I don’t know why we are all quite so surprised that the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are having a baby. After all, they are merely following the standard breeders’ timetable. Nonetheless, we are all rightly rejoicing at the news that the prince managed to get one in. But I wonder if the happy couple’s friends are quite so thrilled.
After all, the burden of parenthood spreads beyond the giddy mother and father. We, as their social circle, are expected to take part in a ritual performance of scripted platitudes, tiresome questions and burdensome responsibilities. So, here is the letter I hand to all of my friends when they have children. It’s helpful for them to know where I stand. Please, feel free to print it off and use it to your own benefit.
Congratulations on bringing a wonderful and very sweet little baby into the world. I know that these precious early days will probably be the most emotional, exhausting and special of your entire lives. Your new baby will now form the very centre of your universe and rightly so.
However, in my universe… it’s not even a moon. It’s like an asteroid that only shows up like a blur on really random graphs. You see, while your life is now almost entirely consumed by your child, my world is still very much about pubs, mates, TV, sex and biscuits.
I feel I should be honest. I don’t care what it weighed when it was born and I care even less how fat it is now. It’s of no interest to me which of you it resembles. In fact, judging by the lactation of photographs on Facebook, I would be competing NOT to look like your baby. Like all new-borns, it resembles a cross between William Hague and used chewing gum.
I know that our society has, in the last few decades, decided that all babies are special and that children are more important than people who have lived, loved, contributed and achieved but I really don’t think it’s likely your progeny will grow up to do anything more special or important than you have yourselves. Most likely, it will go to school, go to college, get a job, marry, procreate, assume bigotry and die just like the rest of us. If it does end up a film star or a famous scientist then I will be happy to chat to it at a later date, but for now the only thing it’s managing to create is a guff-storm of mindless, sentimental, lazy, repetitive, self-satisfied nonsense.
Central to my disinterest in your baby (let’s really nail this one down here) is the fact that it is positively not a ‘little miracle’. A miracle is defined as: a highly improbable or extraordinary event, development, or accomplishment. Well… your baby was very probable, considering the fact that you have adhered to the suburban heterosexual timetable from the moment you were born. And it is certainly not extraordinary. 132 million babies are born every year. That’s three times more babies than Cadburys Creme Eggs. What you have done, though deeply moving for you both, is mundane… ordinary… routine and banal. Some flies hatched in my wellington boot last spring. I did not coo.
Oh and please be assured that I do not now see you as VIPs and I feel no obligation whatsoever to pander to your laziness by making regular trips to your house because it’s ‘so difficult to travel nowadays’. If that is the case, why are you planning to take your screaming poo-machine on a long haul flight to Kuala Lumpur next April? Perhaps if I had a swimming pool and a place to dump your miracle while you sip cocktails you might consider getting off your fat arses and making some effort to maintain the friendships you treasured before you traded ejaculate.
And if you never understood what love really was until you had a baby, can you also bear in mind that you also never knew what misery, fear, paranoia, desolation, claustrophobia, disappointment, harassment and bankruptcy were either?
You have not earned the right to patronise. You cannot expect everyone to indulge you. You have only done what pretty much every other human being on the planet has done or will do. Stop wearing your placenta like a crown and get on with it.
Ps. If I ever have children, consider this letter void.