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We were babies once … and dumb

| Friday, May 15, 2020

We were babies once … and dumb.

If we’d been left alone, we would’ve hurt ourselves.

But no longer. Now we are adults … and smart.

Yes, there was a time when we were babies. When we got hungry, we wouldn’t make ourselves sandwiches. We would just cry until somebody brought us food. We were babies. We were dumb.

But now — yes, now — we make our own sandwiches. We cry about the economy. We are not babies, and, dare I say, we are not dumb.

When we were babies … when we were dumb … we couldn’t read or write because we had no concept of language. We couldn’t walk either, so we’d roll around on the floor like idiots.

And look at us now, we the not-babies, we the adults. We walk often. Occasionally, we even run. F––k, some of us will go so far as to ride bicycles & boogie boards. We’re f—king brilliant, motherf—kers, aren’t we!

Not like when we were babies. When we were babies, we couldn’t breathe all that well, so we’d cry — which is dumb.

Yet, now, as adults, we can breathe and speak, and every single one of us knows what turpentine is. Do you know what turpentine is? If not, you must be a baby.

Soon we may have both houses and babies of our own, which means we’ll have to baby-proof our houses. This is because we (adults) are smart, and babies are dumb. We don’t have to worry about that yet though. We can go and live in houses, apartments, closets and cars, spaces no baby could ever last. You know why? Because we’re adults, you stupid f—king baby.

Have you ever seen a baby flying a plane?

Did you know babies can’t even chew? They have no teeth? Dumb.

Did you know babies have small ears? This is just an observation.

But there was a point in time when we too were toothless, tiny-eared babies. There was a time when we had no social skills, so when friends would invite us to their poetry readings, we would not smile (nod politely) and say, “You know I’d really love to go, but my parents are in town and … er .. um … uh … Good luck!”

We’d just stare at our friends like little pieces of s—t. We couldn’t help it. We were babies: so dumb.

It’s no wonder every single one of us has purchased a subscription The New Yorker (smart), just so we can read about how dumb we were as babies.

Nowadays, long form arts and culture journalism is our only option. We have no recollection of what it was like to be a baby. We were too dumb to develop long-term memories.

Not that there was much to recall. We slept, mostly. Thinking made us tired.

But now — if only baby us could see us now! — they could see how we resign to sleep, mostly. Thinking makes us tired.

We adults sleep soundly though. We know (thanks to our refined sense of object permanence) that our significant other who’s recently decided [he, she, they] decide to go away for a while, to find [himself, herself, themselves] will return come morning. We’re not idiots! Only babies would be that dumb.

Before [he, she, they] returns, we’ll go and look at some contemporary art. We’ll pretend to understand. This is not something we would do if we were babies. If we were babies, we’d be visibly confused.

No need to be confused now, though. We (unlike babies) have a sense of our own mortality. Isn’t it f—king wonderful! I’m so glad we’re no longer dumb.

I’m so glad we’ve become capable of forming meaningful relationships with our peers, wonderful people like [him, her, them] with whom we can share the breadth of our intellectual reserves.

Plus, we make great consultants (consulting firms hate babies)!

The other day, I asked my friend Mike (a biology major) if we are smart, and Mike said, “Yes Mike, we are smart. We’re not babies anymore. We’re not dumb.” Mike is smart. I trust Mike.

When elephants are born, they walk.

When giraffes are born, they fall a meter to the ground. Then they walk.

When sea turtles are born, they waddle toward the sea.

Zebras can run within the first 45 minutes of life.

Even baby plants grow toward the sun.

When we were babies, once, we did none of these things.

We were so dumb.

I guess it makes sense then that we spend our post-baby existence making the world a living hell for [elephants, giraffes, seas turtles, zebras, plants, him, her, them]. We get jealous.

I mean, we’re college graduates — adults!

Why wouldn’t we put our smartness to good use?

We may have been babies once … and dumb … but times have changed.

We’re adults now.

It’s time we start acting like it.*









* see: NPR, Alcohol. [He, She, They]: gone.

Michael “Donny” Donovan is graduating from The University of Notre Dame Du Lac with a degree in English and Business Analytics. He’d like to thank his friends, family, several pretty important records and a few good words for egging him on, cooking up the whole college thing sunny side up. 

The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.

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About Mike Donovan

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