An Open Letter to My Umbilical
I believe every fetus should have a plan. So, dear Umbilical Cord,
I will share mine with you (you being the only one I can really talk to).
You do not have a brain and thus were not my first choice,
but my two dads and your two moms weren’t listening.
Are you ready? Will you listen? Fab. U. Lous.
Now, first things first. Starting next week, I will only allow
Red Bull and protein shakes to feed my substantial ambitions.
Don’t bother with vitamins and goodness—I have had my fill.
I plan on being born before my older siblings. Just before
my due date, the wind, the rain, and the sun will seek my advice
about what they can do for Mother Earth and humanity. And me.
They will put ultrasound pictures of me in medical textbooks, and
I will be born fully weaned, with no attachment to bottle or breast or nipple.
I will be born with all my teeth. Instead of teething, I will invent the Tooth Fairy
so the Western World can sleep better at night.
I will walk before I crawl.
My first words will not be “Ma-Ma” or “Goo-goo” but “Gender Equality.”
I will win the first-grade Spelling Bee by spelling “I am a pompous ass.”
I will get to second base before entering middle school
and home plate before I accept my PhD from my high school principal
who will insist that I call him by his Christian name.
Were you ready? Can you listen? Nifty.
I will be the first Canadian to be an All-American.
I will dodge the draft in Vietnam with room to spare.
I will not be the first man on the moon—I was raised to be chivalrous.
I will invent Glasnost and give Gorbachev a better haircut.
I will start the dot-com boom with a piece of gum and a matchstick.
I will start a band. I will call it ElvisBeatlePinkFloydRollingStoneU2.
I will convince Kurt Cobain life is worth living, and
I will inspire millions to go to college so they can learn about me.
My teeth will be white and my bum will. Not. Smell.
I will stand in no-man’s-land and talk the nations down from nuclear annihilation.
I will advise (or marry) Presidents to push my foreign policy through.
I will moonlight as an Economic Stimulus Package.
I will be thanked in every acceptance speech for every Nobel Prize.
Children will trust me, and babies will smile at me as they fill their diapers.
Were we ready? Did we listen? Wow.
I will invent Google, Facebook, and YouTube. Sometimes, just for fun,
I will bounce Bill Gates’ paycheque to, you know, remind him who’s who.
I will doodle the solution to world hunger on a cocktail napkin, and
tip the cute bartender with the key to world peace and harmony.
(Oh, here’s a sneak-preview: Hey, You. Stop. Being. So. Selfish.)
In my tent on some distant desert all the world’s religions will drink my tea
and discover that, hey, we can all get along!
I will have a six pack. They will paint me on romance novels.
OJ Simpson and Eminem will eat my hors d’oeuvres and chat
about feminist issues and ending domestic violence.
I will look the Arab world in the eye about human trafficking,
nail closed forever the doors of the Asian sweat-shops.
On a lazy Monday, I will stamp out corruption in every corner of the globe
by setting my Swatch to “Africa Time.”
I will free the slaves, end the civil wars, and pay every last person a fair wage.
And do it in style, because you never get a second chance
to fix a stupid first impression.
How can we be ready? Will anyone listen? Oh my, oh my, oh my.
There’s a niggling worry in the back of this brain that I’m going to pay
for all that crap I’ve been stuffing myself with.
I might discover that the world I’m going to paint in bright, shiny denial
isn’t so full of answers as it is desperation.
And even if I invent a new f-bomb, a razor-sharp four-letter epithet
that turns sailors blue and makes nuns blush,
I might find that this world will have grown rather fond
of that old, dirty, comfortable substitute for civilized conversation.
Maybe I’ll decide that’s okay. Then I won’t have to ask for permission
to add extra syrup shots to my venti non-fat lactose-free baby-fed caramel macchiato.
Double-cupped, please, and with extra whipped cream. And a big, fat cherry.
And if that’s okay, I’ll be fine with Wal-Mart selling out
of the third-world orphans and crack babies they’d been flogging.
I know they’ll roll back the price on the next. Miserable. Batch.
Do we have the lowest price? Oh, yes, indeed—we checked!
Someday, Belly Button, you and I will toast to goodness and faith and harmony
with champagne stolen from Greenpeace and UNICEF.
It’ll be. Really. Great.
Or, maybe not. Maybe not great at all.
Maybe when I notice grey hairs in places they weren’t grey before
and Planet Earth has moved on from the Gospel of Twitter
maybe I’ll see that gorging on and being force-fed
so many versions of Truth with a capital “T”
always disrupts the digestion.
Maybe I’ll be born in this big, bad arena amidst the gnashing of teeth
and discover why this world doesn’t pay much mind
to mouthy, suburban white boys who tend to repeat themselves.
Who tend to repeat themselves.
Who tend to…
But most importantly, dearest Umbilical Cord, maybe I’ll realize
that I should have been listening to you and your brilliant placenta
who had all the answers,
if only I’d asked.