It's Dad's Birthday!

It's Dad's Birthday!


Open Wide and Say "Aacckkkkkkk"

by Tim Bete

My mom recently sent me an invitation to my dadÂ’s 65th birthday party. My parents live in Massachusetts and I live in Ohio, so, unfortunately, I wonÂ’t be able to attend. But itÂ’s just as well. The invitation said, "Gag gifts only."

If You Almost Hurl, ItÂ’s A Gag Gift

Most people define gag gifts as items that poke fun at the recipient. Being a literalist, I define a gag gift as one that provides the same sensation as having a cotton swab stuck halfway down your throat to see if you have Strep. If thereÂ’s no audible "aacckkkkkkk" sound, itÂ’s not a gag gift. Black balloons that say, "over the hill" are not a gag gift. A dead squirrel with a red ribbon tied around its neck is.

When my older brother was in college and I was still living at home, I sent him a home-cooked meal. Rather than waste a Zip lock bag, I simply put some meatloaf, mashed potatoes and gravy into a shoebox, wrapped it up and mailed it fourth class. He received it three weeks later. I could hear him gagging 200 miles away.

Lordy, Lordy, Who Writes This Stuff?

Too often, when a friend or relative hits a milestone birthday, people feel a need to publish little ads in the local newspaper or put a sign on their front lawn with witticisms such as, "Lordy, lordy, Bill is forty." While I applaud their good intentions for trying to publicly humiliate their loved ones, there are more effective means.

As a public service, I herewith provide some new phrases to use on important birthdays. I considered starting a political action group called SOPBWLL (Society to Outlaw Phrases Beginning with Lordy, Lordy) but have determined that it will be unnecessary if you heed my advice. Remember, every person has an Achilles heel-something that, if properly illuminated, will cause him or her to run from the room crying. Your job is to find it and tell others.

Try these:

• There’s nothing bigger than his buns, Steve is turning 41.

• Without her dentures she can’t chew, Jane is turning 52.

• Fred’s prostrate ain’t what it use to be, because he’s turning 93.

• You’ve never met a bigger bore, Beth is turning 64.

• It’s his nose he loves to picks, Steve is turning 26.

• There’s no way you’ll see her in heaven, Muffy’s turning 47.

• He’s lately gained a ton of weight, Ed today turns 38.

• He’s so bald his head doth shine, Frank is turning 59.

HereÂ’s one for my dad: WeÂ’re all amazed heÂ’s still alive, Joe is turning 65!

Who Wants Cookies?

Now, before you deluge me with e-mail telling me to be nice to my dad, let me tell you a little about him. One of my dadÂ’s favorite sayings is, "Teasing is loving." IÂ’ve always appreciated that philosophy. It came in especially handy when my dad asked me what I was mailing to my older brother. I could truthfully answer that I was sending him a big box-o-love-with gravy.

After a wonderful family dinner, my dad would often ask enthusiastically, "Who wants chocolate chip cookies for dessert!?" When my four siblings and I yelled, "We do!," he would respond, "Too bad nobody made any." Now, thatÂ’s love.

When we had a splinter and needed someone to remove it, to whom did we turn? Usually a complete stranger. If my dad knew that one of us had a splinter he would quickly run to the basement to get a chainsaw, crow bar, power drill and chisel. In the meantime, we hid. Even using only a pair of tweezers, my dad could flash us the look of a mad scientist so that we would beg him to give us a steak knife to cut off our own hand rather than have him remove the splinter. "If this hurts me more than it hurts you, then IÂ’m doing something wrong," he was fond of saying. Now thatÂ’s love.

So, pick up the nearest beverage and join me in toasting my dad.

Happy birthday, Dad. I love you. (And, by the way, stand back when you open the box I sent you. I squashed a raccoon on the way home from work the other day.)

To subscribe to Tim's column or read more of his work, visit his Web site at

About the Author

Tim Bete (pronounced "beet") writes about where he lives in his weekly humor column. Tim is married with three children and has nine combined years as a dad -- 63 in dog years -- which makes him an expert at answering the questions, "Are we there yet?" "Why?" and "What's that smell?" Formerly the editor of Early Childhood News magazine, Tim's hobbies include pushing his luck, skating on thin ice and fishing his kids' toys out of the toilet. You can reach him at

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