I’d just held my little Stephen for the first time when Dr. Metzger grabbed him from my arms.
“There’s something wrong with your baby.”
He tried tickling him, doing peekaboo, and even I’ve-got-your-nose. He looked grim.
“What’s wrong, Doc?”
“I’m afraid it’s as I feared. Your baby was born without a sense of humor.”
My lungs froze. My eyes filled with painfully hot tears.
“Nurse O’Brien, prep him! Rodriguez, apply the makeup, NOW!”
The male nurse held the baby up before him. The female nurse grabbed face paint crayons from the medical cabinet on the wall and hastily drew red, white, and blue clown patterns on Dr. Metzger’s face.
“Timing is everything!” the Doctor barked. She squeezed a red spongy nose onto him but it kept falling off. “Dammit Rodriguez, get your act together!”
“Trying doesn’t cut it in the medical field!” Dr. Metzger faced my newborn Stephen and pretended to eat a rubber chicken. The baby just stared. He then grabbed a basketball and pretended to dribble it, but then tripped over his oversized clown shoes. “Dammit. No response!”
My heart pounded in my ears. I looked up to my husband. “Hold me, Rick. I’m scared!”
“I want a funny baby! God help us if he grows up to be an engineer or architect. Oh Christ, please let this work!”
“Ma’am, we’re trying everything we can, please put a lid on it!” the Doctor shouted while squirting water out of a plastic flower at our baby’s face.
“Don’t speak to my wife like that!” cried my husband.
“GET HIM OUT OF HERE!” cried the Doctor. The Nurses wrestled my husband out of the room, amidst his shouting and swearing.
“He’s not responding to the fake staircase, the mimed piano crash, or the throat scarves. This is serious,” said the Doctor “He’s completely irony deficient. Quick! Get him to O.R. 3!”
I ripped the I.V. out of my arms and bolted from my bed. “O.R. 3?! What are you going to do to him?!”
“Get back in bed! You just gave birth to an uptight nerd! You need rest! He must’ve sapped all the life out of you!” The Nurses opened the door and he dashed down the hallway, holding my baby at arm’s length, as though contagious. I chased after him.
“They don’t teach you how to deal with this in medical school, dammit!” the Doctor shouted.
“What surgery are you doing?!” I shouted after him.
“Operating Room 3 is the only room with a DVD player. We’ll have to pump him full with as many Frasier episodes as we can! O’Brien, get Season 3, it’s definitely the best!”
“FRASIER?!” cried my husband, trailing us. “That show isn’t funny!”
“GET HIM OUT OF HERE!”
“DON’T YOU DARE PUT FRASIER EPISODES INTO MY SON!”
The Doctor stopped running and turned to face my husband. “Anyone who doesn’t see the comic insight and irony in Frasier is, unfortunately, more than just a carrier.”
“You’re infected.” He glanced at me. “I’m so sorry.” He continued down the hallway.
“OH MY GOD!” I screamed at my husband. “You’re not funny?! Did you know this?! Did you know this when you slept with me!? When we got married?! OH MY GOD, WHAT HAVE YOU DONE?!”
“I am too funny! Doctor, put on Two and a Half Men for my son!”
Everyone in the hallway groaned.
“Dear Christ!” I gasped. “If I’d known you were one of those, I never would have married you, let alone had a baby with you!”
I ran to the operating room entrance. A Nurse blocked my way.
“Don’t show him the train episode – it’s filler!” I shrieked into the room. The Nurse pushed me back.
“Ma’am, he’s a medical professional. He knows what he’s doing.”
The wait was agonizing. My husband and I couldn’t even look at each other. We didn’t even recognize each other anymore.
Hours passed. Nurses carried Everybody Loves Raymond DVDs, South Park DVDs, and Monty Python VHSs. When I saw the latter I knew it was hopeless.
“We tried everything we could,” said the Doctor, taking off his medical gloves.
“I’m so sorry, Mr. and Mrs. Baldwin. Your son sucks.”