One time I saw a mother pushing a perambulator down the street—she was strolling, which maybe is why North Americans sometimes call perambulators “strollers.” But recently I’ve been seeing a lot of mothers running with perambulators. And often they have a dog or three panting alongside of them on leashes.
When you own multiple children and pets, you take up more space on the sidewalk; because you’re not just one single human walking thru the neighborhood: you’re a miniature parade featuring whole tribes of exotic beings and creatures, proceeding at a rapid speed to your destination.
But where are they going, these mothers who run on sidewalks with multiple pets and a stroller that’s built to carry more than X number of children? I’ll tell you where they’re going. They’re going to the comedy club.
Fifteen small, round tables are scattered in front of a stage; and customers sit at these tables and order beverages while expecting to be entertained by the person in the spotlight.
Now here’s what interests me: the one who stands on the stage also owns a perambulator. She has children and pets; however, they are elsewhere at present: for this mother’s job is to entertain all of the other children’s mothers.
I think that it would be hard to come up with the right words to say, if your profession were to stand on stage for the purpose of amusing other mothers. There are so many different kinds of mothers—I’m sure that they don’t all find the same things funny. Plus, think of it: your entire audience has experienced the miracle of childbirth; so silly monologues are small potatoes to them. I bet that’s a tough gig.
Bachelors are easy to make laugh, because they’re always drunk. All they need is to hear the merest setup to a joke and they’re more than prepared to burst into peals of jollity at its punchline.
But, before mothers will even consider cracking a smile, their pastor must work a bit, win them over: remind them of the lighter side of survival—for, besides raising all three dogs and children, mothers have to comb and bathe every creature, plus finish the accounting, hose off the stroller, and reply to various political correspondences. The comedy club is therefore serious business.
And just think how it is, if you’re the mother who, after sweating thru all of the aforesaid chores, must additionally perform a routine to please other mothers. You might vow never to drink more than your evening glass of wine; but that glass, over time, becomes a bowl that you sip from all day.
Then, when your life finally ends, the Last Judgment reveals to you the truth about your routine’s comedic value. All of those years of monologues, night after night; each and every joke is now reviewed individually, in the most solemn silence of the eternal courtroom:
It’s not pleasant to find out that less than twelve percent of your material was funny. Of course you appeal: “But what about the nonstop laughs—don’t they prove that my show was a hit?” And you’re told: “Those who laughed are all in Hell for having bad taste.”
This is why it’s important, when choosing an afterlife, to find one that’s right for you. For instance, if you’re a mother moonlighting as a comedian, you don’t want your work to be judged by a humorless father. Just consider the mother whose job it is to be God.