March 16th, 2006: It was a busy week, as you will soon see. And I’m sure it did my long-suffering Nigh Perfect wife the world of good to learn that while she labored through the miracle of childbirth, I saw this as a great opportunity to make fun of the whole thing.
Well, for a couple of reasons my life this week has been like a scene from The Exorcist because (1) My head is spinning (2) Nigh Perfect has been yelling at me in strange tongues and (3) We have witnessed lots of bodily fluids being jetted across the room in projectile fashion.
Yes… Torak the Slayer is here!
Last Thursday was quite a whirlwind, let me tell you: it had started off well, as I was finishing up a round of golf with my two good mates Dan and Jeff. I noticed that Nigh Perfect had called roughly forty three times. This is not unusual for her… in fact it’s the exact reason I always leave my bloody phone off in the first place. I can’t tell you how often I have been in the middle of a downswing just at the moment she calls to tell me about the dysfunctional wankers appearing on today’s Doctor Phil Show. One time, I swear, she called to apologize for interrupting me… and then simply put the phone down! I couldn’t work out whether to be annoyed or grateful--I mean, she did apologize.
Now the dilemma of every golfer is to get a serious phone call on the seventeenth hole. Let’s say Auntie Mabel is suddenly stricken with Yellow Fever: do you go home immediately, or do you finish out the last hole? I mean it’s not like you have the cure, am I right, chaps? Thankfully, I had just putted out on the eighteenth, so I didn't have to make that choice.
Nigh Perfect seemed agitated: she wasn’t sure but she thought her water had broken. I won’t give you the gory details but I will say that I attribute her uncertainty to temporary insanity: by the sound of it, this was a bodily function you couldn’t possibly mistake for something else, unless you had installed a fire hydrant in your private area. It would be like a citizen of Pompeii watching a lake of lava headed for their front door and wondering if Vesuvius was acting up again.
To catch her off guard, I pretended to be annoyed.
“You’re so bloody selfish sometimes, Nigh Perfect. Jeez!”
“Why? What’s wrong?”
“You didn’t even ask me what I scored.”
For some reason, this joke did not go over so well. I decided she was probably being serious. I was an hour away from the house, assuming I pressed the speed limit a little bit through ridiculous Atlanta traffic.
I pressed the speed limit a lot. Twenty minutes later I was home, although one of my tire rims was still rolling down the median on GA Route 400.
Nigh Perfect seemed to be enjoying herself when I got there. She was simply pottering about, putting things into bags and generally acting as if we were about to undertake a weekend trip to the Biltmore Estate. I knew better--this was a diabolical bid to score Cool Points. I pretended to be more indifferent than her, and we spent the better part of twenty minutes playing this game. Eventually, I had to concede she was too far ahead in the Bonus Style Section of the game and we made our way to the hospital.
The staff at Northside were all really nice. I must give an official shout out to the various nurses and doctors on duty that night: “Yo! Whassup, dawgs?” (I learned that from listening to Sports Radio.) Special thanks go to our Midwife, Renee, and a lovely lady in charge of follow up named Sandy. Sandy, as it turned out, was a big fan of weird stuff like Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and she is a frequent visitor to the Atlanta Dragoncon. When I informed her that my mate, Rob, did the creature design for Buffy’s last season, that he was friends with Sarah Gellar, and that I was once a Guest of Honor (with Alice Cooper!) at that con, she did back flips and gave us free stuff.
Nigh Perfect slept for the entire first night. I tossed and turned on a window seat in her room. Within about twelve to twenty hours we were going to be parents. I ran through my mental checklist of Things To Do when Torak the Slayer was born:
- Buy him a catapult.
- Teach him to horrify his grandmother.
- Impress people with my parenting skill.
- Track down Paula Scrivens and ask to see her knickers.
At 7 AM, my wife was given something to induce labor, since my efforts had failed miserably. I had tried scaring her, like you would with someone who has hiccups. I had tried hypnosis by dangling a catheter in front of her eyes and saying in a spooky voice, “You are feeling sleepy… you are going into labor.” I cannot imagine why this did not work; Nigh Perfect didn't really seem sleepy at all. The nurse eventually kicked me out of the room when she caught me trying to persuade my wife to drink a glass of water upside-down.
My In-Laws arrived, looking harried. To relieve the tension somewhat I asked Nigh Perfect’s mom, Pam, if she could somehow get a message through to Benny the Postman that the big day was at hand. She didn't see the humor in that. I was striking out badly with my jokes. I decided to be serious and do some coaching. Within five minutes I had hyperventilated and had to breathe into a paper bag.
After much huffing and puffing, our little son was delivered at precisely 1.34 PM on Thursday, April 9th. Nigh Perfect finished the entire session looking as though she had just done a spot of gardening. Her hair was a little disheveled but hey… Christy Brinkley probably looked about the same when she squeezed out Billy Joel’s kid. My wife had managed to deliver in exactly half an hour, which compares to Alexander the Great conquering Belgium in, like, six days. She was annoyed that I couldn't find her makeup bag for the upcoming “Miracle of Birth” pictures.
Meanwhile, the doctors and nurses fussed over Torak, alternately poking and prodding him, then asking him difficult math questions to see if he was alert.
Renee the Midwife asked me if I was interested in looking at the placenta. I looked at the placenta. I couldn't tell if it was a good one or not but I pretended that I was knowledgeable by scratching my chin and trying to nod at the right moments. I told her that in my opinion, that was one excellent placenta. I had read the situation right: she agreed. Score five Midwife Points for me!
They brought Torak over to see his Mom and Probable Dad (still hadn't reached Benny). Torak was a little dude, and he was blue. I had wanted him to be really messed up so that I could shock people with his hideous ugliness. Alas, he was beautiful. No cone head or squished ears, much to my disappointment.
Nigh Perfect then informed me that of course, we would have to write down his real name on the birth certificate. I had known this was coming for a while.
Now at this point, I am sure you are all wondering about the answer to the Big Question.
Well, the answer is that I shot a 75 with five bogies and two birdies, and I won three dollars off of Dan and Jeff.
As for my son, well… let’s just say that “Torak the Slayer” was not the only rejected name. Other perfectly good names that went by the wayside:
- Gondor the Destroyer
This one was too Wizardy.
Came pretty close but I blew it by explaining the social significance of the great Leeroy Jenkins.
My reasoning being that he would seem wise beyond his years, like some old guy who tells you interesting stories about life before automobiles.
Because he was covered in a milky white substance called Vernix.
This was me going for the corporate sponsor angle, like naming a stadium, or something. I thought maybe we could get a free flat screen TV.
But as I said, I was outvoted. It still seems a little unfair to me that Nigh Perfect gets two votes on everything to my one but hey… them’s the rules, I guess. It is my very great pleasure to introduce you, then, to my son:
Jack Richard Marveldotcom Jenkins.
Isn’t he a beaut?
Baby Jack was a month premature, so he has a little jaundice. This condition is caused by an excess of a substance called bilirubin in the bloodstream: it happens a lot with preemie babies (Jack came out half-baked, like his Dad).
Now my wife, bless her heart, has a tendency to do very some goofy things. I am going to write a column one day that lists the various moments of madness that have littered her career as a wife, and I have no doubt that I am going to be sleeping on the sofa for a month after that one. But this particular goof must be shared immediately.
Apparently, Nigh Perfect was under the impression that Jack is suffering from a disease that once killed a little boy named Billy Rueben. After poor little Billy’s untimely demise, the world reeled, aghast. A team of doctors set out to rid the world of this terrible affliction so that the world would never forget the sacrifice of that One Special Little Boy. A disease named Billy Rueben Syndrome was introduced and placed firmly next to Lou Gehrig’s Disease in our medical dictionaries. And that is the story she’s sticking to, so there!
Anyway, Jack gets to sunbathe on a special bed called a Bili Light that draws the substance from his blood and places it firmly where it belongs, in his poop. I have been supplying him with tanning oil and daiquiris.
Final Random Thought
When I was a little kid I wanted to be a Hedgehog Doctor. I have now discovered a profession that puts even that noble endeavor to shame.
One of these days I am going back to college so that I can become a Lactation Consultant.
Yes, boys… that is not a misprint.