The second half of MCF’s interview with Tater is up at the Nexus of Improbability.
Greetings, marriage fans! This is MCF.
Your regular host, The
Happy Husband, graciously allowed me to interview that most reclusive of
celebrities, his own offspring, Tater Happy. I had more than a few questions
for the precocious young fellow, and he had some fascinating responses:
You’ve dabbled in writing, even before you were born. Would you consider
following in your father’s footsteps? Would you like to be an artist like
your mother? The world wants to know: what does Tater want to be when he
Whatever vocation I eventually pursue, the manner of my pursuit will surely bear the indelible stamp of both my parents. How their influence will manifest itself, I cannot say. Undoubtedly, I will develop many interests that mirror theirs and form numerous attitudes and opinions based on the ones they demonstrate daily. I will also, I am sure, inject a unique perspective into their lives as well as my own as I make my way in the world. Mama will teach me to draw, Daddy will teach me to write, and I will manage and invest my money in such a way that I will have several hundred thousand dollars to my name before I graduate high school. I will then put myself through college in three years on a football scholarship, then restore the Dallas Cowboys to their former glory by dominating every offense in the NFL from the position of linebacker. When I retire at the age of 28, I will return to medical school and devote myself to curing diseases previously impervious to all treatments. After I turn 50, I will write and illustrate my memoirs, which will receive honors from literary and artistic organizations worldwide and be dedicated to my loving parents.
How do you like living with Mr. and Mrs. Happy?
I know of no other way to live. That being said, let me also say that in all the exercises of my waking and unconscious imaginings I have conjured far worse situations but none even nominally better.
Where do you see yourself in 5, 10, 15, and 20 years?
When Daddy read this question to me, he commented on it with some words I had not heard before and, says Mama, I should never hear again. It seems he has heard this question from every prospective employer with whom he has spoken, implying that every professional position in the marketplace has as a prerequisite certain powers of prophecy concerning one’s own life. In answer to a previous question, I laid out a tentative plan for my life, but I am currently focusing all my energy on eating and exploring myself and the world around me.
What’s your favorite kind of music? Least favorite?
My favorite kind of music is the kind Daddy sings to me. His songs never fail to calm me in my fear or delight me in my comfort or inspire laughter in my happiness. I suppose, then, that my least favorite kind of music is all the others that I have heard, though the notion of “least favorite music” is akin to “least favorite soft blanket.” I have not yet heard a song nor felt a soft blanket that offended me in any way.
With your whole life ahead of you, what sort of action plan do you have in
place to avoid having any regrets in your elder years? Is this even a
I know nothing of regret, even in the abstract. If it is something to be avoided, like a bath, perhaps I would do well to keep myself clean and stay away from any container of water larger than a drinking glass, but perhaps not. I have so far found myself wholly unable to avoid baths; I hope to do better with regret. In any case, I trust my parents to guide me through this and all the other perils of growing up.
You’ve already seen quite a bit of our great country at a young age, having
lived in New York and Texas and enjoying a road trip between the two. Do you
have any travel plans in the future, places you’d specifically like to see?
As of yet I have not studied the possibilities, so I cannot give a definitive answer. Daddy speaks quite fondly of a place called “our very own house,” and it sounds wonderful, so I think I should like to see it some day.
Who is the last person on Earth you’d want to be stranded in an elevator or
on a desert island with? Who is the first?
Approximately a week after my two-month birthday, a woman in a white canvas jacket stuck me in the leg three times with a needle. If I never see the wretched beast again, I’ll be glad of it. On the other hand, I would count myself the king of an infinite domain were I locked in an elevator with Mama. No matter where I might find myself, her arms are the safest place in the world.
Cats, dogs or other? What would be your ideal pet?
From what I have observed of animals, I believe I would enjoy living with a dog. They possess a contagious exuberance for life that I admire and hope to emulate.
A cow says….? A dog says…? A cat says…? A duck says…?
The nearest approximation I can form of a dog’s word is “woof.” The others are beyond my ken.
If a train is traveling toward you at 95 MPH from a distance of 2.75 miles,
what is your favorite diaper brand?
I have never worn any diaper other than Pampers, and I have no complaints. Daddy informs me, however, that when a train bears down on a person at a speed of 95 MPH, diapers are of little consequence.
Are you offended when people attempt to take your nose without asking, fail,
and then make false claims that what’s clearly their thumb is, in fact, your
What a bizarre question or, giving you the benefit of the doubt, absurd sort of practice. Do adults really do that? I think I would definitely take offense. Grown-ups can behave so strangely sometimes.
If a man had a hat, and the hat was tan, what is the biggest word you can
spell, and what does it mean to you?
One of the delicious ironies of my literary life is that I can neither read nor spell. The metaphysics involved in communicating my thoughts to Daddy so that he might adequately express them in writing are best left unexplored. I would like to point out, however, that I have spoken several words aloud: bahgo (a chemical compound consisting of barium, mercury, and oxygen), apple, and ding. They of course meant nothing to me when I uttered them, but I uttered them nonetheless.
What would you consider the most important facet of life known to your
generation but forgotten by many adults?
I often stare intently at apparently empty space and either smile or laugh. Daddy is enamored of the possibility that I smile not at the air but rather at an angel visible only to me. I do believe the possibility intrigues him more than the fact would, so I will neither confirm nor deny his hypothesis. I will say simply that my actions and motivations in those situations are things forgotten by adults, to their detriment.
What’s the one thing about being an adult that you’re most looking forward to?
Walking. It is my fondest, deepest desire to stand right now and walk wherever I would.
The conclusion of this interview will be posted tomorrow (Feb. 23) at MCF’s Nexus of Improbability. I will post the link once it appears.—Curt
My daddy says babies make people happy, and me especially. I find myself hard-pressed
to explain this phenomenon. A baby is just a person the same as any adult—though
admittedly smaller, softer, and less capable of using cutlery in an appropriate
manner—so it escapes me why my existence should inspire any more elation than
does a run-of-the-mill grownup. Apparently, I have the unaccountable ability
to brighten the countenance of strangers who then proceed to regale Mama with
tales of their own children, offer her advice on sleeping habits, and insist
that she immediately seek out a profeesional yoga instructor who specializes
in prenatal exercise.
Furthermore, I can make close friends and family members positively euphoric
simply by moving my appendages while they’re in a position to feel. My two
uncles had occasion to visit me this past weekend, and their reactions to my
movements ranged from fascination to delight to abject fear. Ah, what power
I possess. Though I have never tasted air, I have made hearts race,
elicited audible exclamations,
provoked gallons of joyful tears, and even prompted the exchange of currency
for goods and services. Daddy has told me that a man named Pharoah once altered
the course of two nations by taking action on behalf of a baby named Moses,
I should not
so strange that I induce smiles in others. Still, I find my influence bewildering.
Perhaps this should not be such a mystery to me. After all, I have never laid
eyes on either of my parents, and yet I love them both with all of my being.
They have neither heard my voice nor felt my skin, but they would both willingly
die to save my life. And that, I suppose, is where the real power lies.
Life in the womb grows more fascinating every day. I seem to have developed
appendages with which I can prod Mama’s insides. I believe she feels my movements
though I have not grown large enough for my movements to reverberate enough
them. If my size continues to increase at its recent rate, that should change
in a matter of weeks. Each day I become more aware, and each day I endeavor to
stretch my limits a little further, both mental and physical. Each day I understand
a little more when he talks to me and when he sings to me. And each day I sense
Mama’s growing beauty a little more deeply.
Mama told me last week of a holiday known as Father’s Day. It is observed
annually to celebrate fatherhood (for some reason, I want to add "in a hostile
world"). Since Daddy has devoted so much time to me even before my birth, I
thought it only right that I do something for him. It proved more difficult
than I imagined to make a card and buy a gift within the confines of my current
dwelling, but Mama bought a book, made a card (the image in this post—Curt),
and wrote a note for me. She is certainly beginning to understand me more as
Until recently, Mama seemed to have difficulty thinking of me as an actual
child with a personality and will. My movements have endeared me to her, thankfully,
and she has even given me a nickname. She and Daddy both now refer to me as
‘Tater, which is a diminutive form of the more clinical One Who
Mama says she looks forward to the day when she can call me Tater Tot,
of my great-grandparents has already made plans to call me Sweet
I suppose grownups hold a fairly low opinion of a preborn child’s knowledge,
and understandably so. While it is true that I lack years of life experience
and formal education, I am not wholly ignorant in all areas. For instance,
day that Mama loves me. He scarcely needs to remind me, as her love surrounds
me constantly. He also tells me daily that Jesus loves
me. I am not sure why feels the need to remind me of this so often, since
I know this more deeply than I know anything else. I detect in his tone the
sense that he may actually be reassuring himself of Jesus’ love as much as
he is trying to teach me. I suppose the statement "Jesus loves you" has value
regardless of the speaker’s motivations. Daddy also tells me he himself loves
me. I have no direct proof of this particular declaration as of yet; still,
I do not doubt it. He has not led me astray about anything so far, and I know
that Mama certainly loves him fiercely. If nothing else, that tells me I should
love him also, and I think I do.
I also have quite a strong feeling that life as I know it will not continue
forever. Perhaps this is an elementary idea from an adult’s perspective; it
from mine. I revel in my current existence, but I do not think it will, or
even should, last forever. As I grow, I more and more come to think that something
What that something is and what beyond might mean I cannot say. I have ideas
about it, though they serve only to convince me of my imagination’s inadequacy.
I confess to feeling not a little anxiety about my future,
but I hold to the conviction that Mama, Daddy, and Jesus will not leave me
when the time comes for me to move on, and that my relationships with each
of them will grow even stronger when I cross into the next life.
So I am not altogether devoid of discernment. I comprehend more every day,
and I wait with eager longing for something I do not yet understand but which
reveal more to me—and of me—than I in my current state can possibly dream.
Few people in the course of human history have managed the trick of understanding
the thoughts and feelings of preborn children. My parents may know that two
weeks ago I resembled a mutant raspberry and that now my head and "tush"
have developed into a barely recognizable form, but they know that mainly
from medical books and a brief sonogram rather than any first-hand knowledge.
At least they have been able to see my beating heart, and for that I am grateful.
Perhaps it solidified for them the final reality of my existence. But even
that gives them no window into my soul, for they cannot yet even look into
For my part, I have tried valiantly to fathom my mother’s emotions
both through her
woman’s psyche I shall never grasp in a century. I feel her powerfully, nevertheless,
and on a level unimaginable to anyone not living inside her. Sadly, the emotional
conduits between Mama and me seem relatively one-sided. I imagine this is due
mainly to my relative lack of stimulation and experience. I cannot even be
sure myself whether my emotions belong to me or her. I suppose we will share
everything including feelings for the next several months, our independent
minds notwithstanding. Still, I communicate my own thoughts as best I can,
on the subject
of food. I recently let
of my violent distaste for New York chili, and I believe she "got the message"
as they say. My daddy emphatically insists that I would enjoy chili made in
Texas, so I have
to dismiss the dish altogether.
Daddy is an interesting chap. He habitually caresses and kisses Mama’s abdomen
where he believes the smallest possible amount of flesh separates his lips
from my head. He prays for me. He sometimes recites a list of people who already
love me. He sings to me every night and constantly asks Mama whether she has
taken her daily
expected. It remains to be seen whether he understands well enough to translate
into a spoken language I have not yet learned. As I have an unexplainable—and
possibly genetic—urge to speak to the world, I sincerely hope he succeeds in
Mrs. Happy here, reporting to you live from the Happy Home! First, I just
want to shout from the rooftop how much I love my husband and my marriage
more people will hear me this way!)!!!!!
At the same time, I am saddened by the world around me, and the unfortunately
common attitudes shared by spouses, spouses-to-be, and ex-spouses.
I was involved
in a conversation recently with a bride-to-be whose success, beauty, and
integrity I admire, but whose ideas about marriage seem, at least to me, destined
make her miserable. I was actually a bit surprised when she told me that
been sent a lengthy document detailing her and her fiancee’s prenuptual
agreement, and that her lawyer and his lawyer were fighting over it, effectively
both of them to the whole idea of getting married!! I offered my opinion
that signing a prenuptual agreement already reflects that they don’t trust
other, and someone else in the room replied, "No it doesn’t. It’s just business."
Marriage is most certainly not a business; it is a sacred union based
on love, trust, and commitment, and frankly it scares me that this isn’t
people (and that they’d actually argue with someone who believes this
to be true).
I just felt really sad for her, and wished I could just show her a brief,
fast-forwarded version of the marriage I have cherished over the years,
or maybe if she had
time to read all of these wonderful posts from the beginning…
Curt is experiencing technical difficulty in the form of a downed phone line. He will not be able to post until Wednesday at the earliest. In the meantime, feel free to check out my site Peachwater, Tx.
Many of you read about our misadventures in Arizona—if not, read the whole story
2, and part
We have since chalked Curt’s condition up to low potassium levels, and have adopted
the mindset that "a banana a day keeps the PVCs away," but lately that hasn’t
been the case. Despite a steady monkey diet, Curt has been feeling strange again,
warranting more visits to the cardiologist. This has brought back unpleasant
memories for me about those days in the hospital with him, but it also reminds
me of the faith and fortitude with which we were able to get through them. As
an artist, I tend to process my feelings through my artwork, and I would simply
like to revisit a collage I did about that time and share it here.
Right now, the doctors are of the opinion that there’s nothing to worry about
and that the causes and results of the PVCs are completely benign. Thank you
for keeping up with our marriage, and thank you in advance for your prayers.
This is Mrs. Happy, and I made a big mistake today. As part of the process
of making up for it, I saw it fit to let Curt’s entire blogdom know
how imperfect his wife can be. Hopefully it will turn into a healthy bit
of marital education
to others as well.
I like to snooze…I’m not talking simply about sleep,
but serious, hit-the-snooze-button-at-least-four-times
hard-core snoozing. I’m also a very heavy sleeper, so it takes me a few
minutes to understand that the noise coming from the alarm clock is not a dream.
Curt, on the other hand, becomes semi-conscious at the sound of a pin drop,
and quickly shuts off the annoying alarm by hitting the snooze. This morning,
hit the snooze several times so quickly that I never had a chance to actually
wake up and realize what was happening, and by the time Curt told me what time
it was, I had just barely woken up, only to realize that I had precious little
time to get ready for work. Did I mention also that I am horrifically cranky
in the morning? To make a rushed and frustrating story even shorter, my evil,
pre-coffee madness was at an all-time high this morning, and I left the house
with some harsh words, and in a less than affectionate "Mrs. Happy" state.
By the time I got my coffee and finished my commute, I hadn’t given it
a second thought. By the time I got home, it was as if nothing negative (between
had ever transpired at all. Meanwhile, Curt had had a rotten day all day long
his feelings were hurt, and I had no idea. I guess part of me thought that
he should have learned by now that I am not myself (or a semblance of any other
pleasant person) in the mornings, and should have taken this morning with a
of salt. Then I realized that our rule about never going to bed angry should
also apply to leaving the house. We should never part
company without some combination of the following: a hug, a kiss, and a sincere
"I love you."