One thing I worry about a lot is Hasids. Those Hasids have got first-rate mystics. They’ve got mystics you seriously would not want to mess with. What those Hasid mystics say is that from every act of sex a child is born, if not here, then in the invisible world.
Naturally this worries me a lot.
And I think that I had better take it easy now and study up and brace myself because after death there’s going to be, whoa baby, a tidal wave of sudden fatherhood.
Like an old tomcat beneath a tree I die forgotten and alone, and wake to find myself within a cavernous stadium. DADDY! Booms the crowd and stampedes toward me.
Let me explain! I had no idea! I never thought!
Like every father, I make excuses.
I shudder now as I imagine the hunger of my nine thousand nine hundred ninety nine children, born into the invisible world from backrooms and public johns, from cubicles and shower stalls, from steam rooms and alleys. That savage smut-nosed tribe of guttersnipes and urchins, of pyromaniacs and narcissists and honor students gone AWOL. The steaming breath of children conceived in the sauna. The all-seeing children born from blowjobs in the dark. The children conceived while fucking in the sling who belong neither to heaven nor to the earth.
Those conceived in a bed consider themselves an elite corps and are insufferably snobbish.
Every child demands the attention it deserves. Has an argument and an opinion. Artwork for the refrigerator, paperwork requiring a parent’s signature. Is fighting with his sister, wants tenderness, seeks tuition.
My children have learned, as I learned, to survive within their father’s inattention, in the overgrown empty lot of his boundless negligence. Like my father, I have lived as though I were the only one important, while the invisible children were all the time looking on, and crying out, and waving their little hands to no effect.
There is also a small contingent of spectators who were, in the visible world, working mothers. What tremendous pleasure they receive from watching my attempts to maintain, in the invisible world, my homo status quo!
“Thank you so much, dear children. It was really so very lovely to meet you all. Now if you don’t mind, if you’ll just excuse me, I am going to brew myself a cappuccino and settle down for some serious reading.”
My children. My nine thousand nine hundred ninety nine children. Whose birthday is today, who has allergies, who will eat the crust and who must have the crust cut off? How many cavities? How many bicycles? How much money for bail? For all eternity I will bemoan my children’s vanity, their insatiability, and their jug ears – all qualities of mine.
I will love them for their father, their other father, whom I insist I really did love, even it was just for five minutes in an alley in the dark.
The nine thousand nine hundred ninety nine fathers of my nine thousand nine hundred ninety nine children.
One of whom reminds me of my children now as we stand in the back of the bar and he calls me Daddy and we take turns slapping each other upside the head.