THE BLOG
06/13/2013 03:21 pm ET Updated Aug 13, 2013

Terrible Father's Day Gift Ideas for Desperate Sons and Daughters

Hey gang, Father's Day is this Sunday and OH SHIT, oh dear sweet Jesus, I need to get a gift for my dad.

And if you're anything like me, you do too.

But what is he into? I mean, seriously, what does this guy do? Who knows? He never seems to want or need anything, because anything he needs or wants he just goes out and buys himself, because he's a grown man. Besides, there are only so many pointless fishing gadgets and duplicative Eric Clapton box sets you can rain down on a guy before the whole exercise collapses under the weight of its own absurdity. So what are you going to do? Last year you gave him a bolo tie. Sure, he doesn't wear bolo ties, but you figured maybe he'd start if you got him one. Maybe it would become his new thing. But that didn't pan out, did it? This year, for once in your life, you're going to figure this out. And you have to do it fast.

Let's see, dads, what do dads do... think, think... okay, I'm a dad, what's my day like? I wake up, and I -- oh, I shave! There's something: dads are men, and some of them shave their faces. Okay, we can work with that. How about an archaic razor for $200? I hear it's really easy to cut yourself with one of those if you don't know how to use it properly. That's pretty manly, right? Or maybe this handsome shaving bowl, for when dad wants to shave in the living room or on the porch, instead of in the bathroom where there is a sink and hence no need for a bowl. And while we're on personal grooming, maybe he would like this collection of beer-scented soaps. He likes to drink beer, so he probably wants to come out of the shower smelling like beer, right?

Ugh, this is just shameful bush league stuff -- this is just scanning through Father's Day gift suggestions, hoping in vain to spot something that makes you say, "Hey, dad might find that sort of useful." Which is exactly how you ended up getting him that one-handed bottle opener a few years ago. Damn thing is virtually impossible to use, and besides opening a bottle with two hands is hardly an onerous chore. Now it just sits in the back of some drawer, an awkwardly-shaped lump of useless metal. You're not going to let that happen again. You need to get serious.

Okay, say your dad likes baseball. But you can't get him game tickets or a signed baseball or something like that because that just seems lazy, and expensive. Mainly expensive. Team cuff links? What is he, your boss? Forget it, you have to dig deep. What's hot in baseball right now? Well, do a bit of research and you'll learn that one of the biggest trends in modern baseball is the increasing application of sabermetrics. Thus, dad will probably love the book Reasoning with Sabermetrics: Applying Statistical Science to Baseball's Tough Questions, in which "three mathematicians employ statistical science" in a "debate devoid of emotional and personal biases." It's original, it's about baseball, and it will give him a real edge when he chats with his friends about the game he loves.

Perhaps your father is into history. War history. However, you know absolutely nothing about the Civil War or World War II or whichever war it is he's a buff of, so finding meaningful scholarship on or remarkable objects from these wars is something that, frankly, you will not be able to do. Why not level the playing field, and get him something about a war he also knows nothing about? Consider, for example, this 416-page textbook about the Punic Wars, or peruse this selection of attractive memorabilia from the Boer War. It could be a great way for you and dad to delve into a war neither of you care about, together.

Or maybe your dad loves to barbecue. This is an easy one -- no dumb embarrassing aprons, no novelty tongs, no flavorless rubs that suck. Just teach yourself how to kill a chicken. Then get a chicken, and go kill it in your dad's backyard, and give it to him to barbecue. There's nothing like freshly killed chicken. He'll like that, right? It is, after all, very popular among hipsters. He's got to like it.

Oh my god, all these ideas are terrible. I am so screwed. Maybe something funny? I don't mean a gag gift because those are lame as hell, I mean something literally, sincerely funny. Maybe something like this. It's pretty funny. It's about Father's Day. Maybe a nicely framed print of that? Wait, what am I saying? That's the worst idea yet. That would be so unimaginably awkward, I can't even think about it.

This is totally impossible.

I'm kind of starting to see why dads don't seem to want anything. I'm starting to feel that way too. A lot of things are just straight garbage. Maybe I'll simply take him to the driving range and we'll hit some golf balls. That's always a nice time.

Haha, no, just kidding. That would be so weak. This isn't some after-school special, this is the 21st-century USA. I'm going to get him this.

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