Sunday, March 22, 2009

The thundering approach of little feet

The most common, and most useless, advice an expectant couple receives is: “Have all your fun now, while you still can.”

My wife Kara and I both appreciate the sentiment, but its ominous undertones make us a little uneasy. It sounds an awful lot like the advice you’d give to some peaceful villagers moments before the thundering hooves of a Mongol horde become audible.

The theory behind this advice seems to be that Kara and I need to become fun camels, storing as much fun as we can now so that we’ll be able to cross the arid, joyless desert of parenthood on the fun reserves we built up during the period of our lives when we could still go to movies that featured cars launching off of toll booth dividers and crashing into the bad guys’ helicopters.

Unfortunately, our capacity for having fun has already been somewhat diminished by Kara’s pregnancy, so I don’t know how we’re going to get our hands on enough fun to stash our leftovers for later. Kara can’t drink wine or ride roller coasters, and while I’m technically still allowed to do both, neither are activities I’d be proud to do by myself.

Kara keeps herself entertained these days by rubbing her tummy and saying, “Dude, why can’t our baby find somewhere to sit besides my bladder?” Perhaps it would be more fun if she added patting her head to the mix, but this seems like a weak gruel upon which to base our future fun sustenance.

Luckily, there is one bright spot: the video game Resident Evil 5 has already come out, in plenty of time for me to conquer it before our baby arrives in August. As a potentially good father, I was worried that there would be a conflict in the release dates.

Over dinner with friends recently, when asked if we were anxious about impending parenthood, I replied, “I’m just concerned that Resident Evil 5 isn’t going to come out before our baby does.”

I looked up from my plate after noticing that the clinking of silverware around me had stopped, except for Kara’s. Even the other video game geeks at the table were staring at me in disbelief. Obviously, these people had never played Resident Evil 4.

As a rule, non-hobbit movie sequels get worse with each increment, while video games get better. (As a corollary to the rule, nothing good ever comes out of movies based on video games or video games based on movies.) Resident Evil 4 was such a great game that its players, drooling on their couches and muttering incomprehensibly to themselves, became indistinguishable from the zombies they were decapitating. Resident Evil 5 is likely to render responsible parenting impossible. Fortunately, the timing will work out such that the drool on our couch will have long been dry before our baby starts adding its own.

After watching several of our friends make the transition to parenthood, it seems they haven’t actually stopped having fun, it’s just that the definition of fun has changed.

“Check out this trick,” my buddy Josh said to us on a recent visit, propping his son Isaac into a sitting position on the kitchen counter. He took his hands away slowly and Isaac, tottering slightly, remained upright.

“Taaa-daaa! Isn’t that awesome?” Josh asked. “He can sit all by himself!”

Isaac was actually sitting better than his old man was doing about a decade earlier, when I came home from a late night of studying to find Josh slumped over on the couch beside several empty beer cans, watching episodes of the children’s show “3-2-1 Contact” from the 80s on cable.

“This show is great. Did you know it had Morgan Freeman in it?” he asked, like that somehow made the show more intelligent, as if I’d stumbled in on him watching Masterpiece Theater.

You can change Mike Todd’s bib at


  1. It was The Electric Company that had Morgan Freeman in it. 3-2-1 Contact had the 5 minute mini-show in the middle of it call "The Bloodhound Gang"....which the band got their name from.

    I heard they're bringing back the Electric Company but instead of Morgan Freeman, they're asking Tracy Morgan. Should be good

  2. Josh, I thought you said that Morgan Freeman was on Sesame Street Unpaved?

  3. appears there is no such thing as Sesame Street Unpaved according to imdb. I don't know what I'm remembering.

  4. Perlson -- For real? Dang, I looked up the title of 3-2-1 Contact and everything. I had it as 1-2-3 Contact in the first draft. Wanna get some forties of St. Ides for the premier of the Tract Morgan one?

    Derek -- Sesame Street Unpaved? Is that like Nirvana Unplugged? Sounds cool, though, even if it didn't exist. Regardless, I think Big Bird was better before all the heroine.

  5. Derek, you're remembering correctly. Noggin, the kids channel that I used to watch while intoxicated beyond belief, used to call it Sesame Street Unpaved. I think by "Unpaved" they meant marathon because it was always a bunch of episodes back to back.