My daughter skipped into the room beaming, obviously greatly pleased with herself. (This is never a good sign.) She waited impatiently for me to notice her and finally, in exasperation, cleared her throat with an
"Ahem? Is there someone there?"
"Oh, Dad, you are both funny and smart."
(OK, I made that part up but it could have happened. Really.)
Anyway, back to the story...
"I got you a cool Father's Day present. You're really going to like it. Wanna guess what it is?"
"A date with Paris Hilton."
"Dad, be serious, you are not Paris Hilton's type. She likes RICH old guys."
"A tie. Like the past 18 Father's Day."
"Not this year, Dad-0!" Claire was quite pleased with herself. "One word: NetFlix."
NetFlix. Hmmm, I had heard of the rent-a-movie service but since I don't watch TV, much less movies at home, and I can't imagine spending time watching a movie on an iPod, something like NetFlix was way low on my tech radar screen.
I decided to be Fatherly. "Oh, that's grand. You know, I had been thinking about NetFlix (for about a nanosecond) but you know me, slow to change."
Claire was unperturbed. "They're running a special so I signed you up and ordered some movies for you. You're really going to like them. They're a nature series on the migration of the snail darter, some kind of fish, whatever. Anyway, you'll be getting the entire 23 disc set of snail darter migration CD's."
I feigned appreciation wondering if I could make it through Disc 1 of a snail darter migration before I gouged out my eyeballs with a spoon. I smiled and replied, "How thoughtful. I. Can't. Wait."
Expecting the daughter to smile and leave, she stood there. I could feel the presence of the other shoe about to drop.
"And...?" I offered, hopefully.
"And...well, uh, I had to give them a credit card number to sign up for the free special."
"And...well, uh, since if you like NetFlix you'll want to keep paying the low monthly fee of *cough*something*cough* I, uh, sort of, uh, put it on, uh, your, uh, card."
"So, you put a free special on my card and I can cancel it if, heaven forbid, I grow weary, ever so weary, of snail darter antics?"
Daughter paused in thought, then spoke.
"Well, 'free' is such a subjective term. Maybe 'discounted' would be a better description."
In my best Father Knows Best I summarized the situation.
"You got me a subscription to a service I'm not likely to use, rather than a date with Paris Hilton during which I might have a chance to check out her iPhone, and you used my credit card to pay for it and for the next year or so I'll be getting fish spawning films."
Claire smiled and said, "I knew you'd like it. Happy Father's Day!" She gave me a kiss on the cheek and skipped out of the room.
As I opened up my laptop to look up recipes for snail darter I mused to myself, "Well, at least it wasn't a tie."