by Mike McHugh
A friend recently told me that you could get a certificate officially recognizing you as an Honorary Cajun. I want to apply.
I’ve got to do something. Yankee Land has disowned me, probably because of the negative things I’ve written about New Jersey. Never mind that it’s all true; they believe that I’ve caused the North more damage than Robert E. Lee, or even that Yankee politician, Anthony Wiener.
That makes me an orphan, culturally speaking, and so I’m hoping for the South to adopt me. An Honorary Cajun certificate would be a major step toward that goal.
But according to my friend, I still have some work to do in order to claim this honor. For one thing, she says that Cajun men always pay attention to babies. I don’t see how they do it.
I mean, how does a guy interact with a baby? I can’t ask him what he does for a living, talk trash about the upcoming football game, or discuss the prospects for the Dow Jones. Usually, I can’t even tell if it’s a he or a she. It puts me in an awkward place, much like certain bars in New Orleans.
Should I pay the baby a compliment? What do I say, that it’s cute? All babies are cute. Even Newt Gingrich, I’m sure, started out in life as being cute. To comment on a baby’s cuteness is like commenting on the roundness of a bowling ball.
I notice how people—women especially—will often praise babies for doing things that would be considered grotesque for more mature people. Like burping. Mom pats her baby on the back, and it lets out a healthy belch. All the ladies then fawn, “Ohhh, what a nice, big, burp!” Gals, you need to be careful about that. Babies are impressionable. Boys, especially, will often expect this same feedback well into adulthood.
In my mind, babies just don’t do anything that I would deem worthy of praise. I’m not trying to be callous, here; it’s just that they’re not yet capable. I’ll admit; they can do a few things that I can’t, like stick their toes in their mouth. As for me, given my taste for smoked sausage and crawfish etouffee, I can barely see my toes much less reach them to my lips, should I become taken by the strange desire.
My wife suggested that I might try to make them giggle. “You’re good at getting laughs,” she said. “Just play to your strengths.” My attempts, however, did not meet with success.
You should have seen the look on one mother’s face when I approached her baby and said, “Okay, these two guys walk into a bar…”
My wife tried to correct me. “No silly, try tickling the baby or making a funny face.”
“I don’t know,” I answered her. “Remember how that worked out the last time I tried it.”
“I remember,” she said. “Next time just don’t do it while the priest is giving his sermon.”
My problem may be that I don’t have any grandchildren to practice on. My wife offered to get me a baby doll for the purpose, but I refused, knowing that it would be grounds for revocation of my Man Card.
Man Card versus Honorary Cajun. No guy should ever be put in that position.