I have never served in the military. I have never experienced the nightmare of fighting for my life in hand-to-hand combat. But I have experienced my share of struggles. Not of the least among them is the unspeakable horror of confronting an over-exuberant parent brandishing an ugly baby. Okay, save the lecture. Yes, I know every baby is precious, sweet, dear, priceless, et cetera, et cetera, blah blah blah. I get it. But let’s face it, a certain percentage of babies are born with mugs better suited for showing at the Westminster Kennel Club than a suburban mall. No. I’m not talking about YOUR BABY. YOUR BABY is shockingly adorable. The cutest baby on the planet. The cutest baby ever to grace the earth. YOUR BABY emits an ethereal glow of beauty, and indeed, if I may add, a sense of grace.
But I think you’ll agree with me, that at least once or twice you’ve been left speechless after being blindsided by a baby closely resembling Rocky Balboa – after the fight. Fear no more. Jack is here with three simple techniques to glide you safely through your next encounter.
Number 1: Stop. Remind yourself of the first universal truth of parenthood – Every parent thinks his or her bundle of joy is the Gerber Food Baby. Not most, every single one. This means that whatever you say, no matter how patently absurd it may seem to you at the moment, it will be eagerly accepted by the parent. They’ll lap it up with a spoon. They’ll start nodding in agreement the minute you begin laying on the baloney.
Number 2. Go for it. Lay it on as thick as frosting on a Christmas cake. Trust me, it’s impossible to overdo it. Some lady wanders up to you with a baby that looks like a gorilla? Fire at will: “Wow, she’s the spitting image of the Mona Lisa!” “Have you considered contacting a baby modeling agent? This little gem has got a career ahead of her!” Have at it – you’ve got complete immunity!
Number 3. Remember the FAILSAFE. This is the technique you must immediately engage in the event of an actual emergency. Practice it like an airline pilot practices for an emergency landing. Here is the scenario: There are cases, although rare, that upon meeting an ugly baby, you are struck absolutely speechless. Without hesitation, engage the three-step FAILSAFE procedure. Step 1: Relax. Do not panic. Step 2: Continue to breathe as normally as possible. You will need as much oxygen as you can get in order to improve your odds of surviving the encounter. Step 3: Lock onto, and embrace the word “sweet.” Force it through your teeth. Keep repeating it. Put it in difference sentences, but don’t stumble or lose focus. “What a sweet baby.” “She is so sweet.” “I can’t believe how sweet she is.” The more times you repeat it, the easier it becomes. Then, once enough oxygen has reached your brain and you’re beginning to feel more relaxed, toss in the word “precious.”
Side note: All of these techniques work equally as well for grandmothers, although use them with caution with grandfathers. Especially ones named Bud.
That’s the lesson. Thank goodness, none of this applies to your beautiful baby. What an angel. Have you considered contacting a baby modeling agent? You’d make a bundle!
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