He Coulda Looked it Up And Kept it to Himself

A picture speaks a thousand words and statistics tells a thousand stories, so why the president at six foot two had to point out to us all that Senator Bob Corker at five foot seven was shorter than he, I’m not sure.

The average height for an American males is 5 foot ten. The president went on to imply that Senator Corker’s height had a deleterious impact on his ability to think. In doing so he undoubtedly ticked off the third of American men under 5 foot seven.

Then we have the brain bowl proposed between the president and Secretary of State Tillerson. Tillerson who looks to me to be about 5’10 is none-the-less intelligence challenged according to his boss and to prove it he challenged the once world leader of Exxon-Mobile to an IQ test. I doubt that will be all. Last week in an interview he said he liked Tillerson, “But I wish he were a little tougher” Is the Political Bowl of MMA matches next?

Stuff like this is the reason lately I want to throw up every time I am going to write about politics and the social contract. So today, still glowing from the birth of grandchild number three, I am going to tell a “history does repeat itself” story about his birth.

For mother and father, this event wasn’t as chaotic as the famed I Love Lucy Show birth episode. In that episode of little Ricky’s birth, Ricky, Sr. is all prepared for whenever the moment comes. He’s packed a suitcase with all needs accounted for. Unfortunately he packed something he would not need to take to the hospital and that was the telephone so when Lucy said, “Now” all hell breaks loose as Ricky tries to find the phone to call the doctor. In those days phones were blessedly attached to walls; when you went out, they stayed home. In a total panic he decides everyone needs to get in the car and as he runs towards the door with the suitcase he runs out of phone cord, the suitcase snaps open, everything, including the phone goes flying.

For my son, he the ever-romantic, took his burgeoning mother-to-be to a five star restaurant. It would surely be the last of these moments for a while and besides she had a craving….for King Crab. Whatever happened to ice cream? During the Caesar Salad he serenely looked across the table and saw a face that was changing expressions. “Babe,” he asked, “Is everything all right?” She replies, “I don’t think so. I think my water is breaking.” Within moments it was like a dam broke. Calm and cool, he leaps up from the table, races to the reception desk, grabs the receptionist by the arm and says, maybe screams, “See that woman over there? She’s having a baby!” Other than saying, “That’s wonderful news” I’m not sure she knew what else she was to do. So he helped, “I NEED NAPKINS, TOWELS, TABLECLOTHS–NOW!!

To the partial amusement of the customers trying to enjoy their overpriced meals, sudden chaos overtook the restaurant during which my son runs outside and grabs the valet, whom he later described as appearing to be about 14 years old. He is yelling like a bank thief who can’t find his get-a-way car, “GET ME MY CAR! I NEED MY CAR!” The valet, who has turned the shade white of his valet jacket timidly replies, “But Sir, you have to tell me what kind of car it is….”

That was about 10 pm. At about 5 am the population clock ticked up one. All this  the president might use as proof of his Bob Corker theory because my son is five foot six.

That brought back two memories. One from when I was that poor, dumbstruck valet. I was working a summer job at the Atlantic Beach Hotel. It was a summer residential hotel. The men went to work by train into the city and women played cards in the cabanas at the beach. We had a night club that drew the names of the day–Alan King, Sammy Davis, Jr, Cab Calloway, Marty Allen. On saturday nights we parked hundreds and hundreds of cars in an unpaved lot about 100 yards from the hotel. On duty one night, with nothing to do because the show was on and the hotel was dead, I was jolted to consciousness by a man who had me by the arm and was yelling, “GET MY CAR! GET MY CAR!” MY WIFE IS IN LABOR!” Remember, there ware hundreds of them packed into an unlit lot like freight train cars in a freight yard. Totally shocked, I said, “What kind of car is it?” His response? “White.” Well that certainly narrowed it down.

I did find it. She did make it. I did get a nice tip the next day and the population clock ticked up one.

Then there’s that other memory, the one my first son’s birth. It was 1973 at Stamford Ct. Hospital. We lived in a lovely house in the woods within earshot of a brook after which our street in Ridgefield, Ct. was named, Silverbrook Road. The house had no air conditioning. Building homes with central air still  wasn’t the norm in late ’60’s and early ’70’s, especially in New England. By Mid- July enough was enough. Only the baby was comfortable. By early August she was due and then over due.

On August 20 I got in my car for the winding and at times torturous ride on country roads to Stamford. ‘took about 40 minutes. I walked into the office and went directly down the hall to get some caffeine and complain to my boss that if I didn’t get some sleep soon I would be an inmate before I was father. Having had three kids, he was sympathetic. The caffeine and I had just settled behind my desk when my phone rang–a phone that sat on the desk and was attached tot he wall…. A very strange sounding voice cackled through the wires: “GET HOME–RIGHT NOW!” No second notice needed for that one. Down the stairs I flew to retrace the kid-like speed-a-way track back home to pick her up, turn around, and zoom back. The posted limit was 25, which I couldn’t read because it was blurred by the speed I was going. Three quarters of the way home I went through a speed trap and heard a siren. I won’t tell you what came out of my mouth. Not pretty.

I stopped.

He came to the window.

I shrieked, “Baby!Baby coming. Ridgefield.”

He said, “GO! GO! GO!” So I did.

Silverbrook Road ended at the driveway to my house, a driveway that dropped pretty much like a ski slope. Down I went somehow stopping before I hit this blimp with a suitcase standing in the middle of it. I got her into the car. Remember lap-belts? So I belted her in, but I couldn’t decide if the belt went over the baby or under it. With her moaning in my ear I decided it didn’t matter, that if I had an accident the baby would pop out either way, so off I went–after negotiating the five maneuvers to took to turn the car around in the driveway without ending up in the brook, and rocketed up to the street, which I hit at such speed we were airborne it seemed for half the length of it.

This now looked like a Toonerville Trolley Cartoon. Mom-to-be was rolling around the front seat like an over-blown balloon on a windy body of water. At every turn she either bounced off the car door or bounced off me. I won’t tell you what came out of her mouth. Not pretty. The unsecured suitcase added some syncopated music as it bounced like a crazed pinball in the back seat.

Before I skidded into the Emergency Room driveway, I was already yelling, “Help!Baby! Help-Baby!” But hospital staff is cool. They ignored me, took her, said, “This way” and in short order we were in a room–waiting. And wait we did–for 27 hours, the second longest labor in the hospital’s history. Oh, I neglected to say it was natural child birth. By the end mom looked like Raggedy Annie who had fallen out of the washing machine and not yet been dried. Soaked in sweat, worn and drawn, she was not having fun at all. In the last hour, the doctor, an avid baseball fan, was standing over this tented hill discussing the pennant race with me when the final wave of contractions hit. If I couldn’t tell you what she said previously, let me just say that within seconds the entire room turned blue and it wasn’t because we were having a boy. Think, “The Exorcist.”

The coup de gras was he, this boy we were having, couldn’t get out and was a forceps delivery. We were presented not with a pink, squiggly baby, but a boy with two ugly red lines on both sides of his face that ran the length of his head, which was the shape of a football. The doctor looked at this and mused, “Hmmmmmmmmmm. If I hadn’t delivered him myself I’d probably have you arrested for child abuse.”

That was 43 years ago. He’s 6’2.5 inches tall and his head is round.

It’s amazing that women have more than one baby. But they do and thank G-d. So excuse if for another week I ignore the contests in the nation’s capital and glory in our family’s addition to the world. I will just gaze into his almost navy blue eyes and say, “Oh The Things You will Do.”

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