Please don't send me a Father's Day card unless you know for certain that I'm your father. For about 100% of you reading this, I know that will not be the case.
I only have two children, so by the tenets of common sense and the indomitable force of critical thinking, I am only expecting two Father's Day cards. In reality, I'm only expecting one, but that's a blog for another day.
Father's Day was conceived in Spokane, Washington in 1910 and progressed in fits and starts until Richard Nixon signed it into law in 1972. It was another decade before the celebration of paternal interference gained serious traction.
After hearing a sermon about Mother's Day in 1909, a young woman named Sonora Dodd, raised by her single dad determined that the nation needed to celebrate fatherhood. She solicited help from those who would benefit most from a male-centric holiday; manufacturers of ties, tobacco pipes and mens wear.
And you thought getting your dad a tie was your idea.
In 1938 Dodd gained support from the Father's Day Council, an organization, not surprisingly founded by the New York Association of Mens Wear Retailers.
Celebrations of fatherhood are currently observed in more than 50 countries around the world.
I'm not averse to Father's Day or to the wide variety of greeting cards available to mark this and all other occasions. We need to draw the line, though somewhere before we get to "Happy Father's Day to my cousin's ex-husband's neighbor who I met at Wrigley Field on Opening Day".
Don't blame Hallmark. They're just mining a palpable desperation to reach out and touch somebody. For the price of a card and a postage stamp, we can establish a relationship based on it's availability as a greeting card and showcase our generosity of spirit. Two birds with one stone. Er...card.
Very often, we send these cards more for ourselves than for the recipients. Every card we send gives us another Stuart Smalley moment.
Yes, that was Senator Al Franken as Stuart Smalley.
I celebrate my birthday in the summer. Almost every summer, in fact. I celebrate most Jewish holidays, Christmas, New Years, St. Patrick's Day, Fat Tuesday, Mardi Gras, Cinco de Mayo and Bob Marley's birthday. These are all good reasons to send me a card. The money-holder kind are most appreciated.
Father's Day, however is something more personal. It's between me and my kids. I don't want to be opening cards, scratching my head and wondering why the hell that person sent me a Father's Day card.
I can understand a woman sending her husband a card on Father's Day, telling him what a great job she thinks he's doing as a dad. After you've said it once or twice, though-OK, three times-that's it. By the fourth time it could start to seem a little creepy.
Unresolved father issues?
Having become orphaned within the last 10 years, I no longer send Mother's Day or Father's Day cards. When it was appropriate, though I don't think I ever missed the opportunity to send those out. That would have been a significant and unforgivable oversight.
I tend to minimize the importance of greeting cards. After all, the script isn't written by the sender, but by a person or persons unknown. The card we sent to sweet Aunt Agnes could've been written by a 400-lb cross-dresser on the sex offender registry.
Inexplicably, some cards strike a note that cause a certain flush. The proverbial lump in the throat. When it happens, it's unexpected, just as it's unexpected when a card, sent with the best of intentions reminds you of the card you didn't receive.
Father's Day is this Sunday. Remember your dads. Love your kids.
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