CRIS COHEN is a staff humor columnist for Renaissance
Magazine. His work is also published weekly in three California newspapers and
four online humor magazines.
I'm worried that when my wife, Michele, and I eventually have a baby, we won't be honest enough to admit if it's ugly. This is a distinct possibility since a lot of newborn babies look like they've been run over by a produce truck. And who wouldn't after an experience like that? I know that people often refer to it as the miracle of birth, but the true miracle is that some kids come out looking okay.
They've really got to get some better PR for the whole experience. People always refer to it as the miracle of birth right before you see film footage of some woman who appears to be in the middle of an exorcism. Hey, if that's the miracle, then just give me a magic trick. Something with playing cards maybe. Let's tone things down a notch. Maybe we were a little greedy asking for a miracle. Maybe we should have just asked for a pleasant surprise, like finding five dollars in the wife's surgical gown. The point is that you don't see this kind of distorted advertising with any other emergency medical procedures.
"And here we have the miracle of the dislocated shoulder."
Birth is a traumatic experience and it is completely understandable that most newborn babies look like small alcoholics. The problem is that a lot of parents lose their ability to see this and immediately send out pictures of the kid to everyone they know. Thus all over the country there are people opening their mail and saying things like, "Honey, the Hendersons sent us pictures of their new OH MY GOD!"
First of all this is really hypocritical. Primarily because no one ever takes pictures of the mother right after it's all over. No one ever looks at the woman who has been screaming, sweating and yelling profanities at everyone in the room for the last 46 hours, and thinks, "Well this is Kodak moment." Mainly because most guys know that to do so is to put your life in danger.
"Say 'cheese,' Honey."
"I'm going to kill you."
"Close enough." Click.
So basically it comes down to the fact that newborn babies don't have the ability to threaten anyone. If the kid came out of the womb brandishing knives, you can bet the parents would think twice before snapping that Polaroid. Of course, it would also make the mother do some tough thinking about what she's been eating lately. "Maybe I should cut down on those iron supplements."
I'm not saying the baby won't improve. Many newborns grow up to be great-looking kids. I'm just saying that you might want to wait a few months before you introduce him to the world of photography. Or at least wait a while before you start showing people the results of your work behind the lens. There are other ways to go. Why not send friends and family an artist's rendering of your new kid? Get one of those people who covers court trials where no cameras are allowed, the kind where the TV stations just show colorful sketches of the proceedings and thus make the trial of a suspected mob boss look like a children's book. "Boy, Mother Goose has really gotten edgier with her new stories." Of course, you'd have to make sure the sketch artist didn't get lazy and start drawing from memory. "The Johnsons sent drawings of their new baby... and he looks a lot like John Gotti."
You could also hire one of the sketch artists who works for the police department.
"Is this your baby?"
"No, but that's the man who took my purse!"
Either option is a way of softening the baby's features. Because sending pictures can send some people into shock.
"It sounds like Ed is experiencing the miracle of the dislocated shoulder."
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