Did I Ever Tell You About When I Couldn’t Stop Buying My Dad Dilbert Merchandise?

I couldn’t have been more than eight when it started.

Christmas would roll around, or maybe my dad’s birthday, and each time this happened, my younger sister and I would would have a crisis. What were we supposed to get him? How could we show that we loved him? The answer was Dilbert merchandise.

Some backstory: When you’re a kid, any office is a mystery. What goes on there? Adult stuff. What do you all day? Work. Also you get to drink sodas from a fridge in a break room. There’s usually an entire cake that no one is eating.

My trips to my dad’s office were always weird. I’d get to drink Pepsi, and my dad’s co-worker would make me watch Ghost. Why did they have a copy of Ghost? Why did everyone want so badly for me to watch Ghost? Why did this happen more than once? Was this movie even appropriate for me?

Some plus sides to watching Ghost among strangers in an office:

I learned about pottery at a young age.

Also ghosts.

I learned about ghosts and pottery and Solitaire at my dad’s office.

So one day my dad was sitting at the breakfast table laughing at a Dilbert strip. My sister and I read it and it barely makes sense to us, but we got the idea: Dilbert works in an office and it is ridiculous there. That’s why his tie is like that. Dilbert was funny to our dad because he worked in an office too.

For years we got him Dilbert memorabilia for Christmas and his birthday. Dilbert calendars. Dilbert books. Dilbert mugs. Dilbert plush toys. Dilbert print ties.

After a couple years of this, he looked at us — for some reason I remember him lying down in a sickbed, which is not correct at all — and said, “How did this happen?” We looked back at him silently. “I don’t really like Dilbert all that much. Thank you for the Dilbert presents. Please stop buying me Dilbert presents.”

I’m honestly not sure when we stopped, but it wasn’t then.

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