By Sarah Hutto

@jdurham on

@jdurham on

Looking for a last-minute gift for Father's Day? Here’s a nifty guide to help you find that perfect gift for the special guy who’s always been there, whether it was somberly watching the news after work with a bourbon, or telling you to take your rainbow ponies upstairs because your singing was giving him a headache. Let Dad know you care by taking our dad-developed, psychologist-approved, ten-question quiz to determine exactly what to give the lovable old lug.

1. Do you have one of those super-old dads, or can he be left in public unsupervised?
a. He had a hand in the toppling of Prussia.
b. He had to change his original political affiliation from Whig to Independent.
c. He’s young enough to use email, but too old to use the automatic checkout without getting yelled at.
d. His first language is Latin.

2. What type of manly job does your father have, so that we might make indiscriminate stabs at labeling him?
a. Something with numbers.
b. Something with wood.
c. It’s for the government and he’s not allowed to say. (It’s Scratch-off’s).
d. He wrestles bears in his underpants. I haven’t heard from him in awhile.

3. Does your father wear a tie, the only article of clothing that distinguishes a man from a woman?
a. He wears a tie all day at work. Then he puts on a different tie to wear to bed, like a sad, manly Mr. Rogers.
b. He has one with a flamingo that he saves for weddings and is own funeral. It smells like stale cigars and spit-up.
c. If he didn’t wear a tie, how would people know he’s a boy?
d. He doesn’t wear a tie, so much as he uses it as a leash for his pack of abandoned dogs that he feeds and travels with in a pack. The police mostly leave him alone.

4. A good portion of a man’s personality is made up of facial hair. How would you describe your father’s scruff?
a. He had an ominous mustache in the late sixties that my mom was able to shave while he was unconscious. It never grew back.
b. He shaves twice a day. Thrice, if there’s a full moon.
c. He has a meticulously sculpted goatee that gets him lots of winks on the AARP dating site.
d. He tried to grow a beard once. We had to move.

5. According to TV, having a family turns most men into functioning alcoholics. What alcohol does your father prefer for the temporary escape of the burden of his responsibilities?
a. My dad only drinks beer, since beer is a man’s drink that only men enjoy and my dad is a man.
b. Ever since getting kicked out of spy school, he only takes stiff drinks with the explicit instruction that they be stirred.
c. My dad officially quit drinking five years ago, but I’m pretty sure I can get him back into it with a little effort.
d. My dad makes his own wine in the basement as a hobby, which he serves at family holidays. To this day, no one knows how we all ended up sleeping on the patio last Thanksgiving.

6. Is your father a fan of deer? Either as woodland friends or partaking in their sacrifice?
a. He’s an avid hunter. A few local gun safety bills were named after him.
b. While driving, he asks his passengers to hang out the window with a hunting rifle and eliminate the potential traffic hazards approaching from the woods.
c. He has antlers mounted above the fireplace. But he would never himself actually go near a real, live deer, because of their tendency to attack.
d. Now that you mention it, he has mentioned several deer friends. He says they visit him daily and tell him which stock to buy. We’re hoping he’ll agree to grant one of us power-of-attorney.

7. Speaking of hunting, is your father in touch with his primal instincts for meat preparation, or does he eat meat raw, like he has rabies?
a. My dad is well-versed in the challenging art of holding some meat over fire with tools, just like a real caveman—which is more than could be said of that fancy bigshot doctor my cousin married.
b. My dad was kicked out of his retirement community for grilling in the hallway, while simultaneously being a little too in touch with his manhood.
c. My dad lives in one of those “coastal elite” cities, where meat is no longer legal.
d. My dad is literally some pieces of steak that I glued together.

8. Fathers tend to be history buffs because men are attracted to old things (except for women). Does your dad have a history obsession?
a. I think my dad may have accidentally fired the stray cannon shot that prematurely started the Civil War.
b. He’s always talking about “the good old days,” which is confusing, since he was sent to work in a mothball factory when he was five, where he contracted polio.
c. My dad watches so many World War II documentaries, we’re not sure even he knows whose side he’s on anymore.
d. He bought a Delorean on eBay, because it’s “futuristic,” so he would say no.

9. Many fathers buy boats in a futile effort to escape loved ones. How big is your dad’s boat?
a. Not big enough for anyone to go on it with him, apparently.
b. Just the right size for him to make the same Jaws joke every time we visit.
c. Big enough for him to sleep on after eating a burrito, according to my mom.
d. Unfortunately, not big enough to fill the gaping hole caused by my decision to get a Masters in puppetry. He’s still pretty mad about that.

10. If your father is not into golf, alcoholism, deer slaughter, or mustache art, his personality must consist solely of passing gas. Have you considered a gift that hinges on his ability to fart?
a. Well, I did drive him home from his colonoscopy last Spring, if that’s what you mean.
b. There’s other things dads can be into, you know. This quiz didn’t even get into Star Trek or the Tea Party.
c. Aren’t you grasping at straws at this point? He happens to be very interested in the opera and anthropology.
d. Ok, I guess that flushing toilet card is fine.

Based on how you answered the above questions, the perfect gift for your father is… stamps! The answer is usually stamps, because real dads hide their true selves like mysterious gods in sandals and socks you can never see if you try too hard, but who show up just when you need them, like an hour late with jumper cables and a Christopher Hitchens book they thought you’d want to check out.

Just get him the stamps, because as men age they have a weird need to hoard increasingly obsolete, government issued paper products that would be instantly destroyed in a fire. Also, it helps the Post Office, which, if your dad hasn’t told you, is on the verge of going bankrupt because of Obama.


SARAH HUTTO (@huttopian) frequently contributes to The New Yorker, Reductress, MAD Magazine, and McSweeney’s. She lives on Medium here.

The American Bystander is an all-star print comedy quarterly. Why not subscribe?

View sample issues here.
Buy back issues here.
Bystander is also available on Amazon/Powell’s/B&N, or via special order at your local bookstore.