Contrived Holidays

By Mike Johnson

Happy Father's Day! It's a fine line between celebration & obligation.

As a father, I don't need a special day. I don't want any extra attention. I certainly don't want anyone to "owe" me a card or a call or a gift.

I do enjoy the expectation to "take it easy" today. It's easier to decide to do chores or not, free of unspoken expectations.

Three years ago, before I stopped watching the Twins (due to cancelling their founder & donating millions to the organization that burned Minneapolis), Minnesota proclaimed it "Joe Mauer Day." It was held on Fathers Day weekend.

The long-time Twins player had his number retired. Friends & family & teammates flew in to celebrate his day. The stadium sold-out. Video tributes were played. It was nice.

Joe was touched but uncomfortable. He squirmed as the center of attention. He'd already experienced a tearful, retirement goodbye in front of a packed stadium at the end of the prior season.

Paid $184 million over 8 years, the Twins still presented him a few gifts. More squirming.

He must've hugged 100 people. He had to make a speech to 37,000. He had to wear a suit on a Saturday.

Then he watched his #7 uncovered as "retired" on the stadium wall. Right next to Jackie Robinson's number 42, which baseball retired from every team, in every stadium.

It was a big to-do.

But deep in his secret heart, I suspect Joe would've preferred they slapped his number up over the winter, mailed his gifts & left him alone at home with his family, barbecuing.

Contrived holidays are fine if you don't feel pressured to buy gifts, make calls or say squirmy things.

If it's heartfelt, do what you do.

If it's not, I hope you'll do everyone a favor & skip the whole thing.

What dads want the most is for others to fuss the least. Keep it simple. Keep it small. Keep it real. Keep it honest.


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