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Tucson Weekly No Plaid For Dad

Why No Father Deserves A Gift Over $10.

By Tom Danehy

IN OUR ONGOING effort to provide Tucson with what it really needs, we hereby offer a last-minute shopping guide for Father's Day. (See, and you thought all we did was rip on local TV news programs.)

The important thing to remember about Father's Day is that it's not all that big a deal. The truly big deal came last month during Mother's Day. Remember: Mothers are special, fathers are furniture.

I realize my generation has made some really awkward attempts to change that equation. Some fathers sincerely tried to become parents, sharing the home workload and parental responsibilities. But a lot of couples started out in that direction and fell into a workaholic, time-share situation where the dad was neither here nor there. All it really resulted in was the coining of bullshit terms like "quality time" and non-gerund gerunds like "parenting."

For the uninitiated, "quality time" is a phrase invented by yuppies to assuage the guilt of dual-income couples who were too busy accumulating stuff to spend any serious amount of time with their own kids. Said quality time generally amounted to the 57 minutes it took to pick the kid up from day care, take him home, shove some food down his neck, run through the flash cards, then put him to bed early so Mom and Dad could work on their marriage. Or their portfolios.

Have you ever noticed there are no T-shirts which read "Die, Traditional Marriage People Scum?"

This quality time nonsense also accounts for the boom in soccer for kids ages 4 to 7. Those parents think they're actually doing a good thing by forcing their poor kids to wear satin shorts and play the national sport of Bophuthatswana.

Fortunately, by the time the kids hit age 8, the parents are too burned out on the whole quality time charade to try to keep up the pretense. Plus, the kids have learned how to say, "Soccer sucks," so there's generally not any lasting emotional or psychological damage.

Anyway, things really haven't changed all that much from the time of Bill Cosby's childhood, where he would take the time at school to carve a personalized gift for his mom, who would receive it gratefully and tearfully. However, when Father's Day rolled around, he would ask Dad for some money to go buy a pack of cigarettes to give him for Father's Day. Then, he'd smoke half the pack on his way home.

It's a fact of life that Father's Day gifts don't require as much expense, imagination, or gift wrapping as Mother's Day gifts. In fact, it doesn't require any gift wrapping. Anyone who would gift wrap something intended for a male is nuts. In this modern society, that's one of the few opportunities left for a guy to go primal.

The first thing you have to do is determine whether Dad even deserves a gift. Fortunately for him, the standards are much lower for men than for women. This year's base for being gift-eligible is if his picture didn't appear on the cover of The Globe groping a 46-year-old stewardess in a New Jersey hotel.

Having determined that he deserves a gift, one must never lose sight of the fact that men are going to destroy every gift they ever get, in one of three ways--either by eating it, making it so dirty and/or smelly that it's rendered unusable, or by using it the wrong way (or way too many times in the right way).

Plus, there's always the chance they'll lose it. A good chance that they'll lose it.

Faced with those realities, the gift-buyer has no choice but to put a $10 limit on the gift. Anything more will lead to festering bad feelings and an overemphasis on money. And if it happens over and over again, we're talking Ricki Lake. Or Sally Jessy, bare minimum.

Don't let that $10 limit bother you. It's really not that much money. He is, after all, somebody's dad. Just think of it as being what you'd spend to see last winter's hot movie at the two-dollar theater, including small soda and medium popcorn, even though the film print has more scratch marks on it than Marv Albert's date.

Food is always good. Men like to eat every day. That's part of what makes them men and what keeps anorexia limited to one gender. It doesn't matter what you get them; just make sure it has lots of gravy and/or frosting.

I've always found that Pat's Chili Dogs (and those killer fries) make a great gift. A gift that sticks with you long after they're gone.

Your second choice is apparel. Alas, in these days ruled by frou-frou French fashion sissies, it's just downright tough finding a good suit of clothes for under $10. That leaves the next-best thing (or in my case, the vastly superior thing)--the T-shirt.

This works out great, because there are bargains all over town. On just about every street corner, there's a vendor selling UA Final Four and national championship T-shirts. Some of these people have been in the same spot (and wearing the same clothes) since late March.

We know you already bought Dad two of those shirts, but the first one he ruined by spilling guacamole and hot fudge on it while watching the title game replay three weeks after the fact. He said something about not remembering that it went overtime. And the second one is keeping the dresser from wobbling.

A super gift idea is a sports movie video. There are dozens of titles available for under $10, including all 27 Rocky flicks, the Mighty Ducks anthology, and my favorite, Bull Durham, probably the only sports movie ever to mention Lee Harvey Oswald and Susan Sontag.

One other hot item this year is the Farrah Fawcett nude pictorial and video. Just think, only 20 years after Dad wanted it. Explain to him that it's like the Senior Tour version of nude layouts.

Happy shopping.

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