IF I MAY presume to speak for fathers everywhere, let me say that this Father's Day we'd prefer to be remembered in ways that do not involve neckties decorated with little sailboats or bathrobes that cause the wearer to eeriely resemble Ricky Ricardo lounging between sets at the Copa.
Having said that, let me add that we have a tough time getting psyched for many other gifts as well.
Unfortunately, the typical Father's Day scenario too often goes like this:
The beaming family gathers around dear ol' dad. One of the little tykes hands him a sappy Hallmark card. The other tyke hands him a gaily wrapped present. The father spends maybe three seconds reading the sappy card ("You are the most wonderful, thoughtful dad in the whole wide world blah, blah, blah") and tosses it over his shoulder.
Now he tears into the present. And soon his expectant smile turns to one of . . . well, disquietude is not far off the mark.
"Oh," the father says, "it's a pair of socks. Navy blue socks, I believe. And what's this? A pair of maroon socks, too."
Once this dismal ceremony ends and the boxes and tissue paper are cleared away, many fathers will go off to a damp corner of the basement and stare at the cinder-block walls and wonder where it all went wrong.
Others will actually weep right there in front of their family, choking back sobs and swilling 90-proof gin from the bottle while demanding to know what egregious sin they have committed that they would be "remembered" with a pair of socks.
Now, what exactly are we trying to say here?
Are we saying that navy blue (or maroon) socks are NEVER an appropriate gift for Father's Day, and the giver of such a gift should be slapped until woozy?
Are we saying that ALL fathers hate to receive socks, and would sooner be handed a blood-stained shopping bag bearing the Macy's logo which, on closer inspection, turns out to contain the foul-smelling carcass of a muskrat?
Yes, that is EXACTLY what we're saying. Please jot this down somewhere.
Actually, some of the best Father's Day gifts require little effort on the part of the gift-giver and are relatively inexpensive.
No, I take that back. Actually the best gifts usually involve considerable toil and the expenditure of large sums of money.
But -- and this is said with all modesty -- we fathers are certainly worth it. Many of us are kind to our children and will take out the garbage two or three times a week, often without being asked.
Perhaps this next point verges on nit-picking, but here goes: While many fathers are handy around the house and appreciate receiving a Sears Craftsman variable speed reversible drill, many of us can barely work a shower curtain.
For those of us who ARE mechanically-impaired, a 10-inch electronic radial saw with digital readout will have little use except as a door-stop, or perhaps to use for hanging wet athletic gear.
Now perhaps the harried gift-giver is thinking: Well, if socks are out and tools are out (at least for dolts) on Father's Day, what the devil is IN?
Oh, the list is endless. Sleek cigarette boats with twin Mercury-Evinrude engines. Glistening new Miata automobiles. Weeklong vacations (for one) at beautiful Hilton Head Island resort off South Carolina. We could go on and on.
And isn't it better for dad to be relaxing by the pool at Hilton Head with a pina colada in one hand than to be glancing wistfully at a drab Shoetown box and saying: "Well, you can never have TOO many navy blue socks?"
I think so. In fact, ALL clear-thinking fathers think so. So there's no use clipping this and waving it in your husband's face when he comes home from work and shouting: "IS THIS HOW YOU FEEL, TOO, YOU LITTLE WEASEL?!"
OF COURSE that's how the little weasel feels. Oh, he might lie through his teeth and say: "Hilton Head? Oh, I'd NEVER go without you, honey," but this is so laughable that even a 4-year-old would snort in disgust.
Understand, the intent here is not to cause a nasty squabble between husband and wife that culminates with one partner stalking from the room and a frosty veil of silence descending around the house.
No, the intent is simply to avoid receiving navy blue socks this Father's Day.
Please. We're asking nicely.