June 16, 2009
Sunday is Father’s Day. You might be a real bastard, but it doesn’t mean you don’t actually have a dad. It’s just that sometimes they’re a little hard to track down without a summons or ironclad DNA evidence. Being fatherless has some advantages. First, you save the money on the Father’s Day card … and more importantly, you save the time it takes to pick out the goddamned thing. The greeting-card aisle is an express ticket to an aneurysm – nearly as effective as chain-smoking, binge-drinking scotch, and eating bacon … all while hanging upside down in gravity boots. Loitering in front of the greeting-card section looking for a special sentiment that in any way remotely sums up your complicated relationship with your father is a good way to make your head explode. Should you go cute or funny? Maybe you could buy something syrupy and sentimental. How about a musical card that chimes “Wind Beneath My Wings”? Dad always was emotional. In fact, he’s so emotional that he might actually punch you in the teeth if you buy him a sissy greeting card. You’re on much safer ground with a set of grilling tools, even if your dad doesn’t grill. Similarly, your father may not fish, play poker, or golf, but chances are he won’t be insulted if you think he does (well, maybe the golf thing). This is not to say your father can’t appreciate Pablo Neruda, scented candles, or a hot-pink exfoliating sponge, it’s just that when it comes to Father’s Day presents, you’re better off going with something completely useless like a Sports Illustrated football phone or a beer hat – if only because it will provide hilarious evidence to his drinking buddies that his kid is an idiot. Yes, priceless. If money is no object and you’re really intent on brown-nosing pops (and don’t mind pissing off your mom), you can always spring for a Shiatsu massage chair, a Budweiser Clydesdale, a 1972 Dodge Challenger, or maybe the Green Bay Packers. They’re not the best team in the league, but they’re scrappy, and their fans are as rabid as that stray dog in To Kill a Mockingbird. Of course, you might be asking, “What did my dad ever do for me that deserves a Clydesdale?” After all, this is the man who let you and your brothers roll around untethered in the back of his Suburban, encouraged you to have Roman candle wars with the kids across the street, and made you pee behind a cactus patch in broad daylight on the side of I-10. If CPS had a watch list, he was probably on it – not because he used to call you “Chubby Butt” in front of your friends or because he once threatened your prom date with an empty service revolver but because of his criminal negligence in applying sunscreen. Still, just because you spent your childhood summers with a Jackson Pollock mottle doesn’t mean your pops doesn’t deserve some props. After all, he did manage to bang your mom. That’s an accomplishment. He also got you to and from all sorts of boring childhood activities where he was forced to hide his liquor. And lastly, he brought home the bacon … maybe not a lot, but if you didn’t have some to use as a distraction for his pit bulls when you took out the garbage, you might not be here to thank him for all the stuff he did for you that you’re having trouble remembering. Speaking of bacon, that’s not a bad idea for a Father’s Day gift either. If it’s on a cheeseburger, even better. You can get just that this Saturday night at the Party at the Moontower at the Trailer Park & Eatery on South First, a Seventies-themed BYOB benefit for American YouthWorks based on the moontower party from Richard Linklater’s classic Seventies film, Dazed and Confused. What dad doesn’t love Wooderson, trailer parks, tacos, burgers, Seventies music and videos, muscle cars, cutoffs, and hazing? If yours doesn’t, maybe you should look into the bastard thing again.