I have decided to turn my efforts into a burning question confronting the youth: What should you get your dad for Fathers’ Day?
Off the top of my head:
– Anything is fine.
– Nothing is fine, too.
– A box of condoms, as a hint that no further siblings are required.
– If all else fails, buy him a bottle of booze. Oh, but he doesn’t drink, you say? I seriously doubt he’s your father, then. Or indeed, any kind of parent at all.
Fathers’ Day has unfortunately evolved into a retail-oriented occasion, to provide the public with a stimulus to buy various goods, often useless, and even more frequently, annoying or insulting.
Buying eau de cologne for your dad implies he could smell better. Providing him the latest hi-tech shaving appliance seems to say that he should mind his slovenly appearance. Getting him a pair of headphones is a clear signal that you can’t stand his taste in tito music, and he should keep it to himself (the title of this piece is a reference to a song by Bryan Ferry/ Roxy Music). Buying him a shirt in the latest fashion sends the message that his taste in clothes is oh-so-last-century. Buying him the latest pair of expensive sneakers merely serves to emphasize that he doesn’t get much exercise.
What your father really wants, either he can afford to buy for himself, or he can’t, which means you can’t, either. Sure, I would really like a Porsche Taycan, but I am pretty certain my children do not have P18 million in spare change in their piggy bank. I also would interpret such a gift as a hint that I should get out of the house.
In any case, I don’t need to be honored for being a father. As my wife keeps telling everyone, even complete strangers, my actual active role in creating our children lasted only a few minutes. Talk about wham bam thank you ma’am. Just for the record, it’s not true. Just another thing we have to suffer, as fathers.
In any case, fatherhood is more than just the act of conception. Fatherhood is potentially several hours long on Saturdays, and almost the whole day on most Sundays.
I did change a few diapers in the early days. That’s more hazardous waste disposal than fatherhood
I did change a few diapers in the early days. That’s more hazardous waste disposal than fatherhood, but it does count. I read lots of books to all my children, too, all the while remembering the days when the ABS-CBN Broadcasting Corporation used to pay me to read things aloud. (FYI: He was a newscaster.—Editor) The children’s books make more sense.
Then there’s parent-teacher conferences, which take place during work hours on weekdays. The school we send our kids to, in part to justify the enormous tuition we pay them (resulting in our tragic lack of his-and-hers Porsche Taycans), give extraordinarily detailed parent-teacher conferences, lasting over an hour, with complex PowerPoint presentations and minute psychological analyses of our children’s behavior. I’ve given far simpler presentations on the engineering specifications of 50-story buildings, or the impact of the TRABAHO law on labor costs. Parent-teacher conferences are exhausting, frankly, but I’m glad someone’s paying attention, even if it’s not always the said children.
The other thing I seem to have to do a lot is answer random questions. Those who know me are familiar with my verbose approach to knowing everything, and demonstrating it. It’s supposedly the return on my ridiculously expensive education.
However, the matters presented by my children awaiting resolution are as follows:
The six-year-old: Why are the pterodactyl and quetzalcoatylus not considered birds, when the archaeopteryx is a bird? (Clue: you need to explain what “phylogeny” is. To a six-year-old.) Why does Godzilla never have to take a dump?
The 12-year-old: Why do people have feet, instead of hands, at the ends of their legs? Wouldn’t four hands be more useful, for like playing the piano, or throwing things at predators? What’s so funny about Monty Python? (This one slept through most of The Holy Grail and all of Life of Brian).
The 15-year-old: What, exactly, is the difference between quantum mechanics and string theory? Why did the US continue to make the P-47 Thunderbolt during World War 2, when the P-51 Mustang was so much better? Can I have a Nissan Skyline as my first car?
Clearly, however, the greatest challenge confronting fathers today is to convince, compel, inveigle, or in any way cause children to do something that does not involve an electronic device and copious amounts of wifi. Trying to get them, for instance, to learn to ride a bicycle, is like trying to get Italian infantry to charge Russian tanks. Trying to get our youngest to learn to swim is like trying to get an elephant to learn to fly. Just trying to get our 15-year-old to answer simple questions (How many are going? What are their names? What will you do there?) devolves into a Gestapo interrogation. I know, I know. It’s heroic, really.
Nevertheless, I, for one, don’t need to be put on a pedestal one day a year, and rewarded with, just in case my children are reading this, a bottle of Laphroaig Quarter Cask fine Scotch whisky, only P2,850 from either boozy.ph or singlemalt.ph, and a box of Tabacalera 1881 Perique Maduro Robusto cigars, just P10,054 from tabacalera.com.ph. No, not at all.
Because being a father is its own reward. If you get me nothing for Father’s Day, I promise not to change the wifi password, at least not without provocation.