The following tale is one I have heard many times, with ever changing details, but always with the same ending: I was born. I know, for those that know me, the idea of my birth, and therefore my existence, is quite repulsive. No offense. None taken. But an anonymous reader commented in a previous post that more explanation was necessary regarding the day the exterminator drove me Mum to the hospital.
The fact that an exterminator, and their van, was Mother’s transportation to the hospital is excellent foreshadowing to the fact that I was born with bug eyes and cricket legs. Luckily, cricket legs can be corrected with metal baby shoes. Poor decisions during my college years have de-bugged my eyes.
The year is the late seventies. The location is the American Southwest. It is summer and it is hot as a motherfucker. My mother, a former college homecoming queen, and my father, a rogue salesman, are on the run - presumably from my maternal Grandfather, the sniper.
It’s a Saturday and Mother is at their apartment complex, poolside in a bikini soaking up some well deserved ultra violet rays - she was ten and half months pregnant, after all, and still working 12 hour days at the battery factory. Father is at traffic school trying to keep a valid driver’s license.
While rubbing baby oil (a gift that she got at an AA meeting/Baby shower) on her stomach, essentially the roof of my infant pueblo, Mother felt a slight pinch. Her plan is working. The title of her plan is “If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen.” It was officially 182 degrees in her uterus and I needed to get the fuck out.
She smiled, gave her belly the middle finger, put out her cigarette, and calmly ear-marked her page in the gun catalog she was perusing. She picked up her bloody mary, dialed it like a phone, and tried to call my father at Traffic School.
“Goddamn phone company and their shitty service.”
(My parents had no actual telephone.)
Mother, always the resourceful one, got up, walked to the Laundromat on the corner, stole some clothes out of a dryer to put on over her bathing suit and started to walk the 17 blocks to the hospital.
Five blocks into her birthing odyssey, her water broke and it smelled like shit. So she turned around and walked back to the apartment complex, determined to steal a car from the parking lot.
Luckily for Mother and her criminal record, there happened to be an exterminator at the complex spraying for roaches. Classy place.
The exterminator heard Mother screaming expletives, the likes of which no human had ever heard before (I would rather endure a tornado touching down on my pee hole than even imagine the tapestry of language that Mother would have been weaving at this point in her labor), and offered to take her to the hospital. So she climbed into the back of the van and laid down among the chemicals.
I believe it was at this point, sensing the 3-ring shit circus I was on the verge of being born into, that I began to slowly work the umbilical cord around my neck.
Father arrived home to find a note that read: “Took your wife to the hospital - the Exterminator.” (That detail is 100% accurate.)
Father cracked a beer and toked the weed bowl and then headed to the hospital.
Hey, it was the late seventies - it could have been much worse.
While my parents may be displayed in a rather unflattering light above, they did get their shit together and turned out to be pretty great.