i’m really good at remembering things. childhood phone number? check. all US presidents in order in under 30 seconds (thanks mr. hickey!)? check. philip j. fry’s secret pin number (1077)? double check. although there do appear to be couple of serious leaks in my otherwise structurally sound memory including and especially: things i learned in high school history class (war of 18what?), where i put my keys, and holidays/special occasions. if you’re lucky i’ll probably remember christmas, but if you’re that guy that gets angry when people don’t celebrate you on your “special day”, maybe it’s time for us to reevaluate our friendship. birthdays are a blur, anniversaries are imaginary, and if you think i’m going to remember your kid’s 8th grad graduation… you’re fucking delusional. a few years ago, my mom called me up in early may and sweetly asked “honey, are you mad at me?”. apparently, i had zoomed past mother’s day without stopping to take a breath. i’m so sorry mom! i’m a terrible daughter!
i did manage to remember mother’s day this year (and am definitely making some headway with the addition of an iphone calendar into my life), but imagine my surprise when somebody told me that father’s day is sunday. THIS SUNDAY. um, i thought that shit was in august? in hopes that i might find some solidarity out there, i’ve decided to assume that at least all you still have yet to pick out the perfect father’s day gift (that is, if you’re a father’s day celebrator). so without any further screwing around, i present to you: top 5 cheap & easy father’s day gifts that don’t look like you picked it up at the gas station on your way over.
1. a project. booze is a father’s day staple for many (and frankly how many survive family holidays in the first place), and it’s hard to go wrong with a bottle of great scotch or a case of a really good local microwbrew (this guy can make you a recommendation if you’re lost on the beer front). but what about soliciting your dad for help in brewing your own hooch? the combination of bonding & booze is irresistible to many men, but if you choose to go the non-alcoholic route, it could be a beat up moped your found on craigslist, or a pasta maker, or a build your own gazebo kit. it could be anything. the point is that for father’s day, you’re telling your dad that you want to spend time with him doing something awesome.
2. something from your childhood. don’t be fooled. men can be just as sentimental as the ladies, just in different ways. get a guy talking about his kids or his best friend, or the minute he fell in love with his wife… he’ll mist up mistier than misty dawn singing misty on the maid of the mist while playing myst and drinking a mr. misty from dairy queen. if you want to give your dad the gift of a hallmark moment this father’s day, consider giving him a sweet reminder of something wonderful you remember from your childhood along with a little note about how he was a really good dad. it could be a copy of the first movie he ever took you to, a book he used to read you at bedtime, or a framed photo of the best camping trip ever (*regift opportunity– repurpose a photo frame that contains a picture of an evil ex, and insert a really nice print of you & your dad on archival paper. i promise that dad doesn’t give a shit where you got the fame, plus you can release some of the bad breakup mojo still circulating in your life.)
3. something from his childhood. every child has their white whale- the toy that got away. the thing they wanted to for every birthday, christmas, bar mitzvah and never got. or maybe they got it- and tragically lost it through and unfortunate rough housing or little brother related accident. whatever the case, chances are your dad has been talking about it since 1956. use the power of ebay or local flea markets to try and track one down. ok, this one is a little short notice for sunday… but if you can harness your chi or whatever and make it happen, the payoff will be huge. dad will well up like a little girl, and you’ll be the hero that wiped out every failed holiday since 1956. (*bargain basement version– if you can’t find it or can’t afford it, find a picture of it and make your dad a card telling him how hard you tried to get it for him and that he’ll just have to accept your undying love instead. he’ll be so touched that you even considered getting it for him, he’ll probably slip your broke ass a $20 on the way out).
4. an event. i’m particularly partial to stubhub, but you can also score last minute/sold out event tickets on ebay and craigslist. the best part is that you don’t even have to have the tickets by father’s day, they just have to be “in the mail”. at this very moment, you can get tix to take your daddy-o to see some hardcore UFC action, or maybe some dirty dirty chelsea handler stand up, or even to shake it with justin bieber. wait. strike that last part. as we get older and start our own families, one on one time with our parents starts to get scarce. it’s time to leave the kids, spouse, girlfriend, dog at home for the night and take your dad out on the date of a lifetime (*broke alert– no cash? try to score some free/cheap tix to a local sports or music event and cap it off with some late night pizza at otto).
5. an education. the boyfriend recently took his dad to a motorcycle permit class, and now they have matching bikes and have been terrorizing the suburbs on the weekends. cooking class, welding course, japanese lessons (*cheapster tip– buy him a how-to book, and try to learn something new together)… whatever you’re learning about, dad is going to be psyched to do it with you.
as i sad before, father’s day isn’t about stuffing your pop’s life with pointless gadgets from brookstone or sharper image (i mean, who really wants to chat with their meat thermometer anyway?). it’s about showing your dad that you actually care about him/ want to spend time with him/ remember and appreciate the time/thought/energy he spent raising you. so step away from the discount necktie section at the tj maxx. it doesn’t need to be pricey or elaborate, but give something with thought and with love, and give your dad a reason to brag to his buddies about how much better you are than their kids. after all, isn’t that what every dad wants for father’s day?