Sunday, July 15, 2012

See no baby, remember no baby

“How would you like to drive three hours to hold a dead possum that’s been rolled in broken glass?” I ask my out-of-town buddies whenever we catch up on the phone.

Actually, I invite them to stop by to meet my three-month-old son, but their collective responses would work for the possum question, too.

Their lack of enthusiasm for visiting the eardrum-stress-testing facility that is our house stands in stark contrast to my wife’s friends, who have given more bottles to our two children than we have, allowing my wife and I some glorious free moments to collapse on the nearest patch of open carpet.

A few weeks ago, my wife’s pregnant friend, Curry, and her husband, Bob, came to visit during the height of our son Zack’s dalliances with acid reflux, a period we refer to as the Dark and Screamy Times.  If you’re not familiar with acid reflux, it’s a medical condition that causes a baby’s esophagus to turn into one of those horns from the Ricola commercials, blasting a high-decibel wall of sound from here to the nearest alpine meadow.  Fortunately, this only happens when he’s feeding, which is always.

“Here, I’ll take him back.  Nobody deserves this,” I said to Curry as she paced around our living room with Zack, the Human Alpenhorn.

“I can’t be scared of a crying baby.  I’m going to have my own soon,” she said.  In a few minutes, Zack stopped crying.

Curry still had four months until her due date, which should give her ears time to stop ringing.

So I understand that visiting us isn’t the most relaxing way to spend a weekend, especially for my guy friends who would probably only pick up a baby if it was sitting on a six-pack.  Still, when I called my buddy Johnny to let him know that we’d be visiting my parents for a few days, just a short drive from his place, I didn’t expect the conversation to reveal just how deep the rabbit hole went.

“Okay, maybe I’ll drop by and meet your new kid,” Johnny said.

Something in the way he said “your new kid” reeked of evasion.

“Hey, quick question for you.  What’s my son’s name?” I asked.

A pause on the other end of the line.

“Come on, man.  You don’t ask your friend a question like that,” Johnny replied.

“Dude,” I said.

“Okay, fine.  I don’t know it.  Cut me some slack.  Once your friends start having multiple kids, everything becomes a blur,” he said.

The next day, I called our buddy Rob.

“Can you believe Johnny didn’t know my son’s name?  We’ve been friends since the first grade,” I said.

“That’s crazy.  I can’t believe he didn’t know the little guy’s name,” Rob replied.

“Dude, not you, too,” I said.

“I know it!  Seriously.  I just can’t think of it right now,” Rob replied.

These guys are not Facebook friends.  They are actual friends.  We’ve been groomsmen for each other.  I have pictures of these people hanging in our house.  We even talk on the phone at least once a month, like people used to do in the previous millennium.

“You guys were great as high school friends, but as adult friends, you’re not really cutting it,” I said.

“Agreed,” Rob replied.

“It’s Zack,” I said.

“I knew that!” he said.

I can’t complain too much, though.  Childless people have a lot on their minds without devoting precious mental capacity to the names of their friends’ children.  Deciding which movies to see, which countries to visit, how late to sleep in on weekends, which non-plastic-lids-on-the-cups restaurants to patronize, etc.

You can forget all about Mike Todd at

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