I don’t think I really believe in Father’s Day – or at least that’s what I tell my Dad every year when I don’t even bother to buy him a card. Or socks. Or one of those little three packs of hankies. Or a new wallet. Or a bottle of whiskey. Or a greatest hits album by a band from the 60s, 70s or 80s. Or a Father Ted /Top Gear DVD. (That’s pretty much a definitive list of every present a father gets given by their children.).
Of course, when you become a father you get to see it from the other side of the fence. Primary schools spend weeks making cards and flowery crafty type goodies for Mother’s Day – so much so that home time on the Friday directly before Mothering Sunday is a bit like that strange cabbage game on Crackerjack (crack-er-jack!) where you have to try not to drop any of the hundreds of things you are desperately trying to contain in your arms. For Father’s Day, however, you are lucky to get a hurriedly glittered splodge on a badly bent sheet of A4.
The commercially available cards aren’t that much better. Mothers get lovely flowers and hanging baskets and butterflies fluttering around the doorways of Dorsetshire cottages. They get pictures of rugged cliffs tumbling towards the unnatural blue of the sea. They get children playing in cornfields and wildflower meadows on wonderful sunny days. They get pretty things. Attractive things.
Dads get racing cars or racing yachts or motorbikes or football. Basically sport-based pictures because – as everybody knows – the very definition of a dad is someone who loves sport to the detriment of their own offspring. (I don’t. I hate all sport with a malice and vengeance usually reserved for Mafia dons). Either those or –ahem – humorous cards usually involving chimpanzees or Del Boy Trotter (Cushty!).
So what is the best way to celebrate your beloved dad this Father’s Day? Well, obviously, give him some sort of loving pat on his embarrassingly thinning hairline. All dads really love that (they pretend not to, but they do) although try not to follow it up with a cry of ‘slaphead!’. And if your dad is pretty old (ie. anything over twenty-five) then keep the pat gentle – try not to concuss the poor fellow, or you could be had up on a charge of ABH.
Another way of showing yer ole pa some love – really cringeworthy bit of flagrant self-promotion coming up, I’m afraid, so hold on tight – is to buy him a copy of the marvellous detective novel Dead Man’s Hand by that remarkably handsome devil Mark Lock. My word, what a read it is! (I told you it was cringeworthy) A real rollercoaster of a book. It’ll keep you gripped until the very end!! (Sorry about that)
Anyway, remember to buy a card (one of those ones that scream at you when you open them are fun) and perhaps that Herman’s Hermits CD you spotted for two quid in Home Bargains, and remind your dad that without him you wouldn’t exist.
After all, as everyone knows, a dad is for life, not just for Christmas (or Father’s Day or Mongoose Appreciation Day or International Peanut Allergy Day or whatever else you can think of).
Happy Father’s Day!
Dead Man’s Hand is available on Amazon.