About a month ago, my buddy Josh dropped the little pink and blue bombshell that he and his wife Jaime were going to start trying to have a baby around the end of this year.
“On purpose?” I asked, amazed. Several of my friends have already had babies, but Josh and Jaime would be the first to do it intentionally. Seems like everyone else just catches baby, like the flu.
“Yes, on purpose. We’ve been talking about it a lot lately. We’re not quite ready yet, but we’ll be ready by the end of the year,” he said.
“But I’m not ready yet. Can’t you wait a couple years, like us? Otherwise, your kid’s gonna be all old and beating up on our kid,” I said.
“I don’t know, man. We’re not getting any younger,” Josh replied. “Why don’t you guys just go ahead and have one, too?”
My wife Kara and I have already devoted much time to considering the merits of expanding our little family, but she can’t keep a houseplant alive, and I can’t keep my toenails to a reasonable length. I think we still need a little time.
Josh rebuffed my further attempts at peer-pressuring him into changing his reproductive itinerary to better fit my schedule. He actually sounded pretty serious about the whole thing.
Then a couple of weeks ago, I brought the topic up again, expecting him to talk about baby names and the paint swatches they’d selected for their nursery.
Josh said, “Oh, yeah. Now we’re thinking of getting a pug instead.”
His parents will be so proud. I know my parents never get tired of doting on their grandferret. Between my ferret and my sister’s two cats, my parents get to have all the fun of occasional pet ownership, without all the noise and mess of grandchildren. It works out perfectly for everyone.
Back in the day, my parents used to raise pets of their own, always picking up after them and trying to teach them right from wrong. Our old cat, whose proper name was Taffy, but whom we affectionately referred to as “The Cat,” late in life decided that her delicate sensibilities required a more refined commode than the litter box in the laundry room. Her discriminating tastes, much to my parents’ dismay, were more attuned to the fuzzy white carpet directly behind the living room couch.
After every attempt at non-corporal discipline failed, and with the condition of the carpet deteriorating rapidly, my parents decided to try the same technique that I use to train my slices of pizza to be especially tasty: sprinkling red pepper flakes all over the place. The theory behind the peppering was that any sniffing going on behind the couch would result in sneezing rather than bladder emptying.
Mom bought an economy-sized bucket of pepper flakes and dumped its contents all over the newspaper that was spread out behind the couch. From that day forward, whenever my friends came over, they’d run over to investigate the odd sounds coming from behind the couch, and there would be The Cat, just peeing and sneezing, and probably reading Garfield.
My buddy Josh probably has the right idea, though. Pet ownership has to be pretty decent practice for having children. Having a ferret has taught me so many important lessons about personal responsibility. For instance, if you put a glass of water on the coffee table and the ferret knocks it over, soaking your mail and your eight remote controls, that’s his fault. But if you leave a glass of water on the coffee table a second time and he knocks it over again, whose fault is it then? Wrong! It’s his again, that jerk.
You can swat Mike Todd with a rolled-up newspaper online at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Note: Joe Brown was actually the first friend of mine to have a baby on purpose. And he just had a second one, too. Joe Brown, you are the most hard core person I know.