I’ve read a few articles about suggestion for Father’s Day gifts, and I am not impressed. These articles miss the point of Father’s Day: To blow away the other fathers when you compare gifts—not necessarily because of the cost of the gift but because of the insight it shows into the male psyche. I submit to you this real man’s list of Father’s Day gifts.

  1. $15. Bodum Pavina Double-Wall Thermo Glasses. Very cool, double-walled glasses. Supposedly they keep drinks hotter or colder. I don’t know if this is true, but it’s a great story. Certainly, dad will get a $15 of value talking about it. Frankly, it’s worth $15 just to look at and try to figure out how Bodum makes the glasses.
  2. $40. Reef Fanning sandals. What’s the big deal about sandals? These aren’t just any sandals. They have beer bottle openers in the soles. Trust me: this will impress your father even if he doesn’t drink beer.
  3. $349. Bose Quiet Comfort 3 headphones. If your father travels, he will love this. I’ve owned three of the previous versions. Sure, other companies make cheaper ones, but when your father is sitting in the plane and looks over at other people with headphones, don’t you want him to know he has the best one? This is version 3. I recently lost my version 2 headphones and immediately bought another because I was flying to Norway, and I didn’t know Bose was coming out with this model—what a bummer. Maybe I’ll “lose” the one I have.
  4. $385. Tumi Generation 4.4 backpack. I love to buy bags. I used to buy two or three a year. I think I’ve finally found the ultimate one. I need to carry all this stuff: 15 inch MacBook; charger; Airport Express; spare battery (because Apple can’t make a laptop with battery life anywhere close to Sony…it can’t blame Motorola anymore, but I digress); video adapter; Countryman wireless microphone (something your dad should look into if he makes a lot of speeches); Nikon D200, Nikon strobe, Bose Quiet Comfort 2 (not 3!); three-ring binder; and one book which typically involves a retired Navy Seal who kills terrorists after they kill his family. This backpack is the only thing I’ve found that can do this without looking like a sailor’s duffle bag or a mountain climber’s backpack.
  5. $600 (but really $1000). Big Green Egg smoker. This BBQ smoker, without using fancy marinade, produces the best tasting chicken, turkey, and beef dishes. Some fathers may have built-in, stainless steel, gas-powered, expensive BBQs, but this one does the trick the old-fashioned way: charcoal and smoke. A real man’s BBQ must involve charcoal (“propane-powered BBQ” is an oxymoron). $600 for this is mind boggling, but it’s based on “3,000 year old Japanese technology”—whatever that means. And it gets worse: when buy all the other crap like a tray, thermometer, stand, etc., you’re looking at $1,000. Somebody in Japan (or Georgia) is really having a good laugh about this one.
  6. $1300. MacBook, 13 inch, black. Let’s just say that you should hope that your father’s company won’t allow him to use a Mac at work, so you can have it. Everybody wins when you read my blog.
  7. $1700. Nikon D200 (body only). The is the digital SLR that rules—at least for the next six months until Canon ships something better. High status value: How can you go wrong with a Nikon? Nobody is going to kick sand in your old man’s face when he whips out a Nikon D200 digital SLR.
  8. $800. 18-200 lens for Nikon D200. D200 too pricey? Then just buy him this lens. It’s the only lens he’ll probably need—this is why you should buy only the body for the D200. If he doesn’t have a D200, why buy the lens? This is how it will work: You buy the lens, he reads what it can do, and he’ll have to buy the body. Then he’ll give you his old point-and-shoot wimpy camera. Like I said, everyone wins when they read my blog.
  9. $2,500. Breitling Aerospace watch. This is the ultimate geek’s watch. Analog hands plus digital readout for stopwatch, second time zone (i.e., what time it is at home?), countdown (i.e., how much longer will this flight last?), seconds/date, and day/date. The latest version has backlighting for the digital features which helps on red eye flights. Yes, you can probably find all these features in a $50 watch, but it won’t be made in Switzerland and made of titanium. (The purpose of a watch at this level is not telling time but showing showing how cool you are.) If you really want to dazzle your old man, then buy him a Breitling Emergency. This watch has a microtransmitter that broadcasts on the aircraft emergency frequency (121.5 MHz). Now that’s cool.
  10. $50,000. Ford Shelby Cobra GT 500. Let’s say you work for Google as a part-time receptionist. Post IPO lockup, you’re worth $25 million. What the hell, buy dad a car. You could buy him an Audi, Mercedes, BMW, or Porsche, but that’s flaunting your wealth, and you should not only “do no evil” but also “not show off.” The Cobra is the perfect gift. Rare, fast, sub-$100,000, built in America, and inspired by a real American (Carroll Shelby). If you buy your father a German car, he really can’t even drive it to the office without appearing to show off. But if you buy him this car, it’s so cool/retro that there will be a line of fathers who want a ride in it. If you can’t afford buying him a Cobra, then you could rent a Shelby GT-H from Hertz.

There you have it. You have only two days to do your shopping, so you probably won’t get any of these in time. That’s okay. Your father will be happy to wait for any of these gifts, and a gift that’s worth waiting for is worth giving.