Fathers? Yes. Fools? Hardly.

June 11, 2008|By KEVIN COWHERD

I see where one of the hot gifts for Father's Day is a GPS navigation device because, well, you know how Dad is when it comes to directions.

The big guy is kind of clueless, right?

He gets behind the wheel and he just sort of drives and drives with this vacant look, listening to the wind rush through his ears.

And he's always getting lost. Because in addition to being clueless, he's stubborn and won't ask anyone for help.

Nope, he'll just keep driving and driving no matter how lost he gets until he drives smack into the ocean.

And only then will he realize he took a wrong turn somewhere, probably a couple thousand miles back.

So buy the poor guy a GPS unit and put him out of his misery, right?

Hey, thanks. As a card-carrying father of three, let me say how much we dads appreciate being stereotyped like that.

Look, why not buy us a new remote to replace the one that burned out while we're lying on the couch all day, clicking between ESPN and the Golf Channel?

Or why not buy us some more beer, since we're always getting loaded anyhow?

Or why not spring for some surgery for that major snoring problem we all have?

(Then again, you'd snore, too, if all you did was lie on the couch all day, watching TV and getting loaded.)

OK, do I sound a little testy today?

A little defensive about being a dad?

Sorry. It's just that every time Father's Day rolls around, I cringe over the way dads are depicted in our popular culture.

We're all clowns or buffoons or incompetents, to judge by how we're portrayed.

We get beat up 365 days a year in TV commercials and sitcoms and stupid Hollywood movies that star Steve Carell or Will Ferrell as bumbling mopes who should never be allowed to procreate.

Then when Father's Day approaches, we're treated to a nationwide condescending attitude that goes like this: "Oh, Dad's not that bad. He's kind of dumb, but he means well. Make sure you get the big lug something nice for his special day."

Gee, um, thanks, America.

That really makes us feel better.

That's why, if you're a devoted, conscientious dad, you have to love the new Hallmark Father's Day card with the brilliant Chris Rock on the front proclaiming: "Nobody ever says, 'Hey, Daddy, thanks for knocking out this rent. I sure love this hot water. It's easy to read with all this light.'"

Then inside it says: "Once a year maybe. Happy Father's Day."

Is that beautiful or what?

Does that say it all if you're a dad these days?

A dad who loves his kids and is selfless, hard-working, wants only the best for his family, etc.?

A dad who's tired of getting dissed by the media, tired of having all modern dads portrayed as the logical successor to Homer Simpson and the fat lump on Family Guy?

Yep, it really does.

Getting back to the GPS, I can't understand why the stores are pushing these things for Father's Day, anyway.

Because here's a news flash for you: Dad isn't going anywhere this summer.

At least not in his car.

He isn't going anywhere because he can't afford to, on account of the sky-high price of gas.

Are you kidding? With a gallon of regular unleaded selling for 4 bucks or more, Dad will be lucky if he drives to the end of the block and back this summer.

And you don't need a GPS for a trip like that.

So I would hold off on the Garmins and TomToms and Magellens for the big guy if I were you.

In fact, if you really want to get him something he'll use, buy him some gas.

Get him a gift card for Texaco or Crown or Shell or wherever he gets his gas these days.

Or spring for 5 gallons in his tank if you're on a budget.

Pump it yourself, too. That's always a nice touch.

And, look, you can always hold off on that GPS system, maybe give it to the big guy for Christmas.

Unless gas is selling for 5 bucks a gallon by then.

Of course, he won't need a GPS device in that case, either.

Not when he's only going to the end of the driveway and back.

kevin.cowherd@baltsun.com

ONLINE

See a collection of Father's Day quizzes, polls and photos at

baltimoresun.com/fathersday

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