(Comedian Greg Fitzsimmons will be posting here for the rest of the week, leading up to his Comedy Central Presents half-hour special tomorrow at 9p / 8c.)
GIVING IT TO THE WIFE THE OLD FASHIONED WAY
Over the last three generations, my family has ascended from peasants in famine ravaged Ireland at the end of the last century, to members of America's educated upper middle class at the beginning of this century. So there is little I can do in my lifetime to advance the family's lot, short of becoming President or having a Scotch named after me.
Five years ago this reality haunted me every night as I tried to get my wife, Erin, pregnant: Have I earned the right to bring a new generation into this world? Do I have the resources to improve on what has come before me, or will I be responsible for the Fitzsimmons family flat lining socially and financially? My wife could tell I wasn't ready. Because I was still using condoms.
I began noticing articles in the science section of the newspaper–weird stories about the new options available to couples wishing to have not only healthy babies, but really GREAT babies. It is now possible to purchase a model's egg online. Just knowing that excited me. Having unsuccessfully spent most of my life trying to get access to the vagina of a supermodel, now not only can I have access to it, I can own a piece of it and she will mail it to my house. Also available online: an Ivy League student's sperm, super pre-natal vitamin packs, and nine months of rental space in the uterus of a six-foot aerobics instructor from Fort Lauderdale.
But now we don't need to be limited by my 5'8", 150 lb., C+ average DNA. Not when five hundred bucks will get me a fistful of Harvard sperm. Ivy League School newspapers are filled with ads offering hundreds of dollars for students to whack off. (These may in fact be Harvard students, but you have to assume these ads are not drawing students who are Magna Cum Laude. More like Magna cum cheaply). If they had paid me for beating off in college, I could have retired after senior year. Comfortably. One night, my roommate Brad offered me $25 to NOT jerk off. I told him to keep his filthy money. (You can't put a price on joy).
The more I thought about it, the more I realized what a disservice I would be doing to my child by busting a nut the old fashioned way–throwing him into the ring with other kids who have been weaned by science. Sure it sounds quaint now-my wife and I in love, making love, "fruit of our loins" and all that bullsh*t. But the bar is clearly being raised. Some day when my perfectly normal kid can't make the football team, get laid or pass ninth grade, he's going to be looking straight at me, "Thanks a lot Johnny Ethical. It's been great watching the 21st century pass me by like I‚Äôm a drunken Indian. Was $500 that hard to come up with? Look at me! I'm 5'9". I'm the smallest kid in my class by 7 inches! The other kids call me 1978.'
And yet, as I mused on all of this, I continued trying to plant my seed as my forefathers had–grunting it out in a sweaty pile of shame, using only cheap scotch and veiled threats as foreplay. We were successful twice–a boy and a girl. Both beautiful, healthy and seemingly on par with kids their age. But that could change quickly as they get older. So why did we forgo modern science and do it the old fashioned way? Am I nostalgic? Cheap? Comfortable? Why would I not do everything in my power to give my babies the best possible odds for success? I'll tell you why: Control. What if I did assemble all the necessary ingredients for the "Uber Child"? Eventually I would lose control over my little creation. By age 12 or 13, he would be taller, stronger and smarter than I could ever be.
"Son, be home by 11."
"Oh, really Dad? Can you even count that high?"
"You watch the way you talk to me…. Sorry son. Put me down… Please."
One thing my father taught me–and I'm sure his father taught him–was don't let your kid rise up on you. You must keep your family in line. So there it is. My children will never be at the top of their class, the best looking or the strongest. But they will have respect for their parents. If not, I will beat their skinny pale little asses right into the emergency room. And if I am lucky, they won't have their 7-foot friends come after me.