We welcome another edition from my good friend, The Manny.
This goes live today for a reason. Today is also The Manny's birthday. Though it has been a long time since we have lived in the same city, it never ceases to amaze me how close we have become over time. There are few people in this world who understand (or anticipate) my douchebag sense of humor the way that this man does. There is nothing too offensive and no such thing as "too soon". We are two peas in one very effed up pod. I am glad to call him my friend, and very thankful that he takes the time to write these self-depricating yet heart-warming pieces for my humble little blog. This man is going places, friends. You just watch.
Seriously. He knows people. And he has many leather bound books.
Happy birthday, Sambo.
And now, The Manny.
“Wow, you look beat!” said the mother of the family I was tutoring. “Long night?”
“Yeah,” I said, walking in and plopping my bag down. “We had a baby.”
The stunned look on her face merited an explanation. She knew I was not married, and she probably thought I was gay.
“Oh!” I went on. “My roommates. My roommates had their baby. I was just... around.”
The judgement was always the same when people learned of my living situation. How could a freeloading loser like me impose on a nice, pregnant couple like that?
I was used to that unmitigated criticism, and just let it slide off like the sweatpants we’d all become accustomed to wearing, living in a pregnant household. I’d like to think they had an easier pregnancy because the burden was split between three people instead of two. It was a healthy 50/40/10 split... (I wasn’t “10.”). But, as I learned, no pregnancy is “easy.” They all suck. The true miracle of childbirth is how any of us make it through it, marriages and friendships in tact.
I will never forget the night the baby came. We had been on Baby Alert Alpha for a week at this point. We knew that the kid could show up at any moment. It’s a lot like being in a town and avoiding your ex; you know she’s there, you know you’re going to see her, and there will be mixed feelings, and a lot of tears and screaming... It’s just a question of WHEN.
That night, I was home from work and cooking as per usual. I was making buffalo burgers and roasted new potatoes. Nice and hearty. My friends came waddling in at about 6, just as I was finishing up in the kitchen. “Sam,” the dad said calmly. “We are having a baby.”
“I’m fine!” said the mom through clenched teeth, clutching the counter. “They’re false contractions.”
“NO! I have been timing them!” Dad waved his iPhone in the air with a Contraction Timer app on screen. I wondered, what good is that app after the baby comes. Earthquake aftershocks? I hope he didn’t pay for it. Also, were we eating, or should I box these burgers?
Throughout the rest of the evening, we were all on pins and needles, as contractions came and went. There was talk of going to the hospital, then not. Then going again. I must give my friend, the dad, credit. Throughout our long friendship, he has never done well under pressure of the medical kind, and he is often a hypochondriac. But on the eve of his child’s birth, he held it together so well. Whatever he was smoking, I wanted it.
What? This was LA.
I, on the other hand, was a nervous wreck. I kept running upstairs to ask if everything was okay, if they needed anything, or if there was anything I could do. I realized as I said these things how dumb they must sound, as ANYTHING I could do would require probably seeing my friend’s wife’s vagina. We were cool, but not that cool.
My buddy politely tapped on my door at about 1 am, to inform me (ever so calmly) that they were going to the hospital. And before he could ask me to help out with the bags, I was already throwing on my robe to grab them out of Mom’s hands as she carried them down the stairs herself, muttering and cursing to herself how “dumb” the whole situation was. She still had her spunk.
I whisked them down to the garage, got them in their car, and off they went. Part of me wanted to go, but I knew I was of no use in the hospital. I’d just be in the way saying “I’m the manny!” So I stayed on the couch and called all of our mutual friends on both coasts.
I rushed over later that day to see the bambina for the first time. I came in, teary-eyed, as I saw that little cherub looking around with giant eyes. My friends were wiped. The doctor looked at me and said, “Congratulations!” I laughed, shrugged, and said, “Thanks? What did I do?”
My friend put his hand on my shoulder, hugged me, and said “So much.”
Just doing my job.
And my job, as I would soon find out as this kid was now here, had just begun.
(cue season finale music)
Until next time, dear readers...