Sunday, December 17, 2006

Altered States

I was fully prepared to devote an entry to a topic utterly revolting, infantile, and repulsive, but I thought, ah, what the hell, let's try something different.

It has been a well-repeated (if not proven) factoid that the longer a couple is together, the more they look alike. This is probably why Pamela Anderson and Kid Rock are now Splitsville, though I not know if Pam dumped him because she worried about morphing into her husband one day, or if Kid Rock had nightmares that enormous mountains of silicone would one day form on his chest.

Also, if one does tend to look like their partner over time, I imagine that all the 22-yearold Russian supermodels with 80-year-old millionaire boyfriends are headed for a bad ending, though Viagra has already made their pretty lives pretty miserable.

If Wife started looking like me, but I would not leave her, although our sex life would be kaput, for I might start thinking I was making love to myself, and you shouldn’t make love to someone you hate.

Although our physical appearances are in no threat of converging, of late our creative states are similar, and sadly for the worst. I’m uninspired, she’s uninspired, and this makes for a lot of bad writing. Wife is in the desperate race to finish her novel before she gives birth in a few months, and I am in the desperate race to figure out what to do with my novel before I die, which may happen any day between now and 2060.

It’s not just that we’re unhappy with our respective output; it’s that we’re just not feeling the urge to create. Nothing I read is inspiring me, ditto for Wife, and about the only thing that moves either of us is music. Which we don’t compose.

Required reading

(Wife can write circles around yours truly. For her, a slump means her writing is merely excellent; for me, merely excrement.)

This lack of creativity can come across in other unpleasant manifestations. Wife is angry at me for some supposed household infractions, including (but not limited to) lack of initiative in cleaning, cooking, conducting “research” for forthcoming baby, and other imagined and real offenses that all have to do with domesticity.

I can get rather pissy at Wife for her getting pissy at me, and the cycle of love-anger-love begins anew. Much of this anguish concerns the onset of Wife’s pregnancy, and the natural fears that motherhood will extinguish her career — if I don’t help out, she’ll be swamped and depressed, unable to ever write again.*

By all accounts of friends who have experienced the miracle of birth, writing fiction does not exactly take precedence when Junior is projectile vomiting while soiling through several thousand diapers a day. A parent’s free time is when baby is napping, and if you are lucky, you’ll be napping as well. When it comes to writing, the first six months — well, fuggitaboutit.

It is this certainty that should make both Wife and I writing fiends instead of neurotic masses of indecisive chum. Of course, we’ll get back into the swing of things, perhaps before retirement age.

Already, well before my child is born, I am envisioning a fatherly talk I’ll have with my son (ultrasound confirmed it’s a wiener). Such a talk often entails bromides on telling the truth, never getting into cars with strangers, or the unfathomable mysteries of sex, which, to be honest, I probably should not talk about, lest I ruin the kid’s sex life forever.

In any case, I will be direct, and loving, and fair: “Son, the world is full of great possibility. There is so much to learn, to see, to do. Don’t let anyone say you can’t do something, and always believe in yourself. Always follow your heart — you can be a doctor, a musician, an artist, a scientist. Whatever you want, you can achieve, just as you put your mind to it.

But for God’s sakes, don’t become a fucking narcissistic neurotic writer like your old man. Please? I don’t want to kick your ass over this. Thank you. You’re a good son.”

*(This is where the disgusting part was supposed to be. I was going to write about my newfound spirit of assistance in the household arts to help Wife through this difficult stretch. Borrowing from an infamous Saturday Night Live skit from the 1970s that never made it to air, I was going to write about a great new dish that I could cook following the birth of our child. Of course, I speak of placenta. Placenta burgers, placenta stroganoff, placenta Wellington.

It’s what's for dinner

And if you just can’t make it with placenta, you have to use what that SNL parody was selling: Placenta Helper! (“Wow, Mom, that’s great placenta!” “Oh, son, it’s not just placenta – it’s Placenta Helper!” “Can we have it again tomorrow?” “No, silly – you’ll have to wait for another brother or sister first!”)

What’s more disturbing is that there are people who actually keep and cook their placenta. Let’s eat!)