Tuesday, May 15, 2007

The Darling Buds Of May, or: My Niece Vs. The Department Of Education

Hear them hollerin’, hear them hollerin’, at the baby show
Lots of chubby ones, lots of grubby ones, laid out in a row

- The Baby Show, as sung by George Formby

The coming of Spring, of course, does not merely mean more empties in the next door neighbor’s trash, nor the first letters to the township concerning our overgrowth.

For most of us, it encourages annual musings about the cycle of Life, our brief and flickering mortality, and the power of Eros (which backwards, not coincidentally, is “sore”).

For The Powers That Be, who live in fear of the hormonal rampage of teenagers, it’s also the starter’s pistol for much harrumphing about abstinence and dancing two feet apart, lest Satan inspire the Tango That Wears No Clothes.

And it was in this context that the wife received the first in a recent flurry of messages from our oldest niece:

i hate this baby! the IM read.

it’s always crying! i want to throw it out the freakin’ window!

This was just after she’d informed us that she was now a mommy.

Not wishing to have us expire from heart attacks too prematurely, she then explained how the school had sent everyone home for the weekend with these high-tech baby dolls.

The idea was that they had to take proper care of them or the child would cry, or its head would fall back if not held correctly, in which case they had to insert a key to fix it. All of this information would then be recorded within the baby-thing, ultimately resulting in a score at the end of the weekend.

It sounded an awful lot like those old Tamagotchi toys, the ones you had to electronically feed and play with from time-to-time in order to nurture it and keep it alive. I think mine lasted about two weeks before its little digital body sprouted heavenly wings on the screen.

In my niece’s case, they had given her a child with Asian features.

you know why they’re giving those to you, don’t you? the wife IM’d her. the idea is to scare all of you into not having sex and getting pregnant.

i know, she said.

have you learned anything yet? the wife asked our harried niece.

yeah, she replied. i’m not having sex with an asian guy cause their heads are too sensitive!

Our niece has changed quite a bit since we knew her in the early days. For instance, she recently informed us that her favorite word is the f-word. I think it used to be “sheepy.”

this thing won’t stop crying! she complained. Variations on this message appeared on our screen throughout the weekend until she finally figured out a way to rig the colicky creature with a rope so that its head would stay in a stationary position.

If the other kids figured this out, as I imagined they did, it surely meant there were hard times ahead for the next generation, whose parents had been taught by the school system how to lasso and hogtie them.

so what are you going to tell your teacher on Monday? we asked now that the worst was over.

i’m going to tell her that I liked being a mommy so much, i’m going to get pregnant and have a lot of kids right away!

She’s a chip off the old block, that one.


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