Memoir, Part II: The baby years'
Welcome back to part two of my autobiography, "From Embryo to Imbecile." When I last left you, it was August 1963 and I had recently exited from my mother's womb.
As you will recall, my first few days of life were spent being terrorized by a team of sadistic, uniformed baby-haters. After attempting to lead the other babies in a coup against the evil medical establishment, I was captured and taken to their torture chamber.
There, I literally had the spirit cut right out of me in a disfiguring torture known as "circumcision." (In the mid 80s, I would attempt to have corrective plastic surgery, but I was told there simply wasn't "enough left to work with.") It turns out that this was just one of many obstacles that I would have to overcome in my life.
Home life begins
After the evil geniuses at the Hunterdon Medical Center were through snipping off pieces of me, I was finally allowed to leave with the nice lady, who was continuously jamming her breasts in my face. The nice lady and I were driven to a modest house in the country by a gruff, scary looking man, who kept referring to himself as "Daddy."
When we arrived at my new home, I was shocked to realize that the nice lady and I were not only going to have to share the rather petite dwelling with this "Daddy" character, but also with two other short, unattractive children named "Michael and Donny."
I sat there thinking, "Well, this is just great. I just spent nine months in extremely cramped quarters and now I have to share extremely cramped quarters with four other people."
The first four months in my new home were a struggle. I had very bad motor skills and absolutely no control over my bowels. Since I had not yet mastered any form of speech, I primarily communicated through a series of loud wailing sounds. When I was hungry, I would cry. When I had soiled myself I would cry. When I was bored, I would cry. When my head got caught between the rails on the side of my crib, I would cry. I was crying so much, I wonder if I might have been suffering from post-partum depression.
During these four months, I did get to know the other people in the house better. I learned that the nice lady's name was "Mommy." I learned that "Daddy" was a carpenter. I also learned that "Michael" was 4 years old and "Donny" was 3 years old, but neither of them seemed to be holding down jobs. They spent most of their days watching Romper Room and wrestling one another. Those first four months, I didn't really care for anyone in the house except for "Mommy."
Then one dark day in November of '63, everything changed. President Kennedy had been shot. "Mommy" and "Daddy" took the loss hard. For years, I thought we must have been related to the late president because a large framed portrait of the slain president was the only picture that ever adorned the family room of our home.
At four months old, I sat glued to the television set for an entire week with the rest of the family. All four of us sat there grieving together and without even knowing it, we were growing closer. Kennedy's assassination not only brought me closer to my family, but it also introduced me to one of the great loves in my life, television.
I spent the next couple of years learning from the television. My first words were "What's Up, Doc?" Unfortunately, I also learned how to walk from watching Festus on "Gunsmoke." I was 7 before I finally stopped walking with a limp.
When I was about a year and a half old, I started to notice that "Mommy" was really starting to put on some pounds. I remember hiding the "Ring Dings" from her because her weight problem was starting to embarrass me. By the time I turned 2, "Mommy" had become such a heifer, I refused to be seen with her. She looked like she had swallowed my large, stuffed Winnie the Pooh.
By September of '65, it was obvious that "Mommy" needed help. On the 19th of that month, after downing an entire bag of Oreos, the eating finally took its toll. "Mommy" started suffering from intermittent cramping and pain. It finally got so bad that "Daddy" had to rush her to the hospital.
A few days later, my mother returned looking much slimmer. I thought, "Wow, they must have had her on that grapefruit diet." However, my happy thoughts didn't last long when I noticed that my mother was carrying a baby. "How dare they bring another baby into our already crowded house," I wondered.
Soon, I was being introduced to my new sister, "Tammy." I tried to be polite by muttering, "Pleased to make your acquaintance" but I'm pretty sure she knew I wasn't sincere because she began bawling like a little baby. When I saw my mother feeding her from my old friends, "Starsky and Hutch," I became irate. It was clear that our house wasn't going to be big enough for the six of us. Someone had to go. I could tell by the way the baby was lip-locked to "Hutch" that it was going to have to be me. I went to gather my things. It was time for me to hit the road.
Jim Cegielski writes weekly for The Meridian Star.