I’ve never in my life changed a dirty diaper. I view this as one of my crowning achievements, considering I grew up with five siblings, my mom ran a daycare center in the house, and I have six nieces and nephews. I’ve been around a lot of babies in my day and yet, with the stealthiness of a germaphobic ninja, I always eluded danger whenever the stench of putrid soiled Pampers wafted suddenly through the air. I’ve had to go to great lengths to shirk this responsibility: Jump out windows, fake heart attacks, stab myself in the stomach with a steak knife to change the subject, but mostly, when a baby crapped himself in my presence, I just called to the nearest woman.
But now, with twins on the way, I fear I have been backed into a corner and I can’t escape. My years on the lam must now come to an end. I feel like Harrison Ford at the end of the Fugitive. My wife told me last night that she’ll be teaching me how to properly change a diaper using a baby doll as a stand in. I must become an expert in the next month, apparently. I guess when the heat is on and the babies are real and they’re cranking out poo like an assembly line from hell, she’s not going to have any time for me to be fumbling and bumbling around.
The thing is, I’m not too worried about the technical aspects of the operation. I feel like I can handle that. What I really need to know is this: When I’m staring down at a diaper full of digested Gerber, do I utilize the no-breath or shallow-breath technique? I’ve faced this dilemma with many a rank restroom and I’ve tested both strategies. When you’re forced to use the facilities at a truck stop or a Roy Rogers or a radio station (worst of the three, trust me) you may think it best to hold your breath. This is high risk/high reward. If you make it in and out without having to replenish your lungs, you win. Whatever toxic gasses were lingering in there never got a chance to introduce themselves to your nostrils. But what if it takes you longer to complete your business than you anticipated? When you can’t hold it any longer you’re forced to take a deep, sudden breath and suck in every poisonous molecule in the atmosphere. A tragic miscalculation. I’ve known people who have held their breath for too long, refusing to breathe in the fecal fumes, and suffered irreversible neurological damage due to lack of oxygen to the brain. I once knew a guy who held it so long that he passed out and drowned in the urinal. It was the most hilarious funeral service I’ve ever attended. May he rest in pee. I mean peace.
To avoid such misfortunes, shallow, controlled breathing is recommended. I am going to assume that diaper changes warrant the same technique. Of course this could all be avoided if my wife would get on board with teaching the kids how to use the litter box. If a cat can figure it out, I’m sure they can. I know it may defy certain arbitrary social conventions about how you “shouldn’t treat your children like pets”. But I’m an outside the box thinker. A visionary. A pioneer. And, most importantly, I just really hate dealing with poop.