The Stupid Standard

So I think I’m getting the hang of this thing, this thing being my new job as mother of a two month old baby. I haven’t mastered this thing by any means, but I’ve at least come to a point where I don’t panic when Jon leaves for his job in the morning, and I’m faced with spending the next 10 hours ALONE WITH A BABY. For a while it felt like he was leaving me alone with a bomb, and if I turned away from it at any point during the day it would explode and destroy the whole world. Now it feels more like a hand grenade, and I just have to resist the urge to yank out its safety pin, which in Leta’s case would be picking her up while she’s perfectly content on her back and attempting to cradle her. There is no cradling of the hand grenade in this household, because the hand grenade will look at you like What do you think I am, a baby? I am not a baby! I am a hand grenade!

There were moments during the first few days of Leta’s life when I really didn’t think I was cut out for this whole thing. I remember feeling very inadequate because I know some really stupid people who have had kids, and I thought if really stupid people can do the whole kid thing, why am I having such a hard time? Well, here I am almost two months in and I’m gaining on the stupid people! I’ve somehow managed to go over 50 days without doing any permanent damage to myself or to the baby, and when you consider that I have a chronic problem with not being able to walk around walls but only straight into them, having a dent-free baby is something to be proud of.

I have had other jobs in my life where I have been unable to meet the standard set by stupid people. During the summer after my freshman year in college I attempted to wait tables at a very popular chain restaurant. I thought it would be an easy way to make a fair amount of money in a short period of time, and since I had just aced calculus the semester before I thought I would have no problem taking an order for a hamburger and bringing it to someone’s table. Little did I know that my mastery of differential equations would have no bearing whatsoever on my ability to fulfill a drunk Southern woman’s request to bring her taters and biscuits, like, right now, missy! Where are them taters?! I had dated a really stupid guy in high school who could wait tables (he was stupid, but my God did he have great hair!), and when I quit after three days I cried at the realization that I wasn’t as smart as stupid people. I was so stupid that I couldn’t even bring taters.

After I graduated college I took a full time job as a phone reservationist for an airline which had me sitting at a phone for eight hours a day fielding phone calls from the American public. I had a college degree, I thought, how hard could it be to memorize 50 airport codes? Aside from gathering content for my website, the only thing I learned from that job was that my butt could only withstand approximately 45 minutes of staying put time, and after four hours of staying put time my butt would become numb and the entire lower half of my body would fall asleep. Phone reservationists should not have numb butts because a numb butt does not a cheery phone reservationist make, and toward the end of every shift when I was supposed to be answering the phones like, “Thank you for calling Delta Airlines!” I was answering the phones like, “WHAT THE FUCK DO YOU WANT?” And the problem was that the American public will indeed tell you what the fuck they want, and they will tell you where the fuck to put it. I couldn’t handle the abuse, but I was surrounded by several stupid people who could handle the abuse, and thank God for those stupid people.

Lo and behold, here I am doing a job that stupid people before me have been able to do. And yes, I do consider this a job. It is the most difficult job I have ever had, a job where my boss calls at least twice during the middle of the night, a job where my boss has to approve my bathroom breaks. I have a job where I am required to wipe my boss’s ass. And not only am I really good at it, but I am also stupid enough to love it.