Sunday, June 19, 2011

Father's Day - A Brief History

With Father's Day upon us it is important for fathers to remember how we, as an inferior societal subculture to mothers, got where we are. After all, Father's Day did not get off the ground until well after Mother's Day was established in the United States.

Father's Day unofficially began in 1922 by a group of men in Topeka, Kansas, fathers all, who desperately needed a new grill. Such an unlikely scenario, conceived over a jug of hooch, actually worked, and the very grill is still in use today by the grandson of one of the Father's Day founding fathers, though it is in a state of serious disrepair.

The Father's Day concept spread across the mid-West and finally became a loosely adopted holiday across most of the U.S., as men everywhere were clamoring for an excuse to upgrade their barbecues annually.

During the 1950s Father's Day, still not a national holiday, was hijacked by the tie industry, and for more than 40 years the necktie reigned supreme as the go-to Father's Day gifts until, thanks to discount retailers such as Wal-Mart and Fred Meyer, grills began making a comeback in the mid-1990's.

Father's Day became official in 1972, with a proclamation by President Richard Nixon, who during his re-election campaign promised "a grill in every garage." Though Father's Day became official, the promise was twisted by savvy retailers who advertised in the Sunday supplements "a tie around every neck."

Wednesday, June 15, 2011


I don’t fly much anymore. In fact, until last week it’s been almost two years. I don’t have anywhere to go anymore.

Back when I kept a carry-on bag perpetually packed I would complain about airport parking, flight delays, gate changes and receiving too few mushrooms with my steak and potatoes. I realize now how petty my complaints were. Petty, I know. Petty.

Last week my complaint had less to do with the airlines and the TSA and more to do with no longer enjoying platinum status. I was forbidden to use the platinum screening lane at SeaTac. I was unable to board early. There was no first class upgrade waiting for me at the gate. No one offered to take my jacket upon boarding. During the flight I had a small cup of juice and the tiniest pack of peanuts imaginable, and I had to wait a long time for it. I had a tiny square napkin instead of a hot towel and lemon water.

In a previous career when someone made a huge mistake (like cutting a live fiber optic cable by mistake), instead of harsh disciplinary measures the mistake-maker was required to write a “lessons learned” report and share it with the team.

Here is my Lesson Learned: complaints are relative. Navigate the small speedbumps with patience and a smile. Those things which I complain about today might be insignificant in another set of circumstances.