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Marx Brothers and Child Birth September 27, 2009

Posted by Bill in Memories, Personal, Uncategorized.
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Now my wife and I agree on most things – religion, money, politics, and so forth.  But there is one huge issue that has been a chink in our marital harmony and bliss. 

I love the Marx Brothers and she does not. 

In fact she has a rather irrational dislike for them.

When we were dating and  first married she wasn’t like this.  She was not wild about the Marx Brothers, but she didn’t dislike them either.  Kind of a neutral “they’re OK’.  I thought I could work with that.  You know how it is, you go into a marriage knowing that there are some things that your spouse is wrong about but you figure you have all the time in the world to change her. 

Boy, was I wrong.

I took her to Marx Brothers film festivals.  Watched the TV on late night  showings of Marx Brothers movies.  I talked to her about them and told her how fabulously funny they were both on and off the set.  I bought books about the Marx Brothers.  But none of that moved her beyond “They’re OK.”  Until the birth of our first daughter.

Now, my wife and I are approaching old fogeyhood.  Which means that at the time of our first daughters birth there were no such things as VCR’s much less DVD’s and cable shows that you could record.  Which, of course, meant that you couldn’t buy your favorite movies, nor tape them on TV.  When they showed, they showed, and if you missed them, you missed them.   

Now I won’t go into the frantic rush to the hospital through wild torrential rains, howling winds, fallen tree blocked streets, reports of tornadoes, getting lost in the night and having our first child in the car just outside the hospital.  Mainly because none of that happened. 

The weather was nice and we got to the hospital and were admitted in good time.  The only real glitch was our nurse.  Its funny, our nurse in the civilian hospital acted like a military drill sergeant.  Our nurse for our second child who was born in a military hospital was very kind and caring and patient.  So much for stereotypes.  But I’ll let my wife tell about that.

However I will say that childbirth is apparently a very trying and painful experience.  I am a keen observor and notice little details like that.  Add to that a drill sergeant nurse and my wife was definitely stressed.  Fortunately though they had a TV that you could watch between contractions – at least until the soon to be mother was dilated enough to wheel into the room where the actuall birthing would take place. 

Now between holding my wife’s hand, timing contractions,  offering encouragement and refraining from offering advice (at least after that first time) I noticed that the TV was there.  I also noticed the time.  I also remembered that one of the TV stations was showing a Marx Brother film – A Night at the Opera. 

Now noticing my wife’s stress and thinking that she needed something to take her mind off the discomfort and the pain I, being the  supporting and thoughful husband that I am, of course turned the TV on to A Night at the Opera.  We had missed the very beginning but not by much.  In fact the very funny stateroom scene on the ocean liner was about to come on.

Now at first my wife did not seem to notice the TV was even on – I believe I turned it on during one of the contractions.  But afterwards I pointed out to my wife that a Night at the Opera was on.  She didn’t say anything but did give me a rather … strange look.    But that was OK.  I figured that when we got to the stateroom scene she would start to really appreciate what I had done.  A good laugh makes any situation better.

However the stateroom scene came and went and while I laughed she didn’t.   In fact she glared at me.  But that was OK.  I figured that sometimes these things take some time and that by they time they wheeled her into the birthing room she would be laughing away.  Not only that but our daughter, because of this, would be beaming and smiling when born and instead of a cry we would hear laughter. 

Boy, was I wrong.

Instead when it came time to wheel my wife in to the birthing room she still had not laughed.  In fact I think she had made some rather rude remarks but I am not sure.  You know how it is with a good Marx Brothers movie. 

Anyway when they started to wheel her into the birthing room I quickly realized that I faced a cruel dilemna.  They were just starting the climatic opera scence.  I love that scene.  So I asked the drill nurse if they could wheel the TV along with my wife into the birthing room.  She gave me a withering glance and snapped no.  My wife made another rude comment. 

So, as they were wheeling my wife away I stood there going “Marx Brothers, birth of first daughter?  Marx Brothers, birth of first daughter?”  I eventually decided on the birth of my first daughter and after a last lingering glance at Groucho on the balcony going “Boogie, boogie, boogie” I left to witness the birth of my first daughter (almost too late). 

However even though she eventually got over being mad at me her “I’m  OK with the Marx Brothers” changed to be an active dislike of them.   I had not only failed to win her over but had somehow made the situation worse.  I still don’t understand how such a helpful action on my part could be so unappreciated.

But I am consoled in the fact that both of my daughters love the Marx Brothers.

“Let the joy be unconfined.  Let there be dancing in the streets, drinking in the saloons, and necking in the parlor.”



1. omawarisan - September 27, 2009

I watched the Blue Jays and the Twins while awaiting the birth of my son. You know, come to think of it, that was the first time I ever had to explain to my wife why I’d watch a game involving cities I have no connection to. She hasn’t been all that tolerant of that sort of thing since.

All the same, I’d have loved to see Night at the Opera or Horse Feathers.

2. befuddled2 - September 27, 2009

Its nice to know that I am not alone in my experience. Must be something about the child birth experience for women.

While I greatly enjoy both Night at the Opera and Horse Feathers my favorite is Duck Soup.

3. omawarisan - September 28, 2009

Yes, Duck Soup! Like you, I raised my son correctly. He somehow found the song Fredonia is Going to War and we both have it on our iPods.

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