I feel sorry for our three sons on Father's Day. I'm sure the boys, perhaps with a nudge from my wife, will acknowledge the day in a nice way with words. But giving a present would be so much easier for them.
Unfortunately, I'm not a dad who expects (or even wants) a Father's Day present. I'm hard to shop for. I can't even buy good gifts for myself. The last two shirts I bought to wear to work have no pocket, which is pretty much a deal-breaker for a guy who makes his living with pens. The best Father's Day gift I received was a baseball signed in little kid writing by the boys and orchestrated by my wife in 2005. It's cute, always makes me smile and still sits on my dresser.
Father's Day would be so much easier if I just fit one of the stereotypes pushed by merchants who want us to buy gifts for dads who love golf, cars, baseball, grilling, fishing, hunting, drinking, mustaches or tools. Children of those dads have so many options from the practical (dad barbecue apron for $19.99) to the usable (cool golf gloves for $28) to the ridiculous (four dozen scotch-infused wooden toothpicks that have been soaked in barrel-aged, single malt scotch for $35.95).
I do love the game of baseball, but my appreciation generally is confined to childhood memories of playing baseball, Wrigley Field and the Cubs. I have a Cubs World Series Champions shirt and hat, a Glenn Beckert baseball card, a framed photo of Wrigley from 1984, a Wilson glove and a Joe Maddon bobblehead, so I'm set. But a pitch from UncommonGoods suggests the perfect Father's Day gift would be a Baseball Bat Bottle Opener "handmade from authentic game-day bats swung by MLB players."
Even if I wanted a bottle opener made from a bat used by Cubs catcher Willson Contreras, the best I could get is a guarantee that the wood came from a bat used by the Chicago Cubs.
Any opener is out of the question when I see the price, which ranges between $115 for teams such as the Chicago White Sox and San Diego Padres, $135 for teams such as the New York Yankees and Los Angeles Dodgers, and $165 for fans of the Boston Red Sox or Cubs. For $165, one of the young White Sox pitchers probably would come to your house and open a bottle for you.
If you do want to look beyond the stereotypes, UncommonGoods suggests a Pistachio Pedestal ($48) that is "perfectly designed to solve the nut's perennial problem" by including an upper level for 8 ounces of whole nuts and a lower level that "offers an elegant solution to stash the shells without fumbling for a makeshift discard dish," which is high on the list of first-world problems.
If you have a dad who is boring but fancies himself a thrill-seeker, a straightedge razor ($174.99 from Straight Shave) turns shaving into an extreme sport.
"There's just something exhilarating about expertly dragging an extremely sharp blade across the face, staring danger straight in the face" reads the enticement for the gift it calls a "top-notch face scraper."
For the dad who seemingly has everything, Nordstrom offers "a handsome watch-winder (with a sharp twill faceplate) designed to keep your automatic mechanical watches ticking." As a guy with one watch that asks nothing of me, I'm not sure how a $229 watch-winder works, but the first customer comment says, "Seems like an affordable option for a watch-winder."
For only $13.33 a month, a company called Letterjoy will mail your father a copy of one letter from a historical archive every week. It could be a letter from Gen. George Patton, a note from Albert Einstein, musings from a kamikaze pilot, or maybe a scientist talking about the Industrial Revolution.
If you have run out of ideas, you could always spend $124.99 to give your dad a $100 gift card by buying a concrete brick from ManCave that reads "Smash Me" and includes a ball-peen hammer and safety glasses. "He'll smash. He'll sweat. … But he'll eventually emerge from the rubble with his perfect gift card of choice and a hell of a story he'll love sharing."
A dad who can make that into a "hell of a story" deserves a $165 bottle opener and some scotch-infused toothpicks.