MCF interviews Baby Happy

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
grows up?

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
realistic goal?

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
detached proboscis?

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

Off the road again

I read somewhere that camping brings couples and families closer together. Family camping outings turn into great memories almost invariably. Even people who can’t stand their families still look with fondness on the times they spent together sleeping in a tent and cooking hot dogs and marshmallows over a campfire. I know that one of the most enjoyable times Mrs. Happy and I have spent together happened in the hill country of Central Texas one Thanksgiving. Our wood froze, armadillos foraged in our food, and we wandered in the woods for two hours, not knowing how to get back to our camp site, but it is one of the highlights of our marriage so far.

Road trips can turn into the fondest of memories as well, but not invariably. A road trip is a calculated risk when your goal is to bond. A good road trip provides stories you can tell your grandkids; a bad one makes you want to never see your traveling companion(s) again. In my college days, I took a road trip with a friend of mine from northern Indiana to eastern Texas. Our car broke down in Arkansas, and we had to sleep in the car on the side of the road while my dad drove up to help us out. We talked, we bonded, and that experience was the highlight of our good friendship. In high school, I traveled with the band from Utah to California. A flu-like condition afflicted me, my companions irritated me, and the school vice principal who rode the bus with us seemed intent on making sure no one could have fun. Fortunately, I have forgotten most of the details of that time.

The drive Mrs. Happy and I took from Texas to New York five years ago was a shining example of how good a road trip can be. We talked, we laughed, we sang, we speculated, we saw the country, and we viewed hotels with the relish of newlyweds. That experience came during a time of hope and excitement and limitless possibilities. The trip from New York back to Texas was more difficult. It happened during a time of stress and uncertainty. It happened during a time when we had the sometimes overwhelming responsibility of caring for a three-month-old baby. It happened immediately after a five-day marathon of packing filled with irritability that bordered on rancor.

Even so, I would not trade that trip for anything. A good friend of ours accompanied us on the journey, providing us with an extra measure of good will and Tater with an extra set of comforting arms. We were able to stop in Missouri to visit some old friends we hadn’t seen in four years, whose kids treated us to a lifetime’s worth of affection even though they didn’t remember us. We met some wonderful people in hotels and restaurants along the way. We encountered some shady characters that provided us with hours of speculative humor even after they were gone. We stopped in North Texas and introduced Tater to some family who had not yet met him. And we got to show our friend our home-away-from-home-away-from-home.

Yeah. Road trips rule.


It’s been a while since I last blogged. I’ve been quite busy packing, saying good-bye to some of the best friends I’ve ever had, packing until 2:00 a.m. some nights, taking care of a baby, packing until 3:00 a.m. some nights, tying up some personal business, taking care of a baby, loving my wife, packing from 2:00 p.m. until the moving van showed up 20 hours later, cleaning out the old apartment, and driving for five days half-way across the country (through ten states) from Long Island (New York) to Austin (Texas).

I thank God for the friends who gave us so much help in the days leading up to our departure. We’d still be packing if not for their timely arrival and their all-out, full-tilt, can’t-slow-down attitude. I also thank Him for the amazing amount of love and support we received from our church. Furthermore, I must thank Him for giving us the perfect baby, who slept for more than half of his time in the car, smiled and played contentedly for the rest of his time in the car, warmed the hearts of every waitress and and hotel clerk who saw him, and still managed to pretty much sleep through the nights in the hotels.

So now we’re safe and sound in Austin, the first city we called home together. I’m still rather addlepated from the flurry of activity I’ve experienced in the past few weeks, which is why I’m less than coherent right now. The moving van has not yet arrived with all my stuff, so I’m having to work on an unfamiliar computer. Someone told me a couple of weeks ago that this page does not display correctly on Internet Explorer 6, which is what 73% of you use, according to my statistics. For some reason, it seems to display correctly on the archive pages, but not on the front page. This is why I hate Microsoft. </rant>

Anyway, being that addlepated is one of my favorite words now, I’m still in no condition to blog. Let me just say that I love my wife, and I love my son. Whatever stress we go through together, at least we’re together. My home is wherever they are, so I didn’t leave my home in New York, or return to my home in Texas—I’ve been home this whole time, just in different locations.