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Abstract Academic: The traveling bard and his baby

Congratulations! Election results are out, and we now . . . have . . . candidates . . . 13th district . . . blah blah blah . . . yuck . . .

I’m sorry. I can’t write about that, and I bet you wouldn’t want to read it if I did. Here’s what I’m really thinking about these days: scrapbooking.

Well, to be more accurate, scrap-blogging. See, my wife is having a baby, and nationally respected childbirth experts have deduced that this means I, by association, will also be having a baby. The little dude is due just after next semester starts, and my wife and I are frantically preparing everything to make sure he comes home to a warm, safe environment.

OK, that’s not true. Sometimes, during reruns of “Diners, Drive-ins and Dives,” my wife will turn to me and say something like, “Hey, maybe we should get a crib or something, and then sweep up that broken glass in the kitchen.”

But I digress. My real worry about bringing a kid into our home, other than making sure there are fewer sharp objects around, is remembering to chronicle our child’s life.

See, my wife is a wonderful, brilliant, successful person. She is really, really good at a lot of things. But if I were forced, at gunpoint, to think of something she may be a little bit bad at (just a little bit), it might possibly be keeping track of all those sentimental mother-y things, like, I don’t know, taking pictures of the baby.

Which sort of puts the burden of chronicling on me. That’s fine, though. I’m a big supporter of mixing up the gender roles. In fact, my current skill set (writing, reading, musicianship and an extensive knowledge of pop culture) prepares me pretty well for chronicling things. If this were the Middle Ages, I’d be the traveling bard, moving from campfire to campfire, performing ditties which celebrate the exploits of some king or another, and singing for my food. Or, possibly, I’d be the guy who cleans rat droppings out of the king’s shoes, which pretty much requires the same skill set.

(Note to self: Idea for keeping track of baby’s life — write an epic poem in iambic pentameter about baby’s first year. Also, look up and remind self what ‘iambic pentameter’ is.)

Anyway, being the person who remembers to take pictures of the baby’s first poop doesn’t bug me, but I feel a bit intimidated when compared to the extensive world of mommy bloggers. They don’t miss a thing when it comes to their little Chloes, Keighleighs and Braxtophers.

“You’ll never believe what Kenstreth said today!” one photo-splattered, daily blog post may read. “We were shopping for organic diapers and breast-milk-flavored barbecue sauce at the farmers’ market, and he pointed to a rack of T-shirts in some hipster’s booth and said, ‘Look, Mommy! That man is ironically reappropriating the names of old breakfast cereals as social commentary on the similarities between today and the 1950s, and putting them on T-shirts. May I please buy the one with a picture of ‘Commie-Os?’ It’s only $5.99, without tax.’”

I’m not sure if I can compete with that. I’ll be happy if I get around to a file folder full of loose photos of the kid. He can hold on to that, and then use it as evidence in the book he writes as an adult about how his negligent parents drove him to a life of robbing banks.

But maybe it’s a good thing to not have someone keeping track of every moment in your life. I know there are plenty of thoughts I’ve written in columns that I instantly regret the day they’re published (ref. October 2010’s column entitled “The Estonians, and Other Races That Frighten Me”), and that’s just 500-700 words of the many thousand I speak/write every week.

Perhaps, instead of some computer file full of videos entitled “Baby’s First Steps” and “Baby’s First Laugh” and “Baby’s First Time Watching ‘Mad Men’,” we should be OK with “Baby’s Third Time Walking” and “That Time We Remembered to Film the Baby on His, Like, First(?) Birthday.”

I mean, I think we’ll be OK parents, and the kid will get to know us, and hopefully give us an ‘A’ for parental effort. He’ll figure out that he’s still loved.

And, when our society is reduced to some postapocalyptic world where the Internet has frizzled away, and no one will have any access to the thousands of e-pictures and e-scrapbooks of their children, my kid will know that his father, the Traveling Bard/Rat-Dropping Sweeper, loved him, as evidenced by the two-hour epic poem his father will have composed and memorized about that boy’s childhood.

Which I will get to, of course, right after “Diners, Drive-ins and Dives.”

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