You could start by reminding him of the time that you innocently asked, “Dad, can you put my shoes on?” and he said, “I don’t think they’d fit me.” The two of you must share some kind of corny exchange like that. Because … he’s your dad. Now is the time to revisit some of the old puns and trot out a few new ones too. Show him that you were paying attention all those years ago. Show him that you remember the attention he paid to you and that you now see it all in a different way. You understand now.
Since it is Father’s Day, you could tell him about the dog that limped into the Old West saloon and said, “I’m looking for the man who shot my paw.” After that, break out the gifts. Tell him you got him a “Ferrari,” and when he asks for the keys, say that he won’t be driving tonight because he’s drinking. Then, hand him a bottle of Ferrari Brut ($19), a traditional method sparkling wine from Italy that is full of lime, apple and toasty bread crust. It’s a refreshing way to kick off a steady flow of stale jokes.
Serve the next wine to him in a coffee cup, and say, “Here’s a nice cup of joe for you.” If he says he’s not ready for coffee yet, show him the can of Joe to Go Oregon Pinot Gris or Joe to Go Oregon Rosé Wine (each $7/375 milliliters) from Wine by Joe Dobbes. Invite your dad to smell and taste the pinot gris’ stone and tropical fruits, plus anise and minerality, or the rosé’s notes of peach, watermelon rind, strawberry and tangy citrus — and then inform him that no nose can grow to be 12 inches long because it would then be a foot. Revenge is sweet.
Make sure, around this point, to offer your dad a glass of water. Tell him what made you think of it is that you noticed yourself becoming a pony — that is, “a little horse” — and you didn’t want him to go that way too. No sir, not on Father’s Day.
If you want to go full-on Carrot Top and incorporate some props for your pops, tape a few kernels of corn to the label of a 2014 Cobb Wines Emmaline Ann Vineyard Pinot Noir ($75/750 milliliters, $160/1.5-liter magnum) from the Sonoma Coast, and offer him some “corn on the Cobb.” It’s a splurge, pricewise, but come on — we do it for the jokes. Plus it’s a really nice wine, with cherry, herbs, ripe raspberry, forest floor, cedar and white pepper. It is elegant and complex, just like your dad, despite his sense of humor.
You’re on fire at this point. Let your dad know that when you bought this next wine, the cashier asked if you wanted it in a bag, and you said “No, you can just leave it in the bottle.” Tell him it’s “a steal” and then reveal the bottle of 2015 Steele Persona Non Grata Lake County Red Wine ($16), a blend of mostly merlot, syrah and zinfandel that offers plum and other dark fruits, coffee, cigar box, tobacco, a streak of cranberry and rich dark chocolate. If you become persona non grata yourself, it won’t be for this wine; it’ll be for the jokes. But don’t let that scare you. Keep ’em coming.
The next bottle will take things to “new heights,” and you should tell your dad exactly that, as you show him the label of a 2013 Heitz Wine Cellars Napa Valley cabernet sauvignon ($54), made with 100 percent cab that offers lush blackberry, bright blueberry, pine needles, nutmeg and other spices in its lingering finish.
If your dad wants to complain about government corruption, or the disintegrating society, or even something more personal, such as how there is only one day a year when dear old dad gets any attention, make sure to smile and lend an ear like a good daughter or son. Reassure him that you’re here now, and you will be his sounding board, and as far as you’re concerned, he can wine all night.
Finally, approach him from his right side and tell him you’re about to deliver some “port from starboard.” (My dad would have particularly loved that one.) Proceed to pour him a few ounces of Cockburn’s Special Reserve Porto ($18), which won’t set you back the way a vintage port would but will still provide satisfying sweet notes of cherry and chocolate wrapped in cedar and subtle waves of eucalyptus. If you don’t finish the bottle that night, push the cork back in, and it will still be good for six weeks, which means your dad can enjoy it on his own, or he can invite you back for a few more nips and puns.
Did you ever think you could have this much fun with a newspaper? Hey, speaking of which, do you wanna hear a joke about “paper”? On second thought, I better not … a lot of these jokes were bad, but the one I know about paper is tear-able.
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