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Dad: New ‘toys’ aren’t wanted, they’re needed

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Sunday is Father’s Day, but I won’t be getting a gift from my wife this year. No, she’s not being mean. It’s my own fault. After all, I’m the one who told her not to get me anything for Father’s Day … or Christmas.

It all started a few weeks before my birthday. I wanted to purchase a new toy … OK, a few new toys. The problem was that the total cost of these items was several times the amount I’ve been authorized to spend without adult supervision.


I knew if I simply asked Brenda, my adult supervisor, her answer would have been “Of course not!” or something similar.

I also knew I needed to educate her. I needed to explain that I didn’t really want these items, but I needed them. I really needed them. It’s not my fault; it’s beyond my control.

Calmly I began to explain to Brenda all the perfectly logical reasons why I needed these items, would be silly not to buy these items and would be just plain crazy not to buy them now.

When she started to roll her eyes, I knew that somehow I wasn’t convincing her of this real and genuine need that I had.

So I did what many men do when they’re desperate to buy something that requires spousal approval. I proceeded to beg.

Hey, if the Temptations ain’t too proud to beg, neither am I.

No, I did not drop to my knees and weep (fortunately for what’s left of my dignity, I didn’t have to go that far this time), nor did I whimper “Pleeeeeeeze!” while my bottom lip trembled.

Instead I took a different approach, one that’s worked for me in the past and one I’m sure has worked for millions of other husbands before me.

“If you let me buy these items, they can be my birthday present,” I said.

I could tell by the look on her face that she was comparing the cost of the toys I wanted to buy to what she usually spends on my birthday gift. The math was against me, and I had to act quickly.

“And my Father’s Day present,” I added.

“Gee, I don’t know,” she said, “That’s a lot of money.”

“And my Christmas present, too,” I said, feeling my knees starting to bend.

“Hmm,” she said.

“And next year’s birthday, too!”

“Well …”

“And these are the last I’ll ever buy!” I blurted out, my lip quivering.

“I guess it’s OK,” she said, with a slight smirk that told me I probably could have stopped at Christmas.

I purchased the items right before my birthday, so they did, indeed, make a wonderful gift. And since it’s only a couple of months between my birthday and Father’s Day, I’m still enjoying playing with my new toys.

No gift on Sunday? No problem.

But no gift at Christmas? A whole six months from now? And my next birthday, nearly a year away? What was I thinking?

Clearly I wasn’t thinking … clearly. I let the woman get to me with her eye rolling and her “Gee, I don’t know,” and her “That’s a lot of money.”

But since I won’t be eligible for another gift until Father’s Day 2015, I have an entire year to watch game films and develop a better strategy for next time. Right now I’m favoring the quivering lip and the “Pleeeeeeeze!”

Yes, there will be a next time. For while Brenda believed me when I told her my new toys would count as my gift for my birthday, this Father’s Day, Christmas and my next birthday, she also knows my blurting out, “And these are the last I’ll ever buy!” was nothing but a lie told by a truly desperate man who might have actually believed it at the time.

Maybe that’s why she was smirking.

Doug Showalter can be reached at 379-5625 or

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