birthday dinner, he blew out the candles, ate the cake.

And everyone is noticing his new tie.

There's always next year, huh? Go get the Windows Reinstall disc.

So my friend, if you're out there, know that we feel your pain. You are not alone.

There's always next year.


  1. LMFAO!!! That's EXACTLY how I am with my father-in-law. And I can't do the put-both-names-on-the-tag Christmas thing either, since the mother-in-law will be pissed. So that's three times a year that happens to me! Grrrrr!!

    Annie =)

  2. LMFAO! Even though I'm about to speak seriously on this matter, I really DID laugh my ass off and what you wrote Very creative and hilarious!

    Since my father and I rarely ever speak anymore, or hardly talk for long periods of time before he "disowns" me once again, this isn't really an issue for me.

    But, for me I was a small kid. I had a small allowance. I could either make something, buy something from those school fairs or buy something from a store. He'd never appreciate it, because with him it wasn't the thought which counted. No.

    He would TELL you what he wanted. He wanted $40 (or more) cologne. He wanted a diamond pinky ring Even though he HAD one. He wanted Another pair of Italian Leather shoes. He asked ME for these things. He wasn't kidding.

    My GRANDPA (mother's side) the one I called my buddy. The one who WAS my surrogate father. He passed away in April this year. HE loved anything and everything I made or bought. He Would have been content with just a heartfelt card. Of course he'd never turn a gift down lol but he loved to give more than receive.

    I get that from him. I never ask for gifts. I never expect gifts. If someone wants to buy me something, no matter what it is I appreciate it!

    But my grandpa was also content just spending time with his family. We'd sing, eat ice cream, order a pizza and watch the Yankees game together. Good times. Very, good times. I miss him so much

  3. This was too funny....I totally understand. But my father's birthday is usually in the same week as Father's day, so it's really bad for me. He's got to be the hardest person to buy for, because if he doesn't like it, you can tell. Then you offer to return it. And you do, then you back to square one. so I owe him a present again....

    My son suggested an IPOD last Christmas for my dad. I thought it would be too complicated for him. But my son said he had mentioned that he was thinking of buying one. Well he loves music & has a large library of songs, I went out & bought the 30 GB. I must have owed him a few presents from past birthdays....this should cover it. My older kids contributed to it too(b/c they wanted to)I was set....
    well a few months after xmas, he gave it to me. Too complicated for him. So now I have this really great IPOD which you can also add photos & videos....; )
    So an IPOD is a really great gift.
    ; ) You'll enjoy it! +{VBG}+

  4. I lost it completely when I got to the part about accusing Mom of infidelity. LMAO! You are such a hoot!

    Seems to me the real issue is that most men buy what they want when they want it. It does not leave much room for wives and children to wow them with something exciting. We get stuck with the socks, ties, underwear, etc., to give them.

    I do have to say I come up with some pretty neat ideas anyway.

  5. Oh my god lol I can't tell you how hard I'm laughing lol That was hilarious. The best analysis of dad shopping that could ever be written lol

    I have to show this to my mom, she has the same issues with shopping for my father as I have. He never wants anything but hates not getting anything ::rolls eyes::

    I have to say this year I got sooooo damn lucky lol A couple weeks after Father's Day (things came up so we couldn't do anything) mom and I bought him this really nice leather office chair. And well you know about my revelation on tickets lol

    If only I could get so lucky every year. ::sigh:: I guess once every 19 years isn't bad huh? lol



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