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Jim Konrad: Get more bang for your Father’s Day buck

Jim Konrad

Here’s a fun fact for you: Mother’s Day spending is estimated to be $14 billion. Father’s Day spending is $100 million. That’s billions vs. millions.

I don’t think the math is off. I got the statistics from the Internet, so you know it’s true.

To put it in some perspective: Mother’s Day spending in the United States is greater than the annual gross domestic product of dozens of nations. Granted, many are nations that you probably won’t want to visit during February break, but they still are nations. Meanwhile, 25 guys from the New York Yankees will make twice as much this year as will be spent on 66 million American dads.

That kind of discrepancy is hard to fathom. Even Big Oil or Big Insurance or Big Halliburton split up their donations between political candidates more evenly than children split their dollars between parents.

I’m still trying to figure out the reasons. Here are a few that might make sense:

- As a rule, dads don’t get flowers, which are more expensive than, say, a box of golf balls or a tackle box.

- Also, dads don’t get much jewelry. For us, every gift that begins with K is either a Killian’s or a Kit Kat.

- For that special meal, most dads will go with burgers on the grill over something on a white tablecloth.

- We like chocolate, too, but it doesn’t have to be boxed or wrapped. A bar works just fine (see above).

- Children love their mothers more. (I’m relatively sure that last one isn’t the case in the Konrad house, right, kids? ...... Kids?)

Being a realist, and knowing that Father’s Day is less than two weeks away, I’ve come up with some ideas for families to get the most out of their buck for their dads — and if national statistics are any indication, it may be only a buck.

Less than $30

- Noise-canceling headphones. You can only get really cheap ones for this price. But it cuts out most of the sounds of the lawnmower and other loud things, such as neighbors, dogs, neighbors yelling at dogs, etc.

- A month’s worth of shock for the pool. Nobody likes green water, especially not dads.

- A load of mulch. You never know when you’re going to need it.

Less than $20

- Armor All.

- Twenty pounds of propane.

- A Thurman Munson T-shirt (because you can’t have too many).

Less than $10

- A large bucket of golf balls at the range.

- Three gallons of gas, plus a small coffee.

- A flashlight. Dads love flashlights. At least this one does.

Less than $5

- A box of nightcrawlers, plus a box of sandworms.

- Silly Bandz, or Silly Bandz knockoffs. We will be happy to share our gifts with the giver. Everybody wins!

Free

- An hour of silence.

- An hour, before 9 p.m., of something dad wants to watch on TV. Maybe it’s baseball, maybe it’s “30 Rock,” maybe it’s a home improvement show. Maybe it’s even the Lifetime movie “Deadly Honeymoon” starring Summer Glau.

Priceless

- A big, giant hug. While you’re silent.

Jim Konrad is the Norwich Bulletin’s executive editor.