Thursday, October 06, 2005

An Heir to My Vast Misfortune

I've been a neglectful blogger for the past two weeks, for reasons I'll clarify in a moment. Meantime, I'll offer a programming note and mention that a recent epidemic of comment-spamming has led me down the royal road to Haloscan, so for all you people who have deposited thoughtful, paragraph-long observations over the past six months of this blog's pathetic existence, your thought crimes have been officially purged from the historical record, instantaneously diminishing the quality of this blog by 75%. I'm so terribly sorry. In the very least, though, by liquidating the offending spam forever, I've deprived these guys of potentially lucrative internet foot traffic they might otherwise have received. Oh, wait. Never mind.

1246-heirIn any case, the joyous news around these parts — and the major reason I've not posted anything for a while — is that the wife and I are going to be contributing another ravenous American mouth to a world already splintering beneath the weight of our irresponsible, epic, anti-social devotion to the most brainless varieties of consumption. At long last, after 35 years of relentless, abject failure, I can anticipate a better life, experienced vicariously through someone who shares only half of my bogus DNA. (I doubt the birth announcement will be phrased quite so ineloquently.)

The baby isn't due until April, but my duties as Head Foot Rubber and Saltine Fetcher have escalated sharply over the past month, interfering with my usual selfish responsibilities as Head Loafter, Idle Crank and Yankee-Hater. Although the first trimester nausea has subsided considerably, my wife has developed a series of food aversions that can only be described as pre-modern. Not only can we not eat certain foods, but there are certain foods that cannot be mentioned aloud because the distance between word and thing, signifier and signified, has evidently collapsed into a swirl of confusion. To speak the words "cucumber," for example, or "bell pepper," instantateously reduces my wife to helpless gagging and furious hand-waving, as if a piñata stuffed with the offending vegetables has suddenly exploded above her head. Although I am not used to wielding such power in this marriage, this is not, I should point out, a privilege I intend to abuse.

So far, we know very little about the little beast. Like John Roberts, it has failed to submit acceptable answers to our most probing questions. On Monday, though, the doctor was able to detect the kid's heartbeat for the first time, which — and there's really no other way to describe this — was just really fucking cool. At 170 beats per minute, the fetal heart is a frenzied tube of meat, offering its owner a perpetual, meth-like euphoria that probably goes a long way toward soothing its uterine boredom. By the end of this month, we are told, our orange-sized progeny will be able to do somersaults in the womb and will be capable of hearing the trashcan of foul language flowing from my mouth as I grade yet another mound of illiterate student essays. All this, I repeat, is really fucking cool.

But it also means that big changes are afoot. Soon, I will no longer be able to belch obscenities, or lounge about the house in a drunken stupor, or weaken the morale of my child by questioning the prevailing social order and its corporate-military dominance. So over the next seven months, as the fetus slouches toward Bethlehem, I will be slowly cultivating an attitude of devout smugness as I join the raft of conservative, pro-natal, Dobsonesque organizations who promote the family values that a soon-to-be father such as myself must cherish. I'm going to crouch at the feet of the Christian Right and learn what it means to be the Lord of my household, the exemplar of righteous morality for the next generation.