Tag Archives: Zippy the College Boy

Planning For Next Father’s Day Or Rushing For This One

Dads are easy. We have to be, considering how much we’re getting shorted in the national holiday of appreciation competition.

Father’s Day didn’t exist until 1909, when the daughter of a single father from Seattle came up with the idea. Wasn’t until Richard Nixon set aside the third Sunday in June in 1972 that it became a national holiday. And this is America? Probably one reason for it. I mean, we celebrate the Founding Fathers every July and the vast conspiracy of Moms felt that was enough.

 In 2011, Dads who received a gift averaged $106.49, which was a nice jump from 2010, when dads only saw gifts worth $94.72, but still not a patch on moms, who averaged $140.73. In 2012, dads only raked in $117.14, while moms bumped up to $152.

“His gifts usually range from a simple tie for work to a new spatula for the grill—all of which can make dad very happy.”

 Mother’s Day gifts, by contrast, tend to be more luxurious than Father’s Day presents—jewels, flowers, a trip to the spa, or dinner at a restaurant, for example.

The most popular gift was a card, and, even then, dads lag behind behind Moms, lovers on Valentine’s Day and people trying to kiss up to Santa on Christmas.

Which is exactly what I thought was happening when my youngest little dude referred to me as a superhero. I swelled with pride. And then he told me my superhero name” the Wondrous Wallet, because I’m the one who gives him the money. He’s having a birthday on June 13 and wants to go paintballing. I’m allowed to go with him, but can’t participate, must only be there in my superhero guise. Who, in addition to being free with the money, is mostly invisible.

The number one reason why Father’s Day doesn’t get as much attention is because it happens during summer break for schools. Moms get the attention of the child in school, teachers who, in elementary school are most likely moms themselves, and have their classes make something for mom.

Moms rake it in because, just like Valentine’s Day, there is an entire industry based around the idea that not getting the mom in your life an expensive, amazing gift is tantamount to saying, “I hate you. You’re worthless, now go get into the kitchen and make me a sammich.”

But, enough whining. Although, if you’ve been around me for more than three minutes, I think you’ll realize whining is what I do. Anyway, enough of it for now. Let’s talk about ways to make dad feel loved on this special third Saturday in June. See if we can’t make up for the appalling $30 gap in gifts.

  1. Move Father’s Day a week back to June 22. That way he can go to Heroes Con, one of the largest comic book, pop-culture conventions in the country. Once there, Dad can mix and mingle with the other super heroes in his guise as the . . . Wondrous Wallet!
  2. You know that tie you’re going to give Dad? You remember: the one that looks suspiciously like the same boring tie you gave him last year? Yeah, that one. Ditch it. Use it to hogtie a, well, a hog. Ties are the dead, bloated skunk on the side of the road that somehow gets into the space under the driver’s seat on a hot summer day and then stay undiscovered for months of gifts.Ties stink, is what I’m trying to say. If it’s too late, if you’ve already purchased one, then do something useful with it, like maybe burning it. Or maybe Mom can give Dad a tie in one of those shades of gray I’ve been hearing about.
  3. I’m different in that I was lucky enough to stay home with my sons and be the primary caregiver, but I know a lot of my fellow dads weren’t that lucky. One of the greatest gifts you can give us (even dads like me who sometimes begin twitching uncontrollably when certain words like (shudder) art project are used in our hearing) is time. Make a date with Dad. Go to the movies. Go out to eat at a restaurant that takes more than seven minutes to serve your food.
  4. Every once in a while the universe demonstrates that I might actually have done a good job with the young dudes. I asked middle son, Zippy the College Boy, what he would do to make dad feel loved and he said, “I’d go to his amazon.com wish list and get him something. Every man has a wish list. It just doesn’t have to be written down.” Of course, that could be just me. But if it’s not, remember that going to smile.amazon.com and buying stuff will lead to amazon.com donating 0.5 % of the purchase plus $5 to the charity of your choice.
  5. Robert L. Brown is a cab driver in Washington, DC. He gave Zippy the College Boy and me a ride over the weekend. During the scariest cab ride of my life, during which I clutched Zippy the College Boy to my chest and prayed for mercy, Mr. Brown told us his idea of perfect parent gifts. He suggested giving three inexpensive gifts. Always and only three gifts. Each gift stood for a single word. I. Love. You. It didn’t matter what the gifts were, but just to let him know “I love you.”
  6. Take dad out for a day of paint ball. Because nothing says I love you quite like sneaking quietly up through the bush, parting the tall grass with the barrel of your gun and firing until your gun runs dry, blasting enough paint to cover a four-story mansion in two coats of paint and leaping joyously into the air while doing the dance of victory over the thoroughly broken. . . erm. Uh. So I’ve heard. I don’t even play paintball and you can’t prove differently.
  7.   Take dad out to the movies. Kids, let dad pick the movie and I can guarantee you’ll enjoy it. You ladies might not know this, but I think you’ll be surprised to know just how very similar a dad’s taste in movies is to that of a 12-year-old boy. You’re on the same wavelength, kids.
  8. Don’t buy dad a card. Seriously. Just get a piece of paper, fold it in half and then write something nice on it. Or even draw something. It doesn’t have to be good art, but just knowing you spent time thinking of dad, and did something you thought would be cool for dad is an amazing gift.
  9. Give the wallet back. Don’t look at me like that. You know what wallet. I’m just going to close my eyes for one minute and, when I open them, I expect to have the wallet right here on the table.
  10. Fly fishing, golf, bike ride, football game baseball game. All at once. But make sure you sell the TV rights first because I think golfish riding basefoot games are going to be huge.
  11. Hugs. Lots and lots of hugs.

I keep telling my young dudes and my loving wife, known to me as She Who Must Be Getting Better Looking By The Day, that I don’t actually want stuff for Father’s Day.

Spend time with me, I tell them. Although I mean time quite differently when I’m talking to my blushing bride than I do when I’m talking to the young dudes.

It’s time and love and hugs, dudes. That’s really what we all want. I mean, nobody wants to reenact their own version of “Cat’s In The Cradle,” do they?

Share on Facebook

Defending The Thank You Note

Thank-you notes were the bane of my existence.

I couldn’t stand the horrible things. Just straight-up couldn’t stand them.

Even worse, to the young dude I used to be, my birthday is in late November, just about a month before Christmas. Which meant I had to write all those thank-you notes at the same time.

Mooo-oooo-oommmm! My hand hurts! Do I have to write all these? What’s the difference? No one cares? Mom! Are you listening to me?

Writing thank-you notes just went downhill from there.

The thing is, even though she’s dead, I have the feeling she’s still smiling over what I’m about to write.

The same answers she gave me when I was a young complainer who didn’t know how good I had it. . . Yeah, those are the same things I tell my three young dudes, young complainers all, who all don’t know how good they have it.

Sarcasmo, Zippy the College Boy and Hyper Lad . . . None of them count good penmanship among their many skills. In this way, they really take after their dad. I’ve never been able to craft a written letter with a neat hand that will allow others to read it without struggling.

(The fact that I became a reporter and didn’t get sued for writing down the wrong thing, or writing down the right thing, but not being able to read it and printing the wrong thing, is a testament to my young eyes and resilient brain that could actually remember stuff.)

So writing anything is not their favorite activity. Not even in their favorite top 100. Or top 1000. Or, well, you get the idea.

Still, I make it as easy for them as possible. I take notes during present times so we know who gave what. I’ll give each young dude a list (as well as a list for their mom), with the name and address for each person written next to it. Some years, I’ll even help write the address on the front of the envelope.

And still they complain. Zippy the College Boy, especially, keeps harping on about how no one cares about thank-you notes and how he’d never want to get one from anyone he sent a gift to. And, if he does have to write one, why can’t he type it out and e-mail it to the person?

That last one is a toughie. Personally, I’m all in favor of writing electronic thank-you notes. It saves paper. It saves energy. It gets there quicker. It’s better than sending a paper note at all levels.

The problem being that most people who are sending the young dudes gifts are older than they are. Which means they were raised in an era when a handwritten note was essential if you wanted to express a sincere emotion to someone. An e-mail is seen as the slacker’s way of doing things, as not requiring enough effort to show that you really did mean a sincere thank you.

It’s silly, but that’s the way it is. Which means we have to live with it and work within it.

Which means I get to hear the complaints again and again.

Eventually, I fell back on my mom’s best counter to my note whining.

“If you really don’t want to write a thank-you note. . . That’s fine.”

I’d celebrate, but she wasn’t done.

“I’ll just tell everyone that doesn’t get a thank-you note that you’ve decided not to receive presents any more. Receiving a gift from someone means you’ve entered into a contract. You’re end of the contract is that you will write a thank-you note. No note? No present.”

It’s mean. It’s heavy-handed. It’s autocratic.

But, darn it, people who took the time to pick out and mail a gift to you, deserve acknowledgement for trying to make your life better.

It’s a small price to pay, but one I think is well worth it.

So. . . *sigh* Yes, Mom. You were right about saying thank you in a short letter. Again.

Share on Facebook

Amazon Smiles On Your Charity

Amazon.com rocks, dudes.

It really does. I’m not big on pushing a lot of corporations with endorsements, but I find myself making an exception in this case. Yes, I understand that Amazon.com is making things harder for brick-and-mortar stores (especially book stores) and other local places of commerce, but. . . well. . . It’s just so darn convenient for me.

I’m a member of Amazon Prime, which means I pay a piddling fee and I get free two-day delivery, lots of free streaming movies and other great bennies. It’s totally worth the money to me.

And here’s the thing: Amazon is making an actual effort to give back to the community, to my community. It’s giving %0.5 percent of my purchases (and I make a lot of them) to a charity I choose.

In my case, the charitable giving is going to The Fletcher School, a school in Charlotte that is for kids with learning disabilities. Zippy the College Boy graduated from there and Hyper Lad is a ninth-grader in the school right now. It’s a great place and I’m thrilled we’re able to give to its mission every time I purchase something on Amazon.com.

The thing is, Amazon.com isn’t doing this only for me. The company will donate to your favorite charitable organization also. All you have to do is start all your shopping at smile.amazon.com instead of amazon.com. You go there, designate the recipient of your giving and then you’re done.

Simply make sure you put smile. at the beginning of every Amazon.com web address (URL) and you’re good to go.

Here’s the skinny, direct from Amazon.

If you want Amazon to donate to the charity you’ve selected, you need to start each shopping session at the URL http://smile.amazon.com. You can type smile.amazon.com into your browser’s address bar or bookmark it to make it easy to return to AmazonSmile. When you start at smile.amazon.com Amazon will donate 0.5% of the price of your eligible purchases to the charity of your choice.

Sounds easy enough. And it is.

Go on, dudes. Give it a shot. Designate a charity and get shopping.

I like it, mostly because it makes me feel slightly less guilty for buying all the stuff there and having all those cardboard boxes to recycle later.

Share on Facebook