The Adventures of Fatherman

Ready or Not, Here I Come

Four years ago today, my son Henry came into the world. It was a rather spectacular entrance being that the attending nurse and doctor for my wife had just left and gone upstairs to eat lunch when my wife looked at me and said, “He’s coming.”

Four years ago today, my son Henry came into the world.

It was a rather spectacular entrance being that the attending nurse and doctor for my wife had just left and gone upstairs to eat lunch when my wife looked at me and said, “He’s coming.”

As a bit of a seasoned pro—this was my second labor and delivery—I didn’t hesitate when my wife concentrated her stare in my direction and made this proclamation.[1] I went straight out into the hallway. A ghost town awaited me.[2] I walked down to the nurse’s station. No one was at the desk.

That’s when the red alarm atop the door just outside our hospital room lit up. Between the time I left the room and made thirty paces to the nurse’s station, my wife had pressed the alert. It was undoubtedly go time. A woman appeared at the nurse’s station.

“We’re in the room with the blinking red light,” I said. “I need someone in there now. My wife’s getting ready to have the baby. I don’t know where our doctor or nurse is.”[3]

“Is anyone with your wife right now?” she asked.


The nurse asked me a few more questions, and finally I interrupt her and say, “She’s done this before. I need someone now. My wife is not the dramatic type.”

The nurse walks into the room, looks at my wife’s chart, calmly asks my wife how she is feeling, to which my wife with a beat red face, her body pushed up on her hands, says, “I need to push. I feel the need to push! I need you to catch him right now!”

The nurse walks over to the bed, sees my son’s head crowning, starts paging our doctor who is eating a bowl of chili, and as the nurse pulls on her gloves, other nurses start pouring into the room turning on the sink to wash their hands, and I hear another nurse over a walkie talkie say, “Paging Dr. Arnold . . . He needs to run fast . . . He needs to run faster.”


And I’m standing beside my wife holding her hand, saying, “You’re doing great,” and I say maybe that one sentence, that’s it, and my wife pushes twice—no kidding, twice!, and boom! there Henry is. No peek-a-boo back and forth like my daughter. Henry has just entered the world.

It was just like that, too.


As if John Madden is saying it—boom!—from the old Tough Actin’ Tinactin commercial from the mid 1990s.

Later that night, as my wife held Henry in her arms in the hospital bed, the three of us listened to the theme from The Delta Force starring Chuck Norris and Lee Marvin, which I find a sort of rite of passage into life for all males born into this world, particularly as it progresses to 0:53 in Alan Silvestri’s 1986 masterpiece.[4] It went like this:

It’s hard to believe four years have passed since that day when my little buddy was born. He’s an intriguing little fellow and is always so considerate of others. Every month or so, the two of us get our haircut together, and because he’s young, he gets a lollipop after; and he always asks when they hand him his, “Can I get one more lollipop? It’s for my sister. She likes purple.”

So much he does seems far more mature for his age. I guess now, with him turning four, it’s more closely aligning. Being around him is such a gentle reminder of how to be in life. The joy. The curiosity. The wonder. His attention to detail of the world around him when we go for walks, how well he listens when you talk to him—he jots it all down in his brain, which talks to him, he says.

“What does your brain tell you?” I asked him last week as we sat at an intersection.

“Sing,” he said. “It tells me to dance sometimes too.”

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[1] For all my talk about anxiety on this blog, I’ll have you know I perform at my best when the lights are brightest. I’m reminded of how I always felt as if I was going to piss my pants before an Anti-Lou show, but then I’d get on stage and turn into a veritable wild man with the mic in my hand
[2] Sadly, I’ve still yet to see a tumbleweed in my life. The search continues
[3] Eating lunch
[4] I have video evidence this indeed took place, but the file size is enormous and it’s rather dark and shaky and you can hear me snickering

Photo: moarplease. “Chuck Norris Stencil.” Licensed under CC BY 2.0

By Jeffrey Pillow

Jeffrey Pillow is an American short story writer, memoirist, and poet. He is the author of The Lady Next Door. His writing has been published in Urge Magazine, The Nervous Breakdown, 16 Blocks, USA Today, Sports Illustrated,, New York Times, Washington Post, and Richmond Times-Dispatch.

He grew up in the small town of Phenix, Virginia, population: 200, and now lives in Charlottesville with his wife, two kids, and a dog named Mozzarella Cheese. He is a graduate of the University of Virginia where he was a Rainey Scholar. This is his blog.

5 replies on “Ready or Not, Here I Come”

I’m not sure which is funnier, the part about “paging Dr. Arnold… He needs to run fast… He needs to run faster” or picturing then hearing John Madden say boom. Do they still even make Tinactin?

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