This Sunday is Fathers' Day in Australia.
If you weren't aware, then it can only be because you don't watch television, read newspapers, look at the advertisements pasted on the sides of buses or, most significantly, have a letter box that not only says "NO JUNK MAIL" but is actually obeyed by lawless leaflet droppers.
Mothers' Day is most commonly associated with over-priced and daggy jewellery, dressing gowns, chocolates, flower bouquets and foot spas. Fathers' Day, according to the glossy dreck falling out of the slot onto my footpath, is about power tools, watches, polo shirts and booze.
Trouble is, what sane man wants a polo shirt when clothes are the sort of thing you get under sufferance? They're not gifts or fun, for heavens' sake: they're merely a protective outer layer that your wife buys every now and then to ensure that you are socially acceptable. Otherwise most men would wear clothes until way past the 'I can see your nipples through the now-transparent material' phase and we'd still be seeing fellas wearing 'ACDC live in concert 1977' - Oh wait, we still are.
Tools, according to my father, are things you get yourself. When you need 'em. After all, whe am I going to know that Dad - he of the perennially scabbed knuckles, saw-dust-encrusted King Gee workman's pants and steel-cap exposed blundstones - needs his lathe replaced?
Alcohol isn't for him either. He was raised a Methodist - "Yep, even the older churches' floors were sloped to prevent anyone from dancing but it didn't stop your grandparents from flaunting the rules in 1932 and giving it a go," and they forbade drinking, amongst other fun things. By the time they merged with the Presbyterians in 1977, Dad was 37 and not interested in trying to get into something he'd managed to avoid for 20 years.
In hindsight, his strength and wisdom is remarkable because he's the type of bloke who tends to enjoy a bit of bread with his butter if you know what I mean and no-one has ever witnessed him do anything other than inhale half a dozen cream puffs in one mouthful, so the prevention of loss of brain cells by a means other than accidentally knocking the top of his head against the edge of the car door is a good thing.
Watches swmatches. Love Chunks never wears one and Dad just buys a Two Dollar shop special until it gets stuck in the vice, shattered by a golf ball, driven over or dropped over the side of his tinny fishing boat.
Therefore, every year he gets a book or three from me. Until now, because the selfish git has joined one of those University of the Third Age Retiree Twilight Years Coffee And Chat Bookclub groups and gets to read everything before I've even heard of it. "Oh no Kath, it's nowhere near as good as his debut novel and isn't going to trouble the Booker judges this year...."
Love Chunks gets a home made card from Sapphire which is accompanied by a DVD, chocolates or some CDs purchased by me but given by her. This year, we've decided to buy him three magazines that we might have seen him reading in the past (he's not a big glossy flicker) and make up a hand-made certificate that entitles him to a one year subscription to the magazine he most prefers.
One is a fairly safe looking publication relating to Men's health but the byline at the top of the cover screams: 'REVEALED! HER SECRET SEX FANTASY!'. Hmmm, do I wrap these up or let Sapphire do it, like she has done every other year?
A pharmacy company that runs an online order business we've previously bought cheap(er) vitamins, nose sprays and glucosamine for arthritic dogs from doesn't seem to have much idea either. If we bypass their suggested bargain mens fragrances, in today's email they rather foolishly suggest:
Hair loss supplements
Hair re-growth treatment pills
Erectomax 'sexual enhancement' tablets, packets of sixty
Asonor snoring relief sprays
Omegagen Cardio tablets to reduce cholesterol
Not a father this year? Use Sasmar conceive plus gel
.....even the Valetudo 'pre electric shave balm' seemed about as fun as, gee, I don't know, maybe getting a packet of Erectomax FROM YOUR OWN CHILD.....!
This morning I threw some orange peels into the fliptop kitchen bin and noticed Love Chunks' most favourite, map-of-Australia silk boxers in there, flopped forlornly over the coffee grounds and empty bread bag. They'd finally flown their last, having only the job for 13 years.
So that's what he's getting - new boxers! And my Dad, too.