As Fatherís Day approaches, you may wonder whether a display of filial affection affirming your love and appreciation for dear old dad is preferable to any sort of tangible gift.

Itís not.

You see, dads are an insecure lot, and they need something with a little sticker value to demonstrate that you really do care, like maybe a new car, real estate or precious metals in bulk.

You may also be wondering whether you should be worrying about dad comparing his gift with the present you got for mom on Motherís Day. Will he actually be put out if the Motherís Day gift costs a little more?

The answers are, yes, and, you betcha he will.

Moms certainly do deserve a lot of credit for your being here on the planet, what with actually giving birth to you and all.

But dad also played a key role on the day of your arrival.

For instance, he had to drive mom to the hospital. Traffic can be pretty trying when youíre in a hurry.

Then he had to find a place to park. Thatís always an ordeal around a busy hospital.

Then he had to get change to feed the parking meter. Do you have any idea how rude shopkeepers can get when you ask them for change without buying anything?

And dad had to do all this while under the added pressure of mom going on and on about labors pains this and labor pains that.

So, you see, you owe dad.

You owe him big.

Now, you siblings may be wondering whether you should be ruthlessly vying to outdo each other in buying dad the most expensive gift.

You should be.
You are, after all, competing for dadís affection, and love doesnít come cheap.

You may also wonder whether itís possible to go overboard and provide dad with something so extravagant that it might appear vulgar or crass.

Itís not.

The skyís the limit and that includes buying dad his own plane or helicopter.

Finally, letís say you failed to heed the excellent advice offered in primers like this one and youíve forgotten to get dad a suitable gift for Fatherís Day.
How do you make things right with the guy who had to keep running out to the street to feed the parking meter quarters on the day of your birth?

Would it be OK to mollify dad by simply forking over a large amount of cash in lieu of something you put some actual thought and feeling into?

Yes. That would be OK.

Provided, of course, you begin right away on plans for dadís present for Fatherís Day 2014.

And start saving up.

Frank Mulligan is an editor in GateHouse Media New Englandís Plymouth, Mass., office, and can be reached at This is a classic column, not because itís necessarily any good but because it appeared in a prior edition.