Saturday, May 11


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THE HUMOR OF MELVIN DURAI
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"SHARING THE PRIVILEGES OF PREGNANCY"

In recent years, it has become trendy for men with expectant wives to say, "We're pregnant." It's their way of sharing the pregnancy, being part of the wonderful experience. I've never tried this, because my wife would quickly put me in my place: "I'm pregnant. You, my dear, are just a spectator."

Indeed, I feel more like a spectator than anything else -- though the instructor at our childbirth classes keeps calling me a "coach." I'm supposed to coach my wife when she's in labor. I can't even coach her when she's in ecstasy. I have no coaching experience whatsoever. Couldn't we hire Phil Jackson or someone?

Truth is, I want to be more than just a coach or spectator. I want to be pregnant. The world's first pregnant man.

Yes, I want to have a big stomach. I want to wear maternity clothes. I want to walk like Daffy Duck.

Don't get me wrong. I don't want to actually bear a child, unless I can get someone else to bear the pain. I just want to carry the baby around for several months before birth, while my wife caters to my every need. "Honey, this pregnancy is stressing me out," I'd say. "I really need to relax. Can we watch some football tonight? Perhaps you can rub my feet, too, as soon as you've finished massaging my back."

Yes, I want to enjoy the privileges of pregnancy, as described recently in BabyTalk magazine. I want to walk onto a bus and ask a man to give up his seat for me. If he hesitates and asks, "Why?" I want to look right into his eyes and say, "Because I could pop a baby any moment and don't want to do it standing up! Is that a good enough reason for you?"

I want to ask my mail carrier to bring the letters right up to my door. If he complains that he has a lot of mail to deliver, I want to point to my belly and say, "How would you like to deliver a baby instead?"

I want to have cravings, dozens of cravings I have no control over. I want to order pizza seven days in a row -- and just for breakfast. I want to have ice cream for lunch, gulab jamuns for dinner, and steak for a midnight snack. If my wife says I'm eating too much, I want to reply, "Stop complaining. I'm not eating all this food for myself. I'm eating for the baby. If I don't eat more pizza, the baby might starve. Do you want that to happen?"

I want to park in the "expectant mothers" spot at my local grocery store, so I can rush in and get whatever I'm craving. I want to ask the store clerk to carry my groceries to the car, because I'm already carrying quite a load.

I want strangers to ask me when I'm due and if it's a boy or girl. I want to enjoy the shame on their faces when I say, "I'm NOT pregnant. I've just been eating pizza for breakfast."

Of course, all these privileges are nothing compared to the hardships of childbirth, as any woman would rightfully tell you. It's just another reason to appreciate mothers. They may enjoy a few privileges along the way, but in the end we're the ones who should feel privileged.
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(c) Copyright 2002 Melvin Durai. All Rights Reserved.

Melvin Durai is an Indiana-based writer and humorist. A native of India, he grew up in Zambia and moved to the U.S. in the early 1980s. Read his previous columns at http://www.melvindurai.com
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