It’s Fathers’ Day on Sunday. Happy Fathers’ Day, Dad.
I bought the big guy a small, lovingly wrapped gift, a little shiny disc full of music by Jimi Hendrix – hopefully he won’t read this before Sunday, or that’s that surprise ruined. I knew I wouldn’t be able to see him this weekend, so I sorted it out last week. It was hastily wrapped, moments before I got on the train, and there was no accompanying card. And really it’s something that I like and will probably borrow for the rest of my life. But it was there on time.
I’ve never been that prepared for such an occasion before, and this broke a bloke precedent.
The last-minute panic men, including myself most years, experience on occasions like Fathers’ Day – actually make that every occasion – makes me laugh. Especially because you know that your dad probably goes through the exact same panic whenever he has to buy a gift.
This sudden attack of fear blokes experience when they realise it’s probably too late to buy a present, wrap it and send it off in time for the special day, I’ve decided, is the only possible explanation for something that happened earlier, in the toilets, while I was at work.
Whiling away some time on the porcelain throne, I heard someone enter the cubicle next to me. Door opened, door closed, lock clicked, then silence.
Then, after about 30 seconds, the loudest, most inappropriate rustling sound broke out. Terrified, I racked my brains to try to work out what could be happening? Was he reading newspapers at speeds previously only achievable by that dickhead robot Johnny 5 from Short Circuit? Had he lost his mind and started manically tearing through thousands of sheets of loo roll, showering himself in the little pieces of bog-roll confetti? Was he made of paper?
Turns out not.
Things got even more bizarre. Two more noises happened, each more out of place in a public toilet than the one before. The first, scissors, cutting through paper. Then: Sellotape.
What. The fuck. Is happening next to me?
The frenetic pace of this guy’s actions suggested he was in some kind of blind panic. He’s just killed his boss, I thought. He’s wrapping the body. I’m going to have to give the weirdest evidence that anyone has ever had to give to a court at the trial.
Then, I realised: it must be to do with Fathers’ Day. He forgot, and he’s dealing with it last minute. He is a bloke, after all.
I breathed a sigh of relief.
But this does raise some questions. What the hell did this guy buy for his dad that he was too embarrassed to wrap at his desk? And how would his loving father, who brought him up, put a roof over his head and provided for him, feel about being paid back with a, quite feasibly literally, shitty little gift that he wrapped while perched on the crapper?
If you’re reading this, Dad, I hope you like your Jimi Hendrix CD. And if you don’t, at least be thankful for this: I didn’t wrap it in the fucking toilet…