Just reading that title put a knot in your stomach. You totally forgot Father’s Day is this weekend. Your mind is racing.
What does my dad even like? What did I get him last year? Did I even get him something last year!?
You group message the siblings. Of course the over-achieving little pissants all got him something thoughtful and heartfelt. And none of them will let you put your name on the card; not even for a crisp hundo.
You can do this. You’re a great gift giver.
No you can’t, and no you aren’t. You’re fucked — that’s what you are.
If you’re reading this, it’s too late, probably. You might be able to find the perfect gift, but you will have to pay out the ass for one day shipping and even then it’s a gamble. You could always show up empty-handed on Sunday and use the old, “Your gift is on the way. I can’t believe it hasn’t gotten here yet!” schtick. But when has that ever worked? Everyone knows that’s code for, “I totally forgot to get you something on the one day out of the year I get the opportunity to thank you for the gift of life, and I’m a piss-poor excuse for a son.” You might as well show up with a handmade coupon book filled with things like “Good for one free hug” and “Good for one car wash.” Wait. Jesus Christ. You were actually considering doing that, weren’t you? Your dad should have pulled out and sprayed your ungrateful ass on the backseat of his ‘89 Pinto.
This is the part where I’m supposed to bail you out with “The Top 5 Last Minute Father’s Day Gifts For College Students,” right? Sorry, dick; wrong article. There is no amount of wacky ties and BBQ sets that can make up for a year’s worth of calls from jail, car repairs, ungodly tuition bills, and general dumbassery, so I’m not going to sit here and give you a list of shit your dad doesn’t need or even want. Side note: Don’t think you give garbage gifts? Go into the garage and count how many of your “gifts” are in there. That’s what I thought. Anyways, I can’t give you a list of things to get your dad because — and get this — I don’t know your fucking dad. But you do. So here’s some advice for tapping into that knowledge and properly utilizing what little time you have left.
First, really take an inventory of what makes your dad your dad (and I don’t mean “he banged my mom”). You can start with his hobbies, but ultimately you need a gift that speaks to who he is and your relationship with him. When you get your dad the bulk pack of Titleist DTs for the third year in a row, you are basically telling him, “I see you as a guy who likes golf.” I’m super guilty of this. I’m not a father, but I can put myself on the other side of that exchange. “Ooooh golf balls. Very nice. I’m almost out from last year.” It was fine when we were kids, but as adults it’s inexcusable. My dad is one of my heroes, and it has nothing to do with his mediocre golf game.
Furthermore, I know it sounds super corny, but for most dads, the best gift you can give is your time. If he really is into golf, why don’t you spring for a couple member-for-a-day packages at a nice course he’s been wanting to play and set up a date when you can use them together? If he’s terrible, then get him some lessons with a club pro that the two of you can take at the same time. Booze lover? Don’t buy him another top shelf bottle of his favorite whiskey or a sixer of his beloved craft beer. Find out where the local distilleries/breweries are and plan out a day crawl to hit them all in a father-son blackout shitshow. My old man and I used to play all the Tiger Woods PGA Tour games together (it’s McIlroy’s franchise now that Tiger is a walking tabloid). The Father’s Day after I moved across the country for school, I sent him a headset and an Xbox Live subscription so we could play together. Father’s Day isn’t a competition, but needless to say I won that year.
As a last ditch effort, you can always ask your mom. She’s got the inside scoop on some hot leads. She’s generally the one with whom he shares his hopes and dreams. Tap into that well and see if there is something that will really catch your dad off guard (in a good way). After all, your goal on Father’s Day is twofold. First, you are trying to materialize your gratitude in a meaningful way. Second, you are trying to help your dad forget, if only for a day, how big of a colossal disappointment you have turned out to be. Now get out there and prove you aren’t a complete waste of time, money, and what was left of your dad’s youth..