Let me help you get a head start on Father's Day shopping. For the dad who has everything, may I suggest Nothing? Whether it's a statement on consumer culture, some Brit's get-rich-quick scheme or a well-packaged joke, nothing says "I bought you an ironic gift" like Nothing.
My mind obviously wandered from Nothing to Pet Rocks. Our own Will Pearson gave us the backstory last December. But what's the guy who invented the Pet Rock been up to?
Gary Dahl was an ad-man before he made it fashionable to spend $3.95 for pebbles. The idea came to him over beers at the Grog and Sirloin in Los Gatos, California. According to Tom Owens, "He used his Pet Rock earnings to buy the Park Lounge which, at the time, was a great dive: Pool table, large aquarium and a padded, brass, studded front door with a glassed cutout of a martini glass in it. Gary held a drawing and gave the door away as a prize." Door prize. I get it.
Dahl has two more claims to fame. He wrote Advertising for Dummies, and he won the Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest in 2000, "a whimsical literary competition that challenges entrants to compose the opening sentence to the worst of all possible novels." Here's Dahl's award-winning line:
"The heather-encrusted Headlands, veiled in fog as thick as smoke in a crowded pub, hunched precariously over the moors, their rocky elbows slipping off land's end, their bulbous, craggy noses thrust into the thick foam of the North Sea like bearded old men falling asleep in their pints."
["Nothing" found at Gizmodo.]