The true meaning of Father’s day

Posted: June 16, 2014 in Mental Health

The story of fathers day is an interesting one and not well known. It started about forty years ago with an argument between two great friends, Korean war veterans who had survived in the heat of battle together and sworn everlasting friendship but hadn’t foreseen the world of greetings cards.
Richard Hallmark was a fairly wealthy young American captain, his family had discovered gold and silver along with other precious metals, not discovered as in found but as in literally invented them apparently and ever since their names have appeared on all official sanctioned precious metals, hence the word Hallmarked being household vernacular. So young Richard was almost killed by a sneak attack planned by the North Koreans, which had been causing mayhem in the ranks of allied soldiers. A huge jungle pig, a boar no less was strapped to a stick of dynamite and this was lit with a medium length fuse, slapped on its ass and sent into a crowd of infantryman. A young NCO, Lucius Clinton noticed the distraught porkster heading towards the tall and easily identifiable Hallmark, who was haggling with a prostitute over the cost of a therapeutic massage. Just as they had agreed the cost of a happy ending the larger Clinton smashed sideways on into his superior officer slamming him to the ground as the poor animal disintegrated into a ball of ribs and chops. As the two men lay on the ground with pieces of pig and whore all over them a bond was made that seemed unbreakable and but for father’s day it may well have been.
Fast forward two years and the two men have returned to civilian life in America, Clinton, a talented artist and pun writer was struggling to make it in the world with his unique blend of talents and had fallen on hard times in Trenton New Jersey. Hallmark had been injured in a minor skirmish on the outskirts of Seoul just prior to the cessation of hostilities, again involving a street lady, so was content to live of his families wealth whilst spending his days making up a form of poetic ditty that was later to become his calling card. Interestingly he also came across a system of précising books that was soon to become known as blurb, but that’s another story. The two men kept in touch via telegrams and letters, Clinton in the hard knock world of industrial New Jersey Hallmark on the upper east side of Manhattan both seemingly conjoined by merely their war time experiences.
Things would have stayed that way had Clinton not popped into the city on the off chance of some work and while taking the chance to see his good buddy they accidentally discovered their shared interest in short punchy verse writing. The greetings card was born. Hallmark, with his capital backing set up small store across the eastern seaboard selling the short poems or puns often printed with a picture designed by Clinton on sheets of card. The world seemed disinterested at first and it was a chance incident where a child folded the A4 sheet of card in half to post it that the card as we know it took off and the two men never looked back. The only issue the two men found at this time was what the cards could be used for. At first they were simply cute pictures with a poem and although popular they seemed almost pointless, why would any send one to anyone else unless the poem or picture were especially relevant?
Clinton at this time was had the misfortune to lose his third cousin twice removed to a car accident, the unfortunate young man had been a pioneer of car theft and whilst trying to hot wire a delivery truck had been electrocuted, his family went on to successfully sue the Mack Truck company but that’s a different story entirely. Clinton found the funeral which was being held in Atlantic City wasn’t convenient for him to attend and not wanting to ignore the event he sent a card to his second cousin, the boy’s father offering his condolences. It had a picture of a lily on it and sad poetic message and the revelation the men had been waiting for happened. News of the comfort his family had felt at receiving the card flew like wildfire throughout the tri state area and soon the two men’s stores were being inundated with requests for cards for all kinds of occasions, not just deaths but Births and even adoptions too. The capacity to fulfil the orders themselves was soon overwhelmed and they started to recruit any talented short verse poet and pun writer along with artists and some of the new innovative photographers who were now using the old media to snap cute animals and flowers in bloom, it was a boom time for the two buddies.
Things went well for a while until rival companies started to undercut their cards and it seemed they had grown too fast, the staff who they had begun to see as family were in danger of being made redundant, there simply wasn’t the call for cards on the scale the business was set up to deliver, but then a further revelation occurred. The well-loved young African American artist Stevie Wonder brought out the song Happy Birthday in honour of a little known black folk hero or some other and Hallmark hit upon the idea of a card to commemorate the song. Clinton took this idea further and created cards that could be sent to commemorate anyone’s birthday, this may seem obvious today but back then it was as if a miracle had happened, the birthday card was born.
Soon after came the Hanukah and Bar mitzvah cards which proved extremely popular. It was a member of Hallmarks office staff who pointed out that gentiles were also willing to buy cards for special occasions and Christmas was later added, even to this day the official name for this line of products is Goy stuff. The whole business went global and both men found themselves under pressures from various parts of the organisation, each with its own agenda and this brought them into conflict on many occasion. No matter how angry they became with each other the two men would always end the day with a placatory phone call as their war time experiences were more important than the business even then and things carried on in this way for a while until the late sixties. Remember things were politically controversial back then and the cards being sent were pretty out there. Clinton favoured a line of cards to celebrate avoiding the draft and the end of segregation whilst the more right wing Hallmark was all about profits, looking to add new reasons to send cards that were merely commercial. Valentine’s Day was a clever one of his. The actual legend was entirely made up in 1967 in the Hamptons and a few well-placed bribes ensured the Catholic Church hushed up this fact, even to this day.
Clinton was growing increasingly frustrated by the profiteering that Hallmark was displaying and the fact it was his partner and war buddies name that appeared on all the cards and storefronts only served to underline the inequality of their venture, although he was sharing equally in the financial gains this wasn’t enough for the man with a social conscience, this was the late sixties and people were into that stuff on the left. It all came to a head when Hallmark initiated a new day in spring for Mothers. This seemed like sweet thing to do and even the profit weary Clinton could see the value of offering hard working housewives a special day, it might even let them have an afternoon out of the kitchen one Sunday a year he reasoned so where could the harm be? In a momentous board meeting that has been written out of history the real reasons behind the new occasion and the sheer commercialism of Hallmark came to light. The new day wasn’t universal, it would happen earlier in Europe than the States to coincide with the growing seasons for flowers. Hallmark had by now surreptitiously co-opted the floral industry into his realm of control and the sales of daffodils were the single presiding factor on choosing the dates. For Clinton who had romantically envisaged a small card and a breakfast in bed as being the reason for the day was livid. He called for a vote but the board were all hardnosed business men like Hallmark and could see the benefits for themselves and went against the gentle artist and poet.
In the short interval in the meeting when coffee was taken Clinton planned a counter attack. A Day for Fathers, it was a bastardisation of Fatherland Day which had been rejected as too Aryan by Hallmarks cronies. It would be later in the year when barbecues could be planned and cards would be all that was needed, after all Dads had no want or need for flowers of any kind. In his head all dads would want would be a family occasion where they sat around the garden eating grilled meat they had prepared, thereby giving mum the rest he had imagined for Mother’s day too. The idea was met with utter outrage by the rest of the board and Hallmark in his fury called for a vote to remove Clinton entirely and veto the spurious plan altogether. The vote was almost unanimous and the two men have never spoken to this day.
Clinton used his money to set up his own greeting cards empire and instigated Father’s day that very year. Sadly Hallmark seeing the profits of those first few years began a counter campaign to usurp the whole thing and was soon not only selling cards but also adding extras for the kids to buy. He arranged with Wal-Mart for new gifts to be made available that would appear dad friendly , all of which he produced in his sweat shops that he had opened abroad, without Clintons mediating influence the company had turned into a slick well-oiled profit making machine with margins being increased through the use of low paid over worked foreign labour. Clinton carried on making his socially aware cards and things moved forward well for him, the only hiccup was when his son in law, Martin Cardfactory started a rival company using the same cut price labour as Hallmark but instead of making huge profit he passed the saving onto the customers, which Clinton could appreciate even it affected his business. It remains to be seen if his other ventures, that of funding his other daughters husband Malcom Poundland will pay off.
So there you have it Fathers day was born out of the need for social change and in the cauldron of disagreement between friends forged in the blood of battle and dead whores. Two men with differing ideas and a talent for puns and verse with an eye for cute images. They were on the cutting edge of modernity, taking parochial holidays and turning them into what they are today, Christmas, Birthdays and even death are now made better with the fruits of their labour but most of all Fathers day, the totally non commercial occasion it is today.


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