So I’ve been experimenting with writing humor. This Father’s Day piece was turned down by McSweeneys.
Happy Father’s Day, Dad. As a symbol of the love that you chose to give my brothers instead of me, I will again settle on a box of English Leather cologne products as my gift to you. My vague memories of physical affection from you are all associated with that smell.
Which gift box will it be this year? Should I choose the one with the cowboy on the front? Why would they put a cowboy on a box of English Leather? Why not show someone riding English style—as opposed to Western style, in which you break a horse rather than train it. Just like you tried to break my spirit when you sent me to fat camp, Dad. But Patches didn’t body shame me; we rode like the wind.
Maybe I should give you the classic wooden box again. You know, like the one I got you last year from Ebay because it was like the ones you had when I was a kid. I thought it would evoke some nostalgia for that time before you told Tim you couldn’t believe I came from the seed of your loins. Do you remember your reaction Dad? You half smiled, nodded and then reached for Tim’s present, which was a “Best Dad Ever” mug. With faux modesty, you rolled your eyes and said, “Well that’s a little hyperbolic, don’t you think?”
“It’s insanely hyperbolic,” I said.
You know what you’d say if I gave you another wooden box set this year?
“Didn’t Tim give me this last year?”
Of course the year I gave you English Leather Black was a disaster, even though that variation at least has a picture of an English saddle on it. I thought it would be funny to go full Goth. So I when I made the presentation, I wore fishnet stockings with skulls, black nails, lipstick and hair. You remember Troy? He was the one that did that fake English Leather tattoo, matching the script on the bottle. I remember you saying, “Aren’t you a little old for dress up, honey?”
You liked the English Leather Soap on a Rope I gave you one year. You twirled it around over your head, glint in eye and said, “You know, I could probably kill someone with this thing.” Then you looked meaningfully in my direction.
When I tried to mix things up with English Leather Lime the on the Father’s Day after Mom died and a bottle of your favorite tequila, you told me, “I hope you kept the receipt.”
“Of course,” I said, “It’s from Walmart.” But I was gracious. I told you I was glad you were taking $4.72 out the Walton family’s pocket and thanked you for doing your part to rein in capitalism run amok.
Googling the options, I see I haven’t given you the box of four travel size English Leather aftershave balms and skin softeners yet.
To: Customer Service, Dana Classic FragrancesFrom: K——
Subject: Idea for new products
Have you thought of an English Leather skin softener, but for the heart?
Or an English Leather balm, but for the heart?