By Jon Dawson
Seventeen years ago Mark Zuckerberg appeared on CNBC to discuss his new social media platform Facebook.
At the time of the interview in 2004, Zuckerberg’s Facebook network had only 100,000 users. Fast-forward to the short rows of 2021 and Facebook has over 1 billion registered users. According to a figure I’m making up, those billion people post an average of seven times per day, mostly about politics, pets, food, and things they don’t like about Facebook.
While Zuckerberg was building his empire in 2004, The Wife and I were in the process of building our own. She was a week or so shy of being nine months pregnant with our first Tax Deduction. While the rest of the world was gearing up for carbohydrate overload and competitive shopping the day after Thanksgiving, we were getting the house ready for the baby, or as we say in the south, “rakin’ up straw”.
Wanting the inevitable drive to the hospital to go smoothly, I made sure the car was full of gas at all times. In hindsight, it may have been overkill to visit the gas station twice a day for a month to top off the tank, but at least my OCD was being put to good use.
By this stage of the game, I’d rehearsed driving to the hospital several dozen times. We pre-registered at the hospital to ensure there would be no birthing of babies in the parking lot. We were stocked up on diapers, Wet Ones, blankets, and flare guns. We even purchased a state-of-the-art trash can that would allegedly mute the odor of dirty baby diapers.
As it turned out, the only way that thing could mask the odor of a baby diaper was if you had it set up several hundred yards away from your home and buried a quarter-mile underground.
Two weeks from the due date we were confident that we were as prepared as humanly possible. We hadn’t really thought about the possibility of the baby coming early, but one night around 7:30 p.m. The Wife informed me it was time to go.
I jumped into action, grabbing her packed bag from the back door and loading it in the car in under 10 seconds. I queued up ‘In The Air Tonight’ by Phil Collins to re-enact the driving scene from the Miami Vice pilot on our way to the hospital. I was half a mile down the road before realizing I’d left The Wife standing at the back door.
After going back to pick up The Wife we were on our way. She was calm as a cucumber and didn’t even mind holding the steering wheel so I could play air drums during the climax of ‘In The Air Tonight’.
Once at the hospital we realized the whole pre-registration thing was either a scam or a shared hallucination. We were handed more forms and asked more questions than a non-vetted senatorial candidate.
I understand an overabundance of caution, but I didn’t think questions like “Who is your favorite character on ‘Sanford & Son’”? or “Do you think Astro-Turf is bad for Major League Baseball?” were pertinent. For the record, my answers were Aunt Esther and yes, fake grass is an abomination.
We’re a few years down the road now and we have a beautiful daughter who is now driving, which has honestly been a little tough for me to navigate. I drove home from Durham late Saturday night and saw motorists pulling stuff that would run Richard Petty up a tree. Drivers coming into La Grange from Wayne County fly through the intersection in Little Baltimore as if Satan, Hitler, and Joy Behar are chasing them. If we can find her a tank with decent gas mileage, I’ll rest a little easier.
Whenever TD#1 starts dating, we’ll have those pictures of her running around the house in a diaper, chomping on a pacifier, and waving an empty ginger ale bottle over her head like a deranged Viking on full display. Come to think of it, those photos would make for a lovely billboard on U.S. 70 when she graduates.
Jon Dawson’s books are available at www.jondawson.com.