The Man Who Was Afraid of Babies

26 02 2008

I’ve always been terrified of babies, I think. It’s not that I think that they could do me severe bodily harm, or anything; rather, I’m afraid of mishandling or, God forbid, dropping them. I’m not a habitually clumsy person. I like to think of myself as fairly sure of both hand and foot, but therein is the source of my fear. I’m afraid that the one shining moment of extravagant clumsiness in my life will come at a time when I’m holding someone’s infant child in my arms. Trip, stumble, stumble, “Oh, Jesus Christ!”, splat. Just like that, and I’ll be forever known as “that guy who dropped the baby down the stairs”. 

 

Oddly, I was never afraid of that happening with my brother or sister. Indeed, I would give my brother rides in my Tonka dumptruck up and down our double-landing staircase. Sure, there were some bumps and spills along the way—it is incredibly difficult to navigate a set of stairs with a screaming toddler in the bed of a Tonka dumptruck—but he’s none the worse for wear. Well, that is to say that he’s not noticeably retarded now. I also carried my sister here and there, nonchalantly, by the head. I know that sounds horrible, but really, if God didn’t want babies to be carried around by the head, he wouldn’t have made them so conveniently shaped. She, too, is a well-adjusted member of society. For the most part.

 

The physical and biological make-up of infants leads me to believe that some higher power knew that they were going to have to go through some heavy shit before they left infancy. Babies are naturally slippery—I guess it’s to protect them from bears—and I have a tendency to sort of drift off while doing important things. Those two factors lead me to believe that it is a very bad idea for me to hold babies.

 

My paranoid imagination, such as it is, shows me all sorts of horrible possibilities about the subject of dropping babies, and the worst by far is the sound I believe it will make. If you’ve ever dropped an unopened glass jar of mayonnaise on a thin rug over a concrete floor, you know exactly the horror that is that sound. It’s not very loud, not really glassy sounding, and certainly not pleasant. It’s a thick, liquid noise that automatically makes you cringe when you hear it. Maybe it triggers something in our brains that makes us automatically think of dropping babies. Then again, maybe I’m just irrationally afraid of doing so. Either way, it’s disgusting and horrible. I don’t recommend it.

 

I’ve never actually dropped a baby, let me make that much clear. I’ve almost dropped a baby twice. Yes, that sentence should be understood literally, as it was in fact the same baby. The first time was my fault, I turned too quickly and the slippery little creature almost took a tumble. The second time was the mother’s fault, since she surprised me by trying to snatch it* away without my knowledge. My first instinct was to wrap my arms up tightly around it, and hers was to be a complete fucktard and yank on its leg. The resulting catastrophe was blamed on me, but I had several witnesses who backed me up.

 

*I never could figure out what sex it was—it was named Jody and wore both blue and pink. I thought it rude to ask.

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