It's hard to buy gifts for men.
I know this because, one, I have a father who just buys what he wants and leaves you nothing to give him, and, two, my wife reminds me every Father's Day -- which, by the way, is June 20, three weeks from Sunday. So she and I are both in the same pickle every year, and I bet you are, too.
But don't panic. And don't make these fatal mistakes:
1) Trust the gift guide on any lame-ass men's site known more for topless women covering their breasts than shopping advice. Dads don't need skateboards, and Abercrombie shirts don't fit us.
2) Go somewhere in the mall with goofy, overpriced gadgets and convince yourself that your husband needs a foot massager that also gives the weather forecast in 20 world cities.
3) Buy him a tie, slippers, wallet, picture frame, socks, underwear, pajamas or any golf-themed plaque because you can't think of anything better. If he says he wants any of those things, he's lying.
Nope, Dads who are hip and fun (like me) want cool stuff, and here's cool stuff that any dad would love.
1. The Twilight Zone Complete Definitive Collection
Back when your dad was a kid, decades before The X-Files or Lost or Fringe, there was a show called The Twilight Zone. You've heard of it. It was cool and creepy and shocking, and your dad loved it, so treat him to this 28-DVD set of every TZ episode ever made, all remastered and packed with extras. It's not cheap, but your pa is worth it. If not, you can buy individual seasons for a little less.
No, I'm not just suggesting this because it's new and hip. When it first came out, I wasn't interested. Then I played around with one in the Apple Store and liked it so much, I almost dry-humped the thing right there in the store. Trust me when I tell you that your guy wants one of these. He may not know it yet, but he does. If you don't know what it is or what it does, click the pic and find out.
3. Concert tickets
Dads get subjected to a lot of lousy music when their kids are growing up, but do they complain? Never! So make it up to the dad in your life with concert tickets to a big people show -- you know, someone he likes instead of Raffi or The Jonas Brothers or Curious George On Ice. Every major city has a steady stream of good shows, and taking your dad to a concert is a gift he'll always remember.
4. Klipsch Image S4i earphones
If the dad in your life loves his tunes, take the earbuds he's using now -- you know, the ones that came with the iPod? -- and throw them in the trash where they belong, then replace them these bad boys. What's the point of listening to good music if it sounds like crud? He can use these with his iPhone, too.
5. Red Dead Redemption
Here's the hottest new title that every gamer dad wants, a first-person shooter with a gazillion hours of play time. Gritty, cool and, yes, violent (Dad can handle it but keep it away from the kids), your man can save the Old West from outlaws and get his ya-yas out at the same time. If shoot-em-ups aren't his thing, try Mario Kart Wii -- it's a blast and the entire family can play.
6. Logitech Harmony One remote
Amazon.com; $178 and upIf you think all universal remote controls are created equal, go buy one for $14 at Walgreen's and let me know how that works out -- that is, once you figure out all the right codes for your various electronic devices. Dad doesn't mess around when it comes to the remote control, and you shouldn't either. The Harmony One isn't cheap, but it will save a lot of cussin' and fussin' when your guy is digging through his remote control collection to find the one that turns off the TV when the DVR is recording and you've run the audio through your stereo.
Finally, since all the ideas above are pricey, he's one for those of us on a tighter budget:
7. 1,001 Facts That Will Scare The S#*t Out Of You
There are two things dads love: 1. Laughing; 2. Reading on the crapper. This hilarious book gives him both in one sitting (heh). How do I know it's hilarious? Because I wrote it. That's right, this is my book and your man will love it, so buy it (please). Buy three or four, even -- it's only $10-ish and makes a great gift for anyone with a sense of humor.