The presumed point of our trip to
The particular infant we were visiting lived in a vibrating chair. He was jowled and sleepy. He was the approximate shape of a dollop of jam. He also had only half a foot on one leg, topped with one tiny toe-ish nubbin, mismatched by a giant foot on the other, crowned with five fat toes.
In what seems like a completely separate story, an ex-boyfriend gave me a hedgehog for Valentine’s Day one year. I had been talking for ages about wanting a hedgehog, so it wasn’t as ridiculous as it seems now. I loved that hedgehog, until he met his end one day at the veterinarian’s office, having been overtreated for dehydration and handed back to me, a sopping-wet balloon of liquid flesh plopped upon a damp hand towel. The ultimate reason for his dehydration—and death—was the same as the reason my ex chose this particular hedgehog out of the mess of hedgehogs for sale at the pet market: He had a funny ear, shaped like a broccoli floret, turned in upon itself, and prone to infection. One had to be vigilant about cleaning it and treating it with ointment; and I certainly tried to be. Alas, I was not as vigilant as I should have been, it turns out.
What a weird Valentine’s Day gift, though: a hedgehog with an infected ear. “I thought you’d like him better if you had to nurse him to health,” the ex said. And he was kind of right. I never liked him much (the boy, not the hedgehog), but he knew me rather well.
It likewise occurs to me that perhaps I liked the baby a little better than I might have, if he had been one of those perfect gifts from god you hear so much about. I’ll like him even better once he’s out there gimping around with the rest of ’em, I suspect. Winners—bah! You can keep ’em.
Since I’ve returned, the gimp-mom sent me a batch of photos involving her half-footed babe. I’m featured in many of them, as well, and Rich Bachelor is in some too. I considered posting one here, or perhaps sending them to relatives and friends as a joke: “Sorry we didn’t tell you, but we had a baby!” Wouldn’t that be hilarious? Or stupid? Wait … is there a difference? I made some unfortunate clothing choices that day, however, which, along with my unfortunate diet and exercise choices and my parents’ unfortunate genetic choices, have resulted in my looking like a Mexican taxidermied frog holding a baby. I couldn’t find a photo of such a thing online, so here is a picture of kind of the same thing, except replace “baby” with “guitar.”
In fact, this is pretty much what I look like right now, except that I’m wearing a sombrero. I'm about to go see a Vanilla Ice concert, you know. Gotta look good.
For more information on our trip to
Going back to the hedgehog thing, though, would anyone think less of me if I admitted that I have a soft spot for losers, lost causes, the underdog, hopeless cases, etc.? I live my life exactly the opposite of those who make my heart melt, too, by which I don’t mean that I’m a huge winner, but only that I’m afraid to try. I keep thinking about this. If gimp-baby grows up to be that guy who’s ashamed of his gimp-foot, I’ll be so disappointed. If he ends up being that guy who always tries out—pathetically—for the track team only to get his hopes dashed again and again (of course … what do you think this is—a movie?) and never learns any valuable lesson from it or becomes a better person or anything, well, I’ll be quite touched. I love a story without a happy ending.