Happy Farters Day: How Low Have We Gone in Celebrating Dads?
I’m at the Wal-Mart waiting for prescriptions and decided this would be a great opportunity to pick up father’s day cards. The Wal-Mart in my area has two rows of cards about fifteen feet long devoted to father’s day. The store is not crowded and I have the entire father’s day card ensemble at my viewing pleasure.
Picking out a card for my dad was a breeze. He’s the sentimental type and I easily found a card depicting a little blonde haired girl smiling and laughing with her dad. Ah, I thought, boy does that bring back memories. If it brings a tear to my eye, which it did, I knew it would get him too. I put it in my cart.
Then there is my hubby who can be described in many ways, but sentimental and romantic are not among them. I don’t know if it was genetics, environment or he just likes to hide his softer, mushy sentimental bent, but he is more like Sheldon Cooper (Big Bank Theory) then Romeo (Romeo and Juliet). Sentimental father’s day cards are not an option.
I have a choice. I can get him a card about drinking beer, being lazy, forgetful, being over occupied with cars or sports, being in the bathroom too long, reading in the bathroom, staying in bed with a beer, over-eating or farting. There are eight different cards about father’s farting. Four cards on being in the bathroom. Three cards on offering new and improved reading material for being in the bathroom. This would combine being in the bathroom too long and reading in the bathroom. In case you are keeping track.
There are a couple cards for older kids to give their fathers. Things like, you embarrass me, I’m just as moronic as you, give me money, where are the keys to the car. I have to add that in the pre-school – kindergarten age cards for fathers are; I love you, you play with me, you take care of me, things like this.
My question is, what the hell happened from I love you to Happy Farters Day? Granted, I’m not in the Hallmark store. I’m in Wal-Mart. Does that make a difference? If I was on the east side of town would I find less fart and toilet related father’s day cards and more, thanks for going fishing with me cards, you taught me lots? With the card picture showing two guys in a boat, one younger than the other, all tangled up in a fishing net.
My hubby has said on numerous occasions that men, especially white, middle class men, are one of the only populations of people where it is acceptable to berate, tease and stereotype. He uses American television shows as his evidential media trail to prove his point.
I think about this as I’m standing in the card aisle trying to force some of these cards to change so I can find something suitable. You know, humorous but intelligent and with style. My magic genie is not working. I find another toilet card depicting a gorilla on the toilet reading the newspaper. Really?
I’ve been standing in this aisle for twenty minutes and it’s obvious nothing is going to change. So, I’m going to find a somewhat acceptable, humorous father’s day card, cross out what does not apply and with sharpie in hand, make it fit. I search again for the ultimate card and come up empty handed.
Is it that our stereotyping of fathers is so out-of-hand that no one can remember what their dad is (was) really like? Why stereotype fathers with the attributes of dysfunctionality and think it’s funny? Is this really what our current society feels about fathers or men? Maybe, hubby is right. Maybe this is another evidential trail.
Has the role of father changed that much in main-stream America that we resort to fart and toilet cards to express our hostility? As a social worker, I know that the percentage of fatherless families is staggering. The last statistic I saw was fifteen million children live in a household without a father. (The Washington Post) In Baltimore, where I am from, 38% of children live in fatherless homes. The domino effect is horrendous for children and society. The numbers continue to rise.
Is this the reason I can’t find a decent father’s day card? Will there come a day when we won’t have father’s day? Maybe the people who wish to express honor and appreciation for their fathers are declining. If this is the trend and it continues, there will be no need for a day to celebrate and honor half of the genetic gene pool that brought all of us here.
Maybe it’s the type of humor involved. I accept that. There are too many degrading, hello, I’m a dysfunctional dad and it’s my day, cards verses I’m a great dad, not perfect but I love you and you know it cards. There is no balance, at least not in these aisles.
So what’s with happy farters day? Lack of responsible dads, lack of respect for dads, a disconnect between who dad’s are and how they relate to their families? Or is it something I haven’t thought of?
My hubby does not like sports so that cuts out about an eighth of the selection. He does not drink and that cuts out a fourth. I’ll be damned if I’m going to give him anything that has to do with bodily functioning to celebrate his fatherhood. That cuts out another half. The last percentages are the sentimental and pre-school cards. Where this does led me?
I bought hubby a birthday card. I have a sharpie at home. Maybe, this is a sign I need to go into the greeting card industry. I certainly can’t do any worse then what I’ve seen today.
So if you are a father and you get a father’s day card that does not have drinking, laziness, or jokes about bodily functions, give your family an extra hug. They obviously went the extra mile to find that special card just for you. Happy up and coming father’s day!