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Yes, You're Pregnant, But What About Me?
At fifty-three, Kevin Nealon thought he had it all: a massive international celebrity with legions of loyal fans; a fabulous modeling career; hundreds of millions of dollars in the bank; and the most recognizable face on the planet. Nealon had accomplished the impossible: a thirty-year career in show business with only limited trips to rehab. But just like every other celebrity, he felt that was not enough. The perpetually insatiable Nealon wanted more, and for him "more" meant a little addition that drooled, burped, and pooped (no, not a Pomeranian).
Now, in his first-ever book, Nealon tells the outrageous story of how he battled through aching joints, Milano cookie cravings, and a rapidly receding hairline to become a first-time dad at an age when most fathers are packing their kids off to college. Offering hysterical commentary about his fickle, often hormonal, road to belated and bloated fatherhood, Nealon guides you through the delivery room and beyond, discussing how his past, his wife, and his neuroses all converged in a montage of side-splitting insecurities during the months leading up to the birth of his son.
In Yes, You're Pregnant, But What About Me?, Nealon details his trip through all the emotional stages of pregnancy—uncomfortable, denial, hungry, sleepy, self-conscious, hungrier, confused, cranky, not-quite-as-hungry but still craving something, sweaty, covered in cookie crumbs—all while struggling to keep his blood pressure down and find the time to read the latest issue of the AARP Bulletin. Wrestling with the dilemmas and fears that fathers have been dealing with for centuries (Can I duct-tape a crib together? How often can I reuse a disposable diaper? What if the baby looks like me and not my wife?), Nealon never fails to entertain with the frequent lunacy and inevitable joy that punctuate his story about parenthood.
Laugh-out-loud funny and remarkably poignant, Nealon's entertaining perspective and his wealth of sarcasm provide a take on fatherhood that is as fresh as it is universal, always reminding you that half the fun of being a parent is getting there.
One-twenty over Eighty
I've always been a late bloomer. I didn't start dating until college. I didn't move away from home until twenty-three. I was in my mid-forties when I started to shave, and I think only last month I started using the term, "dude."
I'm not proud of being a late bloomer, but at this point, it's a reality I've come to terms with. It wasn't so much that I was unprepared for any of these life events, it was more that the time never really seemed right. I mean come on, who ever "wants" to learn how to balance a checkbook? Or invest in stock or buy life insurance? Or unclog a toilet with a plunger? These are not things that most people do for fun . . . except of course using a plunger.
Given this slow trend on my part, it should not come as a shock that I came to fatherhood late in life too—at age fifty-three to be precise. Unlike most of my late blooming, I actually wanted to become a father. I couldn't say why, it was just always something that I knew. Of course in practice the thought was terrifying, but still I liked the idea of it. I thought the word dad had a nice ring to it and I wouldn't mind if someone used it in reference to me, preferably my child. Like most men who decide to become fathers I thought, How hard could it be? You walk through the supermarket and look all the other people with kids and think, Okay if he's a "dad" and he's wearing a wallet chain and carrying a skateboard, then I can probably pull this off too.
Everyone has different reasons for wanting to be a parent, and everyone's journey is unique. For some it began on a honeymoon, for others in a petri dish, and for some perhaps it was merely the result of a wardrobe malfunction. As for me, my journey to child rearing began in a far less scandalous way and in a far more scandalous place: on a chance visit to a gypsy palm reader in Atlantic City.
I was newly single and reeling from my divorce with my former wife. Like most stories that involve gypsies, this one took place on a blisteringly cold night as I strolled numbly along the desolate Atlantic City boardwalk. In a few short months, this very spot would be crawling with obese, sunburned, drunk tourists eating crisp, greasy summer food. Screaming kids would be whipping around on the Tilt-a-Whirl in the nearby amusement park, while teenagers would stand idly by intimidating adults with their sarcasm, chain-smoking packs of American Spirit and trying to convince members of the opposite sex that they were cool.
Maybe if I were to walk this same stretch in a few months, the Miss America pageant would be taking place. Maybe as I walked by the venue, Miss Idaho or Miss New Jersey would be outside on a break, smoking a butt or sticking a finger down her throat. Maybe she would ask me if I had a light or a mint, and then maybe we would have struck up a conversation about world peace. Maybe I would have impressed her with my worldliness by flashing the ten euros I had in my wallet from a trip to Euro Disney two years earlier. Maybe we would have talked about teeth whiteners and the merits of flossing.
But it wasn't July. It was February. And in Atlantic City in February there's none of that. Instead of summer sand blowing across the sunbaked wooden planks of the boardwalk, it was now dry snow and sleet whipped into a frenzy by an offshore gale. Most of the small, crappy tourist shops that sold the summer crap food and crappy T-shirts were boarded up for the season and the wooden walkway was now covered with a thin sheet of dark ice. In hindsight, I guess I should have told someone I was venturing off on this bleak and ominous excursion, so that they could have stopped me, but I didn't, and so here I was. This may have been why I ducked into a hole in the wall with a small flickering neon sign outside that read "Miss Edana's Palm Reading," but to tell you the truth, I really have no idea what made me go in there. Perhaps it was just to have someone to talk to. Someone to tell me some good news, someone to give me hope and encouragement that I would meet someone else and be happy again. And if none of that, maybe just someone to assure me that my hands weren't really frostbitten.
In retrospect, I'm not entirely sure why I thought a gypsy would bring me good news. Movies, which form the bulk of my preconceived notions about things and the basis for all of my cultural stereotypes, always seem to portray gypsies as the bearers of bad news. They are the soothsayers and prophets whose visions are always the grimmest and least pleasant. Not to mention the fact that they steal babies and con unsuspecting tourists (or so I've heard).
From Miss Edana's demeanor, I assumed she might be an Irish gypsy. She was wearing a lot of "wrapped" garments—stuff you would normally find draped over the back of a couch at your grandmother's: an afghan, a shawl, a half-knitted sweater, two cats, and various other laundry that was not put away. Her looped earrings were so big I expected a Cirque du Soleil performer to land on one at any time, and makeup covered every inch of her face. With an eyebrow pencil she had colored on a fake beauty mark just off the left side of her nose and above the corner of her mouth. It's really the only good place for a beauty mark. One would not look good placed directly under the eye or on the chin. It would look more like a fly had landed on your face.
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