On Not Screwing Things Up


My Love Interest had her baby shower where we were showered with generous gifts for our unborn child. At this point seven weeks from her estimated birth a fetus has more clothes than I do. She also has one more piece of furniture than I possess, a diaper changing table. I’ve written before about my love/hate relationships with assembling furniture.

The love comes across from the sense of accomplishment that you were able to make something sturdy with a couple screws and planks of wood. The hate comes out in nasty curse words you scream when one piece doesn’t fit into another. But assembling this diaper changing table brought out a new feeling for me, one of fear mixed with urgency represented by a voice that kept screaming, “You better not fuck this up.”

Perhaps building a diaper changing table is a metaphor for the most intimidating aspect of this whole impending fatherhood thing.

One of my biggest sins (although I always preferred to think of it as my biggest charm) has been my sloth. I’ve always been willing to let things slide with the philosophy of why put off something today that you could put off tomorrow. But for once with this diaper changing table I couldn’t allow myself to be lax. I had to tighten each screw to its fullest potential. Check and recheck the sturdiness of the base.

For while it might be funny when an adult opens a dresser and the entire contraption falls apart in a mound of rubble, the punchline somehow gets muted when a baby becomes a part of that rubble.


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