It's rare when the title is worse than the story. https://t.co/rFWXLIb7Si (1 day ago)

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Apr
12

0 baby!

There is nothing that fills a traveler with more dread as he or she is about to depart on a long flight than seeing a mother holding a baby at the gate.

Yesterday I was that traveler.

Everyone around the boarding area shared my apprehensions. The tension was palatable.

Yes. Palatable. Not palpable.

Well yes, it was palpable but it was also at an acceptable level. Relax word Nazi!

Anyway, once we boarded it soon became clear that the baby was not going to be palatable after all.

He started to cry. And cry. And cry.

He was crying and crying and crying and crying and crying and crying and crying and crying and crying and crying and crying and crying (are you reading each and every crying?) and crying and crying and crying and crying and crying and crying and crying and crying and crying and crying and crying (you’d better be) and crying and crying and crying and crying and crying and crying and crying and crying and crying and crying and crying (otherwise you won’t be able to fully appreciate what happens next) and crying and crying and crying and crying and crying and crying and crying and crying and crying and crying and crying and crying and crying and crying and crying and crying and crying and crying and crying and crying and crying and crying.

By the third hour the mood was getting grim. People were turning and openly glaring.

I believe it had something to do with the change in air pressure and the effect it has on a baby’s inner ear. That’s why you don’t see many babies on submarines.

I finally joined the myriad of angry faces turning to look at the demon-child and I swear for a second the baby’s face was as red as a beet and his eyes were black as coal and flames licked out of his quivering maw. I rubbed my eyes and he quickly returned to being all pink and cheruby.

Cheruby? You’re really going to call me on that not being a word? Sorry, but he looked cheruby so I’m going to call him cheruby and you can take your dictionary and stick it.

When I felt that nobody on board could stand a single minute more of the wailing the mother simply put her hand on the top of her baby’s head, her thumb pressed firmly against his nose, and gave his head a quick twist.

A soft cracking noise was heard throughout the plane. Like a dry twig being snapped.

Suddenly all was quiet. Then, like the end of an 80’s movie, passengers, one by one, started to clap until the noise swelled until you would have thought that the mom had just sunk a fifteen foot put to win the Mayakoba Golf Classic in Playa del Carmen (I’m trying to reconnect with Mexican readers after calling Mexico a shithole so many time).

Still thinking about the “That’s why you don’t see many babies on submarines” comment aren’t you? Can’t just move past it like a reader of one of the mindless feel-good books pimped by Oprah can you? Please don’t email a list of the real reasons that you don’t see many babies on submarines, I simply don’t care. I just described a baby being murdered on an airplane flight and you’re hung up on something trivial.

I actually was going to mention a baby’s head imploding at a particular crush depth (like a cheruby tin can) but I figured I might be pushing it if I described two infant deaths in one story. I bet you don’t even appreciate my sensitivity.

Anyway, I was just wrapping up telling the person seated next to me how my sister would always carry a little bag filled with pepper on every flight so after she got off the plane she could induce a giant sneeze and clean out all of the bad recirculated air out of her lungs but then she got addicted and now can’t even have pepper with her meals when I saw the stewardess walking buy collecting trash before we landed.

I went to toss in my empty plastic cup when I saw two little cheruby feet sticking up out of the bag. I didn’t even dare look at the mother for fear I’d see her on her phone trying to sell a stroller on eBay. I felt so weird dropping my cup on top of the formerly-bouncing-but-now-not-so-much baby corpse. Then I remembered the idiom “The tantrums of toddlerhood are all part of life’s rich pageant” and stopped feeling anything.

I didn’t want to be a baby.

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