We at the OC Weekly DataLab understand how difficult it is to shop for Dad. To make your job easier, we conducted a series of rigorous studies to determine the best gifts for the big guy. Our results indicate that dads fall into four main shopping categories, which we've outlined below, along with each of the three dominant Dad Subtypes. NOTE: If you don't find your dad in the descriptions below, it's because he's a freak who doesn't love you and doesn't deserve a gift. Happy holidays!
For the dad . . .
. . . who enjoys cooking.
The Ionic Shoe Freshener. Cooking means standing, and standing means shoes filled with lots of gross fungus and mildew. But the shoe freshener solves this problem by creating an environment "that's less friendly to microbes." It does this by making use of the patented "Zenion Effect" that "circulates negative ions inside shoes." Remember learning about physics in school? Negative ions are good; positive ions are evil. Or was it the other way around? How the hell would we know? We flunked physics. Available for $59.95 from the Sharper Image.
. . . who enjoys cooking but can't make decent pasta.
The PastaSmart Fork. Yes, folks, it's exactly what you think it is: a computerized fork preprogrammed to recognize 11 pasta types, the PastaSmart Fork beeps when the spaghetti is ready. Hey, that rhymes! Available for $25 at Brookstone.
. . . who enjoys cooking but can't make decent pasta because he lacks simple motor skills.
First Steps Plus. If it works for a 3-month-old, it will work for your old man. According to its manufacturer, it "helps with balance and coordination while providing nine fun activities with five bright lights, eight melodies and a friendly speaking voice." It also has wheels, big plastic numbers and lots of bright colors. Available at Zany Brainy for $49.99.
For the dad . . .
. . . who runs his own business.
Black-steel suggestion box. This lockable box includes a pack of 25 cards and adhesive labels. Some cards bear the "Suggestion" label; others are marked "Comments." Place on the desk or mount on the wall. Two keys are provided for additional security because, as we all know, suggestion-box fraud is rotting American business from the inside. Don't let anyone tell you differently. Available at Staples for $42.75.
. . . who runs his own business into the ground.
Model 4107 Destroyit strip-cut shredder. This baby will shred anything —crumpled paper, cardboard boxes, printer cartridges or computer disks. When tax time rolls around in a few months and it becomes necessary to "sanitize" the office in order to clinch that big tax write-off that comes with every blown business, this thing will easily pay for itself. Available at Officezone.com for $8,559.
. . . who runs his own business into the ground and is now fleeing federal investigators because a truckload of company money is missing.
Programmable LCD name plate. Obviously, Dad has passed the point at which a mere high-volume shredder can help. During the next few months, Dad might have to make some changes—to his name, for instance. Circumstances might even force him to adopt a few extra names, depending on the occasion and investigating agency. The name plate allows him the freedom to carry on business as usual under any name he chooses, as long as it contains 16 or fewer characters. Available for $35 from Brookstone.
For the dad . . .
. . . who enjoys fine wine.
Crystal decanter with funnel. Wine connoisseurs know that pouring your cab straight into a glass is for suckers and rubes. Wine must breathe first, and the best way to do that is to decant the wine. This crystal decanter and nickel-plated funnel positively reek of class and sophistication. It's sure to impress all your dad's wino friends. Available for $90 from Brookstone.
. . . who enjoys fine wine but can't hold his liquor.
Digital alcohol breath tester. Unless your dad is a certain Texas politician who shall remain nameless, DUIs are bad news. This tester is hand-held and takes only seconds to warn Pop if his blood-alcohol content is 0.05 percent or higher. Available for $99.95 from the Sharper Image.
. . . who enjoys fine wine but can't hold his liquor and got busted on Beach Boulevard soliciting sex from a vice cop.
If the cop was in uniform: a gift certificate for one of the many LASIK surgeons in your area, several of whom advertise in the pages of this fine publication.
If the cop was undercover: say it with cash; good legal representation ain't cheap these days.
For the dad . . .
. . . who ran out on your mom.
M&M Shower Radio. Instead of greeting Mom's smiling face first thing in the morning, Dad can now greet this snorkeling M&M Shower Radio. Way to go, Dad. Available at Zany Brainy for $19.99.
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. . . who ran out on your mom and recently got a 21-year-old girlfriend.
Looks like some serious generational issues, so consider a double gift: Limp Bizkit album for him; Moody Blues for her. Available at fine record stores countywide.
. . . who ran out on your mom and recently got a 21-year-old girlfriend who just ran out on him.
There are a host of reasons a 21-year-old might run out on your dad—he never listened to her, he never understood her issues, he didn't bathe as often as she liked, or he had that stupid M&M radio in his shower. But rather than guessing, just get him a membership at a good fitness club.