My whole life has been a quest for approval.
In elementary and middle school, I wanted the teachers to acknowledge my impressibly limitless potential. I wanted them to say to themselves: "That girl can spell four-syllable words. She should have more social capital than she does now." Then I'd come back 10 years later and be all, "Oh, I'm just on vacation from my Rhodes-Yale-Investment-Banker scholarship. Yeah, I know you're teaching. The kids can wait."
Of course, that never happened. In reality, any teacher young enough to be teaching 10 years later inevitably ends up marrying and becoming a "homemaker." It's just that type. Like I can remember their names anyway.
The rest of my life is just one long over-achieving blur. Teachers, bosses, admissions counselors for schools I wouldn't be caught dead at. (The Grinnell guy took some work because he caught me yelling at my mom before the interview started. But I wouldn't have gone there anyway). I even wanted the double-parked jerk customers at my Starbucks to like me.
I thought I had gotten past that. But then I was confronted with a universal truth, and that is that the end of the day, all we want is for one ultra-cute baby to like us.
Either that, or I'm just as needy as I was before I started therapy. Also a possibility considering that my therapist mostly advises me on what healthy things I can spread on my bagels.
Seriously. Babies are amazing. I don't see alot of babies -- I have to make do with Family Guy and pinching the cheek of the occasional midget. So I was totally bowled over by my cousin's baby when she and her family came up from Portland for the weekend. Here's how the interactions went.
(Baby bangs on her water bottle with a plastic spoon.)That's why I think that the only thing that can unite this country is sending a baby to the White House.
Me: Do you see that? She's going to be that guy who drummed for Nirvana and later started the Foo Fighters!
(Baby tries to puts bits of deviled egg in her mouth.)
Me: Omigod. It is totally almost eating.
(Baby struggles to place the lid on her tupperware container.)
Me: (reverently) You are so ambitious.
We all know there are people who wouldn't vote for women, or Jews, or handicapped Jews of color. But what kind of heartless person would try to sabotage the political agenda of a baby?
I mean, would you see Mitch McConnell or Jay Boehner going on TV and railing against a cute, cuddly baby? It would never happen! Everyone would be all, "Dude, what is wrong with you? Don't you like babies?"
And Sarah Palin would never get away with accusing a baby of "pallin' around with terrorists." Because then the baby's mother would say, "Are you trying to tell me my breast is a terrorist?" And she'd lose all the votes of NARAL and security moms and fade into rural Alaskan stiletto-healed obscurity.
Now I'm not saying it would work with any baby. That would be crazy. It would only work with babies who had cute color-coordinated outfits and little unruly tufts of hair. One of those Ronald Reagan-type babies who always see the bright side of things.
This is an untapped majority, people. I mean, there is no way someone would look at a sweet little baby dressed in little American flag feetie pajamas -- maybe with a campaign slogan like "Me sowwy about the wecession!" -- and not vote for him.
And think of all the money we'd save on Air Force One. All they'd have to do is specially decorate a spoon to look like an airplane and aim it at the baby's mouth during its feedings. Leaders of the free world will eat their strained peas if you make it fun.
Most important, there would be no humiliating TV interviews with Katie Couric. People would say, "Hey! Stop grilling that baby!"