Issue #181 – “Babies” – January 24th, 2011

-My agenda is typically the same every time I head home to New York for the weekend to visit: see my parents, try to hang out with as many friends as possible, and get obnoxiously drunk. My most recent trip, however, was quite unusual. I still saw a lot of buddies, but most of the visits were during the day and, regrettably, sober. That’s because I was fulfilling an obligation that all thirtysomethings inevitably encounter: meeting my friends’ babies.

-My first stop was to see my childhood friend Danielle and her and her husband’s five-month-old son Henry. Henry is cute as shit and I wanted to just eat him up. Danielle was my first friend and grew up around the block from me – we actually met when we were Henry’s age. It’s hard to believe that thirty-one years have passed and now she has her own child. I hope Henry remains as close with his first friends as Danielle and I have. That way when he’s an adult, he too will have to visit them and feign interest while their fucking babies sit on a blanket staring into space and do nothing of interest but drool.

-My next stop was my fraternity brother Adam and his and his wife’s three-month-old daughter Ella. Never in a million years did I suspect that any of my frat buddies would have legitimate children. But they did, and Ella is a cute little munchkin I wanted to devour whole. Adam and his wife are both doctors, so they’re very clinical about the whole experience. They even showed me an extraordinarily graphic video of the birth. As fraternity pledges, Adam and I had to do some horrific shit. But nothing came close to having to watch a full-on crowning shot in slow motion.

-My third – and mercifully, final – stop, was my high school buddy Triplet #1 and his and his wife’s five-day-old daughter Emma. Trip 1’s wife, as you guys know, is also a triplet, so I think they were just relieved they didn’t have octuplets. Emma, whom I’ve officially nicknamed Triplet #1A, is a cute little lump I wanted to peel and eat like shrimp. During my visit, though, Trip 1 admitted to me he’s looking to leave Manhattan and move his family to a ritzy suburb on Long Island. “So basically 1A is gonna drive a BMW to high school and be a total bitch,” I joked. “Oh yeah,” Trip 1 admitted. “By that time her sunglasses will be as big as her entire head.”

-I learned a lot on my whirlwind tour of my friends’ babies. For instance, I had no idea that baby monitors have video now, let alone night vision. It’s like watching the kids version of Paranormal Activity. Also, babies are incredibly weird. Adam’s daughter will only fall asleep to the techno soundtrack we played in Acapulco on Spring Break. Her nursery is like a nightclub from 2001 – complete with incoherent people sucking on pacifiers.

-Unfortunately, this trend is not ebbing and I’m informed on a nearly weekly basis that one of my friends is pregnant. Another one of my doctor friends is currently in her first trimester. She recently begged me to suggest some YouTube clips for her to watch because she’s so bored from sitting around bloated all day. “Wow,” I joked, “you really are pathetic.” Her response? “Hey, at least I have a real job and can maintain a healthy relationship. You’re probably gonna die alone!” “Holy shit,” I replied. “Why are you being so mean?” “I’m sorry,” she said. “I’ve just been having terrible mood swings lately.” I let it slide. After all, I can handle a few more months of hormone-induced disparagement. As long as when the birth is all over she doesn’t show me the video.

-As always, here are some random things I’ve been ruminating about lately…

-I was having lunch with a friend recently when the hostess informed us that our waitress had just been fired – mid-meal no less. We never found out the reason but I knew something was up when she said she’d be back in a minute with water for the table…and we never saw her ever again.

-In commercials for services that can be accessed across multiple devices – like DirecTV or a home security system – at least show a modern cell phone capable of streaming video. No one is gonna believe they can check their baby monitor on a StarTAC.

-If you have a dog, you forfeit your right to ask me to take my shoes off when I enter your apartment. Your dog walks around outside and steps in who knows what, yet you let him on your bed. My Chuck Taylors are pristine compared to that filthy animal’s paws.

-Why is it illegal to drive while texting but seemingly perfectly legal to drive with a fucking dog on your lap? Also, have you ever glanced at the side view mirror of the car in front of you and seen a dog instead of a person? That’s gotta be the most terrifying and confusing three seconds of your life.

-There’s a certain poetry to maintaining a budget in Excel, entering the =SUM function at the bottom of the spreadsheet, and having no idea if the resulting figure will mean you can afford to go to Vegas for the weekend, or that you can’t even pay your rent.

-I always assumed the proliferation of cell phones would make every TV storyline prior to 1995 obsolete because now the characters can just call each other from anywhere. Instead, characters are getting into the exact same predicaments as before, but now it’s preceded by the obligatory “I don’t have any service” line.

-My friend just asked me if I watch “Behind” the Actors Studio. I haven’t, but God knows what goes on back there.

-I told my buddy Jeff I can’t figure out why I seem to be getting allergies lately. He said there are a couple of possible causes. “The weather for one,” he said. “And also age.” Age!? Fucking age? I’m thirty-one. Age can’t be responsible for anything yet…can it?

-And, finally, I’ve long maintained that, as a guy, once you get married, you can no longer truly be a good friend. Sure you can still keep in touch and join the boys for the occasional beer, but for all intents and purposes, you’re legally dead to your single buddies. Having a kid is just the final nail in the coffin. Some dudes are in denial about this, but many are simply resigned to their fate. A few days before his wife gave birth, I was hanging out with Triplet #1 and he was excitedly telling me and the guys his plans to get drunk that weekend. Someone interrupted, telling Trip 1 we’d never set foot in the shitty bar he’d carefully chosen. You should have seen the sad little look on his face. “But guys,” he pleaded, “this is my last night out…forever.” Fuck me.