Force Of Will

I will write something funny today.

will write something funny today.

will write something funny today.

Like I’ve said before, trying to be funny is a lot harder than it looks, especially when all you really want is to just curl back up and go to sleep. But I know that if I don’t try to do something to crack a grin, I’ll wind up being mopey for the rest of the week, and I’m going to need all of chuckle buffer available to me if I’m going to make it through this weekend. Note to self: Chuckle Buffer is a good name for something. Just days from now, we’re having a dual celebration in honor of my daughter’s birthday, and the impending arrival into this world of my granddaughter. Just think, I get to be a grandpa to a little princess! I’m not too worried about the birthday aspect, as the “Quarter Century” joke doesn’t ever seem to lose its luster, but the baby shower will involve lots of in-law relatives and work acquaintances of my wife. I always feel so out-of-place at these types of events, and I’m not just referring to the baby shower. Birthday parties, Easter egg hunts, Thanksgiving… Even when I go to parties with my friends, I’m usually that dude that hangs out on the patio and drinks his drink and smokes cigarettes all night, until it’s finally time to go. I used to get out of it by mixing poisons like a pro, but I don’t think my wife would be too happy if I tossed my cookies in someone else’s living room. To be fair, I don’t think she wants me tossing cookies in anybody’s living room, but at least at home we have the chance to clean it up before anyone else might see. And by “we”, I mean my wife, who seems unnaturally obsessed with not having vomit stains on furniture.

I mean, they all seem like nice enough people, but it can be a little overwhelming when everyone is speaking rapid-fire Spanish, and I have to pay attention to it all in case my name is called. I mean, it’s not like Spanish class, when I knew enough to goof around, and made it clear that I was only there for my own amusement. Here, I have to worry about all the things that everybody else does, when dealing when people not necessarily of their own choosing, but with the added strain of translating everything within my head all night. Normally, my answer to the anxiety brought on by these events is to down a steady stream of beer, but that just makes me slip into my Scottish brogue, and then my Spanish is all garbled. Okay, full disclosure: it’s not actually that bad. The beer is usually the Mexican equivalent of P.B.R., and I’m comfortable enough with my second tongue that even when I’m inebriated, I don’t do all that bad. It’s just that it’s hard enough to pull off “interested” in my native tongue. I’m bad enough with people whom I barely know, that to throw in a cultural divide and foreign language means I spend the evening in state of terror.

And baby showers are the worst (I say, having only attended the shower for my grandson). My wife and daughter know what’s going on, and have it under their control, and though I really don’t want to get involved, sometimes I think that it would beat the hell out of milling around for hours trying to look just busy enough that no one asks me to move furniture or put up decorations.

Pictured: Me not helping.
Pictured: Me not helping.

I don’t know if it’s a cultural thing, or a gender thing, or just something about myself, but I’m not really interested in a party for a fetus. Call me pragmatic or spoil sport, or what have you, but I think that it would make more sense to have the party after that child’s been born. That way, everyone knows the size of baby things which are needed and the new mother gets to show off her little bundle of adorable to anyone caught in the blast radius. In the moment that my son was born, he outgrew everything which he’d been given. I know that everyone believes that newborn clothes are unbearably precious, but not every baby is born that itty-bitty. And in this family, they tend towards the massive. I mean, my son was weighed in at just under twelve pounds, when all the goo’d been cleared, and as I recall, my grandson, though not nearly as gigantic, was still born above the average weight. I could be wrong, though. It was a long night, and I had to leave at one point to go and pick up pizza.

And now I’m trying to remember if we had a shower for the Minkey. I know that we had tons of stuff to give away when we brought him home from the hospital, but… I don’t know. That was almost eight years ago, and I can barely hold on to what’s gone on over the past five minutes. I guess I never really thought of baby showers as all that big of a deal. Maybe it’s just because I never got invited when I was man of fewer years, but these parties seem ridiculous at best, and at their worst, more closely resemble a Royal Rumble of passive aggressive sniping.

The humor of a baby bump without impending pelvic assault.
The humor of a baby bump without the impending pelvic assault.

Then there are the photographs. It’s been almost two and a half years since the last one of these which I attended, and it wasn’t until this month that I finally got around to posting the photos on my Flickr page. Not that I’m complaining, mind you. Despite all evidence to the contrary, I actually enjoy this job. It allows me roam about and look like I am working while not having to really talk to anybody I don’t want to. The only issue I’ve run into is when it comes time to open presents. I know that people put a lot of thought into what they purchased for the baby (or in the snarky gifts aimed directly at the expecting mom), but they make for lousy photographs. Out of maybe fifty shots, there might be one which I can use. Yet even knowing this, I still have my Nikon shooting rapid-fire, documenting everything just in case we want to see it later. Will I bring along my camera this time? Probably. I’m not the type to pass up the chance to avoid having to talk to people.

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