Yesterday, millions of men received a tie, gadget or gizmo destined for the closet. Most guys think it's the greatest gift in the world: fatherhood.

To every dad, daddy, pops, pa and the old man out there, I raise my 'No. 1 Dad' coffee mug in solidarity.

Since 1927, the third Sunday in June is a day set aside for dads. It is a red-letter calendar holiday whereby men are forbidden to mow the lawn. We are also encouraged to play golf and even allotted TV remote carte blanche.

For at least one day, father knows best -- or everyone pretends.

Father's Day gifts typically fall into the tried-and-true triumvirate: ties, tools and sporting goods. A few gift givers go for aftershave or other hygiene products that say "I love you Dad, you stink."

As a fervent tool guy, I subscribe to the one-socket-set-is-never-enough mantra. However, the greatest Father's Day gifts don't come in standard or metric. Fatherhood is a keeper present, even though it doesn't come with a lifetime warranty.

Comedian Bill Cosby noted that "Fatherhood is pretending the present you love most is soap-on-a-rope." My dad had to feign delight for Aqua Velva. I've had to get a bit giddy about Gillette razors.

Really it is the thought from a certain 9-year-old that counts. I would rather receive hair-removal products from the heart than a generic gift certificate.

I'm more of a word man: indelible words written in equally permanent colored marker.

A child's words are treasured on Father's Day. What was once crayon scribbles has turned into noun-and-verb sentences. Simple, earnest words to be tucked away in a dresser drawer and in the heart.

As a kid, I'd say "Happy Father's Day" in a big way. While other greeting-card shoppers ruminated over style and substance, I went straight for substantial. If the card was milled from a sequoia tree, it was a keeper.

Now it's my turn to open oversized Father's Day cards. I like the cartoon "Dad" animals fishing or performing an equally impossible opposable-thumbs task.

Admittedly, I've given my dad a fair number of tacky Father's Day ties. However, the purple paisley necktie pales in comparison to his greatest gift downfall: golf. The man has been bombarded with golf balls, golf tees, golf shirts, golf socks and books on playing the game.

While I didn't inherit my father's passion for links play, we do have several things in common. His first name is my middle name. We share the same hairlines and wry sense of humor. We also believe that yelling at the TV will alter the outcome of football games and horse races.

The latest Father's Day gadget might end up in the closet or next to the "No. 1 Dad" coffee mug. In the end it doesn't matter. The greatest gift rides behind me in the back seat.

While my daughter's feet don't quite touch the Jeep's floorboard, every day she touches my heart -- including the third Sunday in June.

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