I Have An Announcement To Make

This is going to come as a shock to friends and family alike, so please, take a seat. I have to tell you that Chrissy and I are, as of Friday, the proud parents of a child. One imaginary, completely made-up, sexless, physically unmanifested and nameless child.

As with most fake children, the conception, gestation and birth occurred within moments of one another. And it is all my fault (typical that I get the blame, huh, gents?).

If you would be so kind as to remain seated, I will explain myself (I apologise if this gets a bit graphic as I'm going to be honest about the details which may include cussing, just be grateful I did not video the birth, I certainly am).

A Typical Friday Morning

It all happened on Friday morning when I took my car for a scheduled service. The service greeter guy (official title, I believe) greeted me by name, having remembered me from my last service six months ago when he had kindly arranged for important work to be done under warranty1. He proceeded to fill out paperwork and inspect the car.

The car had not done many miles since the last service, so he wanted to double check if the tyres needed rotating (tire, as he said it, because he is American and therefore speaks in different spellings). From a quick check of the tread, he decided that only the right-side tyres needed rotating "to keep my kids safe". And this is where I made my first mistake. I started thinking.

He thinks we have kids. Shit. Do we? I don't know. Of course we don't, how don't you know? Oh fuck. What do I do? Correct him. Correct him! Shit, too late. We've moved on. Now it will just be weird. Nevermind.

So, I did not correct him. In my defense, it did feel a bit asinine to point that out. After all, he was really just saying he wanted people in my car to be safe and that is a nice thing, so I let the small inaccuracy of "kids" slip by, leaving Service Greeter Guy to continue in his belief that I had kids. Instead, I had the bright idea to change the subject.

ME: "I'm probably going to get a new car soon."

SGG: "Well, how many kids have you got?"

What?! Clearly Service Greeter Guy did not know the rules of changing the subject.

“At first sign of crisis, the ignorant don’t panic because they don’t know what’s going on, and then later they panic precisely because they don’t know what’s going on.

At this point my subconscious started to determine what my next move should be in this battle of wits. The sane part of me said I should come clean and tell him we did not have any kids, but that is too much like normal. I do not do normal very well.

Shit! He asked how many kids we have. Are we supposed to have kids? Is it wrong not to have any kids? Fuck. Fuck. FUCK! We have…er…shit. Don't hesitate. Now he looks puzzled, "Why doesn't he know how many kids he has?" Why are you not speaking?

ME: "It depends."

It depends?! Depends on what? How many I've kidnapped on a given day? What the fuck?

I had somehow determined that this hole was far from deep enough and started furiously digging. Service Greeter Guy looked confused and why would he not? I was confused and panicking.

SGG: "No, just you and your wife."

Fortunately for me, while I was panicking, Service Greeter Guy appeared to have been searching for a rational reason why the strange British man might say "It depends" to such a straightforward question. I can only assume he had decided that we ferry local kids around for some after school club or some equally normal activity where the number of kids in my car might vary. Of course, he was not going to get off so lightly. Tossing aside this opportunity to set everything straight, take the hit of embarrassment and move on, I kept digging.

ME: "One."

All of a sudden and there it was, our imaginary child, fresh from the womb of insanity, waiting to be saved by the tyre rotation that had conceived it.

Service Greeter Guy continued with his day, unaware that I had lied to him for no reason whatsoever other than the growing panic inside me, feeling like I might be judged for not having children. While he calmly tapped at keys and got me a ride to work, I calmly considered the impact of my new ward's inexistence.

One? We have one? FUCK! Now I have to have at least one kid for the rest of my days coming here to fix my car. Fuck. Will he remember? Yes, he'll remember! He remembered your fucking name when you drove in this morning from six months ago. Arse. Can I borrow a kid?

"Parenthood always comes as a shock. Postpartum blues? Postpartum panic is more like it. We set out to have a baby; what we get is a total takeover of our lives."3

If it were not for a chat with my wife later in the day, our happy news of  September 28th, 2012 may have been known only to me. However, it was her fake kid too, so I wanted to share with her the overwhelming burden of parenthood. Of course, she happily wanted me to share it with everyone, which is why I have written it down here for all to revel in my weirdity.

If you want to send birthday cards, gifts (no obligation, but it loves beer) or just a comment, have at it. Perhaps you even have ideas on what we can do with our new child. Name it? Give it a sibling? Kill it? Please share.

  1. I do know Service Greeter Guy's name, I'm just choosing to omit it. 

  2. Jarod Kintz, At even one penny, this book would be overpriced. In fact, free is too expensive, because you'd still waste time by reading it. 

  3. Polly Berrien Berends 

One thought on “I Have An Announcement To Make”

  1. Well, now that the cat's out of the bag, so to speak, you better give this kid the rich and full life it deserves, starting with sex and name. Who does it look like, you or Chrissy? How old is it? Have you thought about the best preschool so that it gets into the best grammar, middle, and high schools in order to get into the best college? I could go on, but I think you get the picture. You've got a lot of work to do.

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