Saturday, June 18, 2005

Getting carded this June 19th

I probably don’t need to tell you that tomorrow is Father’s Day. Or, perhaps I do need to tell you. Perhaps you’re so engrossed in other things, such as the International BMX championship they’re currently showing on Fox Sports Net, or the 475th airing of “Twister” on TNT, that Father’s Day has snuck up on you, and only now, with precious few hours remaining, are you finally aware that, yes, tomorrow is Father’s Day. You’re welcome.

This will be my second Official Father’s Day as a dad. But last year at this time, my daughter was still – at 8 days old -- in the Special Care Nursery, where the card selection basically sucks. Also, she was learning how to eat. So last year doesn’t really count from a celebration standpoint.

This year, however, I fully expect my daughter to fall into the same Classic Father’s Day Ritual that I engage in with my dad to this very day – never finding an appropriate Father’s Day card.

Apparently, the people who write greeting cards have dads stuck in a 1956 holding pattern. You have your fishing cards, your golfing cards, your ‘working on the car’ cards, your ‘working with power tools’ cards, and your drinking beer cards. The only nods to the 21st century are computer-themed cards and fart-related cards. (I’m not saying people didn’t fart in 1956, only that they exhibited some modicum of civilization by not mentioning it on greeting cards.)

And it’s not that my dad doesn’t engage in any of these activities – he does own his share of power tools (I remember a ‘router’ phase from my childhood) and he did used to change the oil on his ’72 BMW, a car that he sold when I was, oh, 14. And he spends plenty of time on the computer. I’m just not sure I would define him by any of these things to the extent that I’d design a greeting card for him along these themes.

I especially wouldn’t design a greeting card for me along any of these themes. To make an appropriate ‘car repair’ greeting card for me, you’d have to limit it to my ability, years ago, to switch my one working car battery between my two cars. A golfing Father’s Day card would feature the golf bag I used when I was on the golf team in high school – a bag that had no shoulder strap. This invariably led to at least one incident each round when all the clubs spilled forward and ended up on the ground in a marvelously cacaphonous clatter. I’ve done a few around-the-house fix-up chores, but I don’t think “fixing a broken toilet part with a paper clip” is necessarily what the Hallmark folks have in mind. (Though a MacGyver line of greeting cards might just be a hot seller.)

We’ll pass on discussing my relationship to the “fart card” genre for now.

It’s probably too late to help my daughter with her card shopping for this Father’s Day. But perhaps the people at Hallmark, American Greetings, and the rest will pay some heed and take the following suggestions for next year’s Father’s Day cards:

· The “sitting on the couch reading the New Yorker” card

· The “diagnosing your engine trouble by remembering old Car Talk episodes” card

· The “forgetting whether the laundry detergent coupons are filed under ‘cleaning supplies’ or ‘home/paper’” card

· The “screaming epithets at the @#&%! New York Yankees on TV” card (well, that one might already exist in New England)

· The “not sure how to change the propane tank on the barbeque grill” card

· The “programming the pizza place number into the cell phone” card

· The “identifying reruns of The Andy Griffith Show within the first 30 seconds” card (a close relative of the “identifying reruns of Friends within the first 30 seconds” Mother’s Day card and the “identifying episodes of Bob the Builder within the first 30 seconds” 4-year old’s birthday card)

· The “understanding how to program your VCR” card

· The “not understanding how to program your VCR” card
and, of course, the

· “Happy Father’s Day through Blogging” card
And this doesn’t even begin to touch on the tie selection out there.

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