Charles Ray, Family Romance, 1992
It's a good thing you skipped town this weekend, because there was some king of arts thing downtown and I'm pretty sure we would have gotten in trouble because it was perfectly horrible: it was like those little kiosks that grow in the barren retail scrub land of the center of dying malls with various things in crystal that should not be in crystal and paintings that seem to have been inspired by the vivid Impressionist colors on Kleenex boxes.
The only cute part was the babies, and that's awkward, because one never knows how and when to make eye contact, talk to or pick up a baby. There is no casual form of baby address, no non-committal "Hey, how's it going?". No, once you have decided to engage a baby, you're committed, you're stuck and usually in a declining social situation where the baby has every advantage.
Worse still, once you've gone all out and decided to pick up a baby, there is still potential awkwardness, particularly if the mother will not let go. "Let go of the baby." you say, clearly and firmly, but they don't let go and instead you see this look in their eyes that you have arguably never seen in another human face before. "My baby!" they cry, or something like it (like that settles the matter) and soon you are in a sort of tug of war over the baby that really does no one credit. "Somebody help me please, he's trying to take my baby!" they yell, and soon there is a crowd of people, apparently not busy enough on their own buying crystal narwhales and unicorns -and who do you think they side with?
You try and reason with them: "I'll kill you -I'll kill all of you", you constructively offer "now give me that baby." I mean, you just want to hold the baby, like a human being and is that such a crime? The baby is cute, it has little winky eyes and tiny fingers and wispy hair and now, now they've all upset the baby, and the baby is crying and it is all their fault.
"Please," you appeal, "think of the baby" and at this point you brandish either a can of gasoline or a bomb or whatever it is you use to deal with irrational people who will not listen to reason. If you don't have a can of gasoline or a bomb, then you are clearly not thinking this whole thing through.
This is why, if you really like babies, you should always just snatch them up out of their cribs a night and immediately get airborne on some sort of broom.
Of course, if you ever see parts of this published somewhere, you might think: what a perfectly awful person. And that's not really fair. What I am is lazy. And I sent it to you first.
Hope you are feeling better, Julio
TURN #102: WEEK 88; WORDS: 101,237; NEXT BY 28 FEBRUARY 2007
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