I'm a dad, and I like gifts. But I sure hope nobody in my family takes advice on their Father's Day shopping from one of the ubiquitous gift lists circulating on the Internet this year.
Every holiday on the calendar is a marketing opportunity, of course, with Christmas sales, Valentine's Day getaways, Memorial Day sell-a-thons, and Thanksgiving night doorbusters now a staple of consumer culture. Father's Day is no different. Except this year, I'm begging those who know me to please not purchase one of these:
A runaway alarm clock. Parenting, usually aimed at moms, might want to think a little more carefully about dad. One of its gift suggestions is Clocky, a rugged little clock with rover-like wheels that pops off the table when you hit snooze and rumbles around on the floor until it finds a nook to hide in. Then guess what: The alarm goes off again! That forces Dad to leap out of bed, find the clock, and smash it to bits. It's a great idea, except this is really an April Fool's Day gift for someone you dislike, not a Father's Day gift for dear 'ol Dad.
Wine named after a rock band. Gayot recommends the Wines That Rock Gift Collection, a set of wines named after bands like Pink Floyd, the Rolling Stones, and the Grateful Dead. These wines showcase "bold flavors that embody the spirit of rock 'n' roll." Eww. I'm grossed out already. Wine should taste like wine, not like pot, sweat, or vomit.
A Fisker Karma sedan ($103,000), which Automedia says is the ideal gift for a "tech geek Dad." Gee, I remember getting my dad some do-it-yourself kit from Radio Shack to indulge his occasional tech (back then, called "tinkering") impulses. But hey, kids, if you want to blow your entire college fund on a car for me, go for it. You can skip college and clean the Karma for 20 bucks a buff.
A Sony PlayStation Vita, which Yahoo! Shopping says I can play with while I'm in line at the bank or on the train ride home. Kids, hopefully you've noticed--Dad has a job. Which never seems to end. Not even on the train. And I bank online. Wait--oh, I get it. You want to borrow it, since I'm too busy to play pointless games.
A do-it-all espresso maker, which AskMen says is the "ultimate gift" for a new dad. Funny, most new dads want nothing more than a weekend of sleep, with a ballgame on in the background, for ambience. Espresso? So you can get even less sleep? If I got this complicated-looking gizmo, I might put it in the basement right away and just skip the usual three-month get-sick-of-it period.
A four-piece shaving set. This is another AskMen recommendation, and it includes a fancy brush, pre-shave oil, shave cream, and your choice of after-shave cream or soother. For just $75. Obviously you haven't been spending enough time shaving if it's not a four-step process. Oh, by the way, there's no razor included.
A Sculptees T-shirt. Seventeen advises teenage girls to help their dads "get buff" with this high-tech shirt that has "concealed lifting and shaping technology." Kind of like a girdle for the abs. Hey, beloved daughter, pick me up two, since they're such a bargain at $78 apiece, and meanwhile, just push my wheelchair over that cliff right there.
A team-logo toaster, which is item No. 23 on the 29-item list compiled by Emily Henderson. Because sometimes dads like to be kids, and sometimes they like to be weawwy wittwe kids.
Man candles. Shape declares these to be the "Best. Father's Day. Gift. Ever." Why? Because they smell like stuff that reminds men of mindless exertion. One scent smells like sawdust. Another, cut grass. Because these were the best times of our lives, sawing wood and mowing the lawn. Just one question. Shouldn't they be called mandles, to make them even more ridiculous?
A prostate test. Yep, Dr. David Samadi of New York issued a press release encouraging the wife and kids to make a "loving nudge" on Father's Day, and encourage Dad to get his annual PSA test. Of course, you can put that off till Monday, after you chase your alarm clock around the floor and enjoy the best-tasting Yankees toast ever.
Rick Newman is the author of Rebounders: How Winners Pivot From Setback To Success. Follow him on Twitter: @rickjnewman.