Category Archives: The Birth of Tippy Gnu

Conclusion: After Birth

This is the final installment of my autobiography, The Birth of Tippy Gnu. Hooray, it’s finally over!
To read the previous installment, click this link.
To start at the beginning, and read the whole durned thing, click this link.


Conclusion:
After Birth

Me, looking for a steep precipice to crawl over.

I lost the ability to escape my fetal body, weeks before I was born. But I did not lose the ability for my spiritual mind to occasionally escape from my fetal brain, and remember the Other Side. These were lucid moments that allowed me to think with clarity, and to clearly understand the thoughts of others nearby.

These lucid moments continued beyond birth and through the first four years of my childhood. But they grew weaker and less frequent the older I got. And by the time I reached four years of age, they had ceased completely.

And so did my memory of them. And that dashed my plan to commit suicide. I’d come up with the plan just hours before I was born, and I would occasionally be able to remember it while lying in my cradle, or crawling about in my playpen. I felt excited about it, and wanted to go through with it, so I could get back to my pals on the Other Side.

I even tried suicide a few times. I tried stuff like, holding my breath, crawling off furniture and dropping to the floor, and putting big things in my mouth that could make me choke to death. But I was too weak, too uncoordinated, or too supervised by my mother to succeed with these attempts.

It wasn’t impossible. There are other infants who have successfully committed suicide. But it’s just very hard to do, and I was never able to pull it off.

Evolution also intervened. Evolution can be a real bastard. It has favored brains that forget the first few years of life. And when you forget the first few years of life, you forget your memories of the Other Side. You also forget any suicide plans you may have made. So when you get big enough and strong enough to do the act, you have no motivation. Nor can you remember to do it.

Forgetting about the Other Side is what keeps the human species alive. If we could remember how we lived before we were conceived and born, we’d want to go back immediately. But we can’t remember. And so, we can never know for sure if an Other Side truly exists.

In fact, we worry that maybe nothing exists after death, and this motivates us to try to stay alive for as long as possible. The annihilation of the soul is a terrible prospect to imagine, and it’s something we try to stave off for as long as possible.

That doesn’t mean we lose all hope for life after death. Evolution is not all-powerful. The spirit within existed long before we became human, and it remembers. But its memories have a very difficult time overcoming the barrier of the brain, and manifesting to someone occupying a human body.

Still, tiny traces of the spirit’s memories can percolate through. And these tiny traces can leave us with a sense that something exists beyond the grave. But it’s so vague, and so mysterious, that it’s not enough to feel comfortable with suicide.

And so, we lumber on with our lives, gritting our teeth, staving away death for as long as possible, hoping to make it as far as we can into old age, before the inevitable end finally frees us from this mortal coil.

My mother awoke from her anesthesia to see Dr. Senesquez kneeling beside her hospital bed, praying for her recovery. This would be the same doctor who would put me through the horrible torture of circumcision just a few days later. Fuck that son-of-a-bitch for performing such sadistic mutilation!

There he knelt on his old, bony knees, supplicating the Lord Almighty for the health of my mother and me. And we did recover, both of us, to live good, long lives. So maybe a Higher Power answered his prayers. Though I doubt it. It’s not that simple.

If you really want to communicate with the Other Side, look inside. That’s where the Other Side dwells. That’s vague, but I can’t explain the Other Side any better than that.

Now you may wonder how it is that I can remember the Other Side, myself. How is it, you may ask, that I can remember my friends, Scump, Cleeta, and Forchetti? And how can I recall my odyssey to the egg? Or my experiences in the womb? Or my infantile suicide plot?

I know it may seem strange, but it does happen sometimes. Although it’s very, very rare. After we die and we’re released from our human brain, all our spiritual memories flood back to us. This happens to everyone. But on very, very rare occasions, this can happen to people before they die.

Sometimes the brain’s normal pattern of function can be suddenly interrupted. And when this happens, the spirit mind can rush into one’s conscious awareness. Memories of the Other Side flood back, and are trapped in the brain. Yes, yes, sometimes this really does happen. Right? Hmm.

Well, did this happen to me?

No, it did not.

Actually, I’ve been bullshitting. I don’t know if memories from the Other Side can ever come back while we’re alive. In fact, I don’t even know if there really is an Other Side. I hope there is. And I assume there is, because to assume otherwise is damned depressing. But I really don’t know if there is, or what it might be like.

This autobiographical tale is the product of introspection, speculation, and imagination.

It’s also based on truth, though. For instance, I truly was conceived, carried in the womb, and born. And my stages of development in the womb are based upon the actual stages known to medical science.

And sadly, the “cancer” bit is basically true. My mother has been a hypochondriac and drama queen all her life. And other things I revealed about my family life are also based upon truth, sometimes loosely and sometimes closely.

For instance, my dad really did have a mistress. He divorced my mother when I was about one or two, and married his paramour. Later, he cheated on her and married another. And he cheated on her, too. My dad was a skirt-chaser until nearly the day he died. But aside from that he was a wonderful man, and I loved him.

But as for memories of the Other Side, and all the spiritual descriptions of life in the womb, that is all speculation. Who knows, it could be true. Or maybe I’m way off base.

I wrote this to convey an alternative perspective of how we enter this world. The traditional idea is that life begins at conception, or sometime later in gestational development. But the problem I have with traditional ideas is that I think they are often colored by political views that are for or against abortion. They are wishful thinking, rather than reality.

Truth is, nobody knows when life begins. We are all very ignorant on this subject. The best we can do is speculate, as I have done, with this little tale.

I like to assume that life has never begun. And I like to assume it will never end. I assume we have always had life. To me, that is the most comforting of speculations and assumptions.

So whether I’ve written a true tale, or work of fiction, remains to be seen. We cannot know. Not as long as we’re part of the human condition.

We’ll only find out when we leave this life and reach a place where it’s impossible to report back to others. That never-never-land place. That place we long for while we suffer, and dread while all is well. That place lurking within the shadow of our doubts. That place we often stake a claim to, while secretly wondering if it truly exists.

That place that lies far beyond this realm, yet remains just one stopped heartbeat away.

That place we vaguely refer to as the Other Side.

Birth, Part 2: The Miracle

This is the next installment of my autobiography, The Birth of Tippy Gnu.
To read the previous installment, click this link.
To start at the beginning, click this link.


Birth,
Part 2:
The Miracle

It was Friday. I was due on Saturday, but doctors don’t like to work on weekends, especially Easter weekend, so my mom was scheduled for a C-section and hysterectomy on Monday morning. She crossed her fingers and legs and hoped I’d wait.

Her mood was up. In fact, she felt a strange, placid peace within, while also having an urge to do some housework. So she went about her day tidying things up, and also preparing my baby bed, and making sure all was in order for the big happenings scheduled for Monday.

What she didn’t know, but may have realized subconsciously, was that this was all part of Mother Nature’s plan as prelude to labor. Just before childbirth, the mother’s pituitary gland releases a hormone called oxytocin. The oxy gets busy stretching the cervix and uterus. And it also causes psychological changes. Mood improves, and a “nesting” desire develops, prompting the mother to busy herself with preparing her shelter for the arrival of her newborn.

About four o’clock in the afternoon, the first hard contraction hit. Now Mom made no mistake about what was happening. She picked up the phone and called my dad at work. “Get home now! I’m having the baby! I need you to take me to the hospital!”

Dad went into panic stage, dropping the phone and rushing out of the machine shop, where he worked, while forgetting to clock out or even say anything to his boss. He gunned the car onto the highway and sped up the winding grade to our home in the foothills of the Sierra Nevadas.

It had snowed the day before, and this day, approaching my birthday, was very cold. Patches of black ice remained in the shady spots of the highway. And my dad, speeding along, straightening out curves, hit one of those patches and spun out of control.

His car flew off the grade and plummeted down an embankment. An axle broke. A tire blew out. And the surprised engine chugged to a stop with one final blast of black smoke from the tailpipe.

Dad was now stranded and unable to assist my mother.

But if there was anything my mother knew how to do well, it was how to raise an alarm. Because as soon as she hung up the phone with my dad, she called my grandparents. She needed them to come over and babysit my four siblings, while she was at the hospital.

Grandma and Grandpa showed up a half-hour later. Grandma stayed behind to babysit, while Grandpa packed his daughter into their car and headed straight for the hospital.

“I have cancer, and have to have a C-section and hysterectomy,” my mom matter-of-factly informed the emergency room staff.

The hospital contacted her old man Seventh-Day Adventist doctor, who had been preparing for the Sabbath. Dr. Senesquez dropped everything and immediately rushed to the hospital, driving a whole five miles per hour faster than the speed limit. Which was pretty fast for the way this old geezer normally drove.

My mother sat in the emergency room’s waiting room, feeling the contractions gradually increasing in strength and frequency. A little after 6:00 pm, Dr. Senesquez hobbled in and spoke with the staff. He was a little hard of hearing, so everyone had to speak louder than normal. And so everyone in that waiting room, including my mother and my grandfather, overheard this conversation:

Dr. Senesquez: She has cancer, and must have a C-section with hysterectomy. Prepare a room for me. I will do the surgery.

Nurse: Doctor, I looked at her records. She does NOT have cancer. She has a benign tumor.

Dr. Senesquez, after a long pause: Oh yes. It does say that, doesn’t it? (another long pause) I’ve been praying at my bed for this woman, every night. (another long pause) This is a miracle! God has answered my prayers!

Nurse: But doctor, she never did have cancer. See?

Dr. Senesquez: Isn’t that strange? The Lord works in mysterious ways. It seems God has erased all traces of her cancer. Even in the written record. I’ve never seen such a wondrous miracle before, in all my years of practice!

Soon after, Dr. Senesquez appeared in the waiting room and conveyed the miraculous news to my mother.

“No doctor, I DO have cancer. I just know it. I feel it. I still want a hysterectomy.” Nothing, not even a miracle, could push my mother from her belief in cancer.

Her contractions continued to increase. But now that everyone in the hospital except my mother believed she did not have cancer, nobody was in any great hurry. A C-section and hysterectomy still had to be performed, in order to remove the benign tumor. But this surgery was going to be far less complicated, and much more routine, than cancer surgery.

At around ten o’clock, my dad burst through the emergency room doors, breathlessly asking for my mother. A nurse led him to a room, where Mom was being prepared for surgery. Dr. Senesquez was examining her.

He was filled in on what had happened, what was happening, and what was about to happen. And then he turned to Dr. Senesquez and mentioned the “C” word.

“Oh Mr. Gnu, you will be so happy to know that your wife no longer has cancer!” proclaimed the good and saintly doctor. “She is cured! The Lord and strong prayer have worked a miracle.”

Dad was stunned. “How-how do you know this?” he asked.

“It’s in her medical records,” murmered Dr. Senesquez, with a hushed tone of numinous mystery.

At midnight my mother was wheeled into the operating room and, at 12:31 am, two old hands reached into her opened up belly and yanked me into this world.

And that’s when I woke up, kicking and screaming, from a hard slap to my rear end.

Come on back in a few days, or so, for the final installment of The Birth of Tippy Gnu, entitled, Conclusion: After Birth.

Birth, Part 1: The Kick

This is the next installment of my autobiography, The Birth of Tippy Gnu.
To read the previous installment, click this link.
To start at the beginning, click this link.


Birth,
Part 1:
The Kick

I slept most of the time, during the weeks approaching my birth. And when I was awake I usually felt groggy and cranky.

I didn’t like confinement. I kicked and pushed against the womb that imprisoned me. Sometimes I could open my eyes and detect a faint glow of light coming through the skin of my mother’s belly. This gave me hope that there was a free world out there that I might one day be able to reach.

My spiritual body could no longer leave my physical body. But once in awhile I’d have lucid moments where memories of the Other Side came back to me, and I could think and plot and plan with clarity. It was as if my spirit was trying to escape, but the only escape it could manage was to separate itself from the primitive functioning of my fetal brain.

When I could think clearly like this, I always wanted to return to the Other Side. And why not? It was such a wonderful place compared to the hardscrabble drudgery of life in the physical realm.

One night, while listening to the muffled sounds of my father snoring, and my mother softly breathing in deep sleep, I hatched a plan. I decided that after I was born I would simply commit suicide. That would be my ticket back to the Other Side.

I knew I’d have to spend a few years on Earth as a human, because babies aren’t strong enough to commit suicide. I’d have to wait until I could move around well, and be able to toddle to the edge of a cliff, or tie a noose, or handle a firearm with dexterity, or something of that order. But I vowed that as soon as I was able, I’d end my human life and get back to where I thought I belonged.

This plan gave me such a jolt of delight, I kicked my mother with glee. It woke her up. And not only that, but it jostled me around in her womb much more than I’d ever been able to jostle myself before.

Somehow, that kick loosened things up in my prison.

My mother got out of bed and headed for the bathroom. I knew this from the sound of her peeing, and the feel of her deflating bladder.

When she stood up from the toilet, I felt my feet slide down from below her ribcage. It was a weird thing, this sliding, like the bottom had momentarily dropped out of the womb. I instinctively tried to push myself back up, but to no avail.

I had already turned a few weeks earlier, so that I was hanging upside-down like a bat. These days my head was smashed down against the bottom of the womb. I was basically standing on my head.

Could it be? I wondered, feeling excited. Could my freedom be coming very soon? Was this bottom going to open up and let me drop out of this prison?

But then I started feeling that old grogginess return. My spirit let go of its latest escape aspirations and settled back into my fetal brain. And I dropped off to sleep.

I’d like to give you a first-hand account of everything that happened after this. But unfortunately I slept through much of it. And when I was awake, I was in my fetal brain, and not able to comprehend what was going on, in the clear, knowing manner of a spirit mind.

But after I was born and things calmed down, I was able to relax in a reverie that sometimes overtakes newborns. And during these occasions my spirit would sometimes detach from my infant brain, and once again function with clarity. And that’s when I’d overhear adults talking to each other, and I’d actually be able to comprehend what they were communicating.

What follows reflects what I overheard them saying about my last days in the womb:

The day after I dropped in the womb was the day I was born. It happened during the small hours of the morning. My mother had already had four children before me, so she well sensed what was going on. She knew, after I dropped, that childbirth was imminent.

She conveyed her suspicions to my father after he woke up. But she was experiencing no painful contractions, no breaking of water, nor any other signs that my emergence into the world was approaching. So my father shrugged it off and advised her to call the doctor if anything changed. Then he shuttled himself off to work.


Come on back in a few days, or so, for the next installment of The Birth of Tippy Gnu, entitled, Birth, Part 2: The Miracle.

The Third Trimester

This is the next installment of my autobiography, The Birth of Tippy Gnu.
To read the previous installment, click this link.
To start at the beginning, click this link.


The Third Trimester

Within a few weeks after the sleeping and physical waking episodes began, I merged into the third trimester.

I was growing frustrated, because I was missing out on more and more of the family show. Sleep, and the job of physical being was encroaching into my spiritual awake times. And I wanted to be awake, because I was very much interested in how long my mother could keep up the charade of having cancer, and of heroically risking her life to save mine.

She was fortunate in that her Seventh-Day Adventist doctor was very old, and getting a little senile. This dotard doctor failed to review the report from the oncologist. Instead he took my mother’s word for it, when she gave him her own report from her oncology visit.

I felt glad to be awake during that particular medical trip.

“Oh,” said my mother to Dr. Senesquez, “the doctor advised me to have an abortion. But I refused. I think that if God wills it, I can survive, and so can my baby. I’m putting myself into God’s hands.”

Dr. Senesquez smiled with such an angelic look of admiration that I had a hard time not feeling proud of my mother. The doctor was a religious man, and very much against abortion, except when a mother’s life was in danger. But even then he felt some moral compunctions, and wondered if even this might be a sin. So when faced with such a brave woman willing to risk her life to avoid violating the Sixth Commandment, he felt appreciation.

“Then I will pray for you,” the doctor promised, with his feeble, shaky voice.

Having fooled her obstetrician, it was easy enough to keep the rest of the family in the dark. And so my Munchausen mom kept the spotlight of sympathy and attention upon her, as her pregnancy progressed.

I really wanted to watch the unfolding drama, but I kept getting sleepier and sleepier. And my navel watching time kept getting shorter and shorter, and less and less frequent. I got to where I was sleeping almost all the time. And when awake, I was usually physically awake, stuck inside the dark tomb of the womb.

My last perch on my mother’s navel took place at around eight months. She was a big ol’ balloon by this time, so I got a good view of up, down, and straight out, from her pooched out bellybutton. Just the same, it wasn’t exactly a wonderful view. She was sitting on the toilet taking a big crap.

And that about summed everything up for me. I was about to enter a shitty realm of existence. It was time for me to mentally steel myself for the experience of crap everywhere I turned. The game of life on Earth isn’t easy. For every great hand you’re dealt, you get about nine or ten shit hands.

On Earth you’re constantly wading through swamplands of diarrhea, bullshit, and all other things execrable and stercoraceous. Sometimes through great effort and luck you may find a small patch of dry ground. But then you’re constipated.

No matter what, there’s a big, shitty price to pay for being human.

But maybe my attitude was shitty also. It’s just that when I compared the Other Side with This Side, the contrast was so stark I wanted nothing to do with This Side. You might say I was obsessing with the past, rather than trying to make the best of the present. And maybe that’s why I was becoming human. I had a lot of lessons to learn.

I peered dismally at Mom’s panties, resting on her feet, and made one final wish for the Other Side. And then for the last time, I felt a pull and was whooshed back into her womb, there to sleep and fidget about until birth.


Come on back in a few days, or so, for the next installment of The Birth of Tippy Gnu, entitled, Birth, Part 1: The Kick.

The Second Trimester, Part 3: Slumber

This is the next installment of my autobiography, The Birth of Tippy Gnu.
To read the previous installment, click this link.
To start at the beginning, click this link.


The Second Trimester,
Part 3:
Slumber

 

At 20 weeks in, I began to feel a strange grogginess. It only happened once in awhile, but it would cloud my mind and I’d go into kind of a trance state. At first these trance states lasted just a few minutes. But as the days and weeks progressed, they extended themselves longer and longer. It felt weird, but also kind of pleasant, to go into these states of mind.

One day my mother was 24 weeks pregnant and on the phone with her mother. My grandma. She was proudly proclaiming how worried she was that she might lose her baby, but had no worry for herself. And I was thinking, Yeah, yeah, what a farce, or something along those lines.

She was standing next to a window, and I was looking out the pane from in front of her belly button. I was admiring the beauty of the blue skies, and wishing I could soar through them once again. Soar out, out, and away. Off into space. Off to far distant galaxies. And straight into the long, dark tunnel of a black hole, which would crush me into nothingness and portal me back to the Other Side.

And then I felt the dreaded tugging sensation again. I hadn’t felt it in a long time, but when it came on I instantly recognized it. I knew I was going into the womb deeper, and that this might be my last glimpse of the world outside my mom’s navel.

And sure enough, I was suddenly sucked inside my mother’s body, and all turned to black. I was now in a black hole, but this was a different kind of black hole. It was no portal to the Other Side. It had an exit tunnel, but that tunnel was designed to take me to live, human birth.

I was now completely entrapped within the body of the growing fetus. I was now a brain-body-mind, equipped with wetware for thinking, nerves for feeling, and muscle and tissue for physical functioning. I was now completely human. At least some of the time.

A pregnancy lasts 40 weeks, from the end of the last menstrual period to birth. So at 24 weeks I had only 16 weeks of imprisonment remaining. But my God, how confining! There I was, stuck in this small, dark space, isolated from the outside world.

I could hear the rhythmic beating of my mother’s heart, and the borborygmus of her bowels. And I could even hear noises from outside her belly, although muffled.

I could feel the warmth of her body. And I could feel her movements, whenever she walked, stood, or sat down. But I couldn’t see anything. I was completely blind in the dark cocoon of her womb.

And I was mostly immobile. But I noticed that with some effort I could slightly move a finger, leg, or toe, and twitch or kick a little. That was the only freedom I had, and believe me I worked hard at exercising it. To just wriggle around a little felt empowering. Freedom is everything to any living being, and we will avail ourselves of every opportunity, now matter how tiny, to live free.

The grogginess became far stronger, just as soon as I was tugged completely into the womb. It often took me away to the Other Side, where once again I was Spunjee, frolicking with my friends Scump, Cleeta, and Forchetti. And then it would lift and I’d realize I’d only been in some sort of fantasy fog. A dream, actually. For the grogginess was a transitional state of mind that carried me into a new experience for me, known as sleep and dreams.

At first I only slept a few hours a day. And then I’d wake up and my head would pop back out of my mother’s belly, and I was a spirit again, with a navel’s eye view of the world.

But other times I’d wake up and be stuck inside the belly. It felt different during these occasions. I felt heavy, rather than light. And it was only during these occasions that I could, with great effort, make physical movement, such as wiggle a finger or kick a leg.

These were my physical waking times, when I was a physical being rather than a spiritual being. So I was alternating between the two kinds of beings, sometimes being spiritual and other times being physical.

I slept more and more. I dreamt of the Other Side. I dreamt of This Side. And often I dreamt of nothing at all. All this sleeping and dreaming helped make my incarceration more tolerable. I was spiritually awake more often than not, and I was physically awake for only about an hour or two per day. During these physically awake times I would try out my twitching, wriggling, and kicking.

While physically awake I would grow increasingly claustrophobic. But before I could reach a panic stage, the groggy fog would mercifully overtake me, and off I’d go to slumber land.


Come on back in a few days, or so, for the next installment of The Birth of Tippy Gnu, entitled, The Third Trimester.

The Second Trimester, Part 2: The Lie

This is the next installment of my autobiography, The Birth of Tippy Gnu.
To read the previous installment, click this link.
To start at the beginning, click this link.


The Second Trimester,
Part 2:
The Lie

Early on in the second trimester I saw my family jewels form. And that’s when I knew I was going to be a boy. If I survived. But this made no difference to me. I had no preference for gender, because I knew how crazy life is for all humans.

Each sex has its own advantages and disadvantages, and it’s no more better to be a boy than a girl. No matter what gender you sport between your legs, it’s what you carry between your ears that really matters. I hoped that I would be born with a brain smart enough to cut through the craziness of life, and avoid at least some of the misery that so many humans put themselves through.

As the fetus that would house me developed, my supernatural powers deteriorated. I could hover about 5 feet above my mother’s belly until late in the fourth month. Then I felt myself drawn in by that damnable tail, closer and closer to her womb. I struggled against the pull, but to no avail.

One day the fetus kicked a little. And with that tiny little movement my spirit was sucked halfway into the fetal body. Now the best I could do for freedom of movement was to poke my head outside the womb and observe what was going on directly in front of my mother.

I could still read minds, and I still retained my fond memories of the Other Side. But I couldn’t roam more than a foot away from my mother’s belly button. From that vantage, I observed my family. I observed the house I might soon live in, if the doctors had their way. And I observed X-ray machines, and medical probes, and people in white uniforms who put on a good show of caring and kindness toward the owner of my womb. And I felt my mother absorb all that attention like a rising starlet with newfound fame. I heard her heart pound with joy.

Mom got the cancer diagnosis at 15 weeks. At 18 weeks, she saw an oncologist. She sat on the examining table while I poked my head out and watched this specialist. The oncologist seemed immersed in thought, while studying some papers at a desk. After about a minute he looked up, adjusted his glasses, and solemnly announced, “Mrs. Morabundus, this diagnosis is extremely serious. There’s a good chance that you won’t survive if you don’t have an abortion and complete hysterectomy, immediately. And I’m hoping even now that it’s not too late.”

“Mrs. Morabundus?” my mom asked aloud, and I to myself.

The doctor quickly looked back at his papers and studied them for a few seconds, while presssing his finger on the top line of a page. “Yes,” he asserted, “Blanche Moribundus. It says right here. You are Blanche Moribundus, aren’t you?”

My mother furrowed her eyebrows. “Nooo. I’m Savanna Gnu. Savanna Green Gnu.”

The doctor now furrowed his own eyebrows. He returned to the paperwork. He shuffled it about. He examined various pages. He muttered words like, “Hmm,” “Wow,” and “Oh dear.” Then he mumbled, “Excuse me for a minute,” and he picked up all the paperwork and walked out of the office.

For about 10 minutes we heard muffled yelling and scoldings from another room. It sounded exciting, and I so wished I could fly over and watch the action, but my head could travel no further than my mom’s damned bellybutton.

Finally the doctor returned. He bowed his head in shame. His hands trembled. He collected his thoughts. Then he looked up directly into my mom’s eyes. “Mrs. Gnu,” his voice shook, “I’m afraid there’s been a terrible mistake. But-but not-not for you. This is good news for you! Our lab mixed up the medical records and it turns out you do not have cancer after all. Your tumor is benign. It should be removed when you give birth, but at present it poses no danger to you or your fetus.”

My mom was stunned. Her eyes widened, and she sat silent for about 15 seconds. This was another one of the longest periods of silence I’d ever witnessed her go through, except when sleeping.

Mom didn’t like this news, and she resisted. After that quarter minute, she opened her mouth and began arguing with the medico. But he held firmly to the facts presented in her corrected medical records. Finally she got up and left, feeling disheartened and frustrated. What would she tell everyone who had been giving her so much love and sympathy? How could she deal with no longer being the focus of everyone’s attention? It seemed her three weeks of fame was over.

I too, felt disheartened and frustrated. Now it seemed there was no way I could avoid birth. The Other Side seemed further away from me now, than at any other point thus far in this ordeal.

Then my mom did something incredible. She hid this “good” news from her family. She continued on as if the cancer diagnosis was still valid, and let everyone believe she was still waging a heroic battle to save her baby against all odds.

I was the only one who knew it was a lie. But what could I do? I couldn’t communicate with anyone. I was stuck in her belly as a passive observer, my ethereal head protruding out, watching, listening, and reading minds to some extent. But I had no power to make others read my mind.

I noticed that the further along my fetus body developed, the weaker my metaphysical powers grew. But my memory of the Other Side remained strong. I longed to return, but knew it was impossible. I didn’t want to live in a world so cold and complicated that a person might want to lie in order to be loved. I longed for simpler times, where psychic communication prevented deception, and where beings could not play games and trick each other so easily.


Come on back in a few days, or so, for the next installment of The Birth of Tippy Gnu, entitled, The Second Trimester, Part 3: Slumber.

The Second Trimester, Part 1: The Aborted Abortion

This is the next installment of my autobiography, The Birth of Tippy Gnu.
To read the previous installment, click this link.
To start at the beginning, click this link.


The Second Trimester,
Part 1:
The Aborted Abortion

I had given up all hope for returning to the Other Side. And then a miracle happened.

Mom went in for a routine X-ray, to see how I was doing. The next day, she was called back to visit her obstetrician immediately.

He was a very old dude. A Seventh-Day Adventist. Religious people . . . they’re a real trip. They have all these notions about the Other Side that are laughable. They’ve got no idea. They once knew, but on This Side they’ve forgotten, and have made up all sorts of hilarious gobbledy-goop about it. My Other Side pals and I used to joke about it all the time.

But anyway, this doc was very old, so he was going to find out for himself about the Other Side, very soon. He had a grave look on his wizened face, that he employed to transfix my mother’s eyes and hold her hypnotic. He droned in a slow, steady, extremely serious monotone, “We found a very large tumor on your ovary. It might be cancer. If it is, your life is in danger.”

He scheduled my mom for a biopsy. After that bit of surgery, that I watched with interest from a short distance, she went in for another consultation.

“It’s cancer.” he solemnly proclaimed, with his aged, crackling voice.

My wide-eyed mother fell dead silent for one of the few times of her life. Finally, “Cancer? Are you sure?”

“Yes, we’re very sure,” the doctor continued. “And it’s very advanced. Your life is in danger. You must have surgery immediately to remove everything. It’s more than a full debulking. You need a complete hysterectomy as soon as possible.”

“A full deb . . . deb . . .”

“Everything has to go!” old man doctor interrupted, while waving a bony arm. “Including the fetus.”

Holy shit! A thrill shot through my cosmic aura, and I lit up like Manhattan at midnight. I was going to be aborted! I could go back to the Other Side after all!

My mother’s reaction was different. She closed her eyes. She took a deep breath. And I read her mind. She felt elated! A hint of a smile curled one side of her lips. She then opened her eyes and addressed her doctor.

“No,” she slowly and firmly iterated with conviction. “I will not abort my baby. I don’t believe in abortion. I’m keeping it, and I’ll have to trust in God’s will.”

Goddamnit! I had a religious fanatic on my hands, who wasn’t going to allow me to escape! I was really pissed off. I wanted to shout at this woman that there is no God. But really there is. Kind of. It’s just not the sort of God conceived by the mortal clowns on Earth. What people think of God is as laughable as what people think of the Other Side.

Then it occurred to me that religion had little to do with my mom’s decision. When I read her thoughts, and read her heart, I detected that she felt delighted at the grim news her doctor gave her. And when I read deeper, I figured out why she felt so elated. She perceived herself as unworthy of love. But with a cancer diagnosis, she could now command sympathy, and get attention from family, friends, and medical professionals. She was about to enter center stage of a great medical drama, and be the star of the show.

She would be the heroine, struggling bravely to save her unborn child. Trying to beat the odds. Garnering sympathy from all quarters. Held up to the attention of the world as someone lovable and respectable.

She didn’t give a damn about her fictional God, or me. This was all about her. My mother wanted love. And so because of her selfishness, I wouldn’t be aborted.

Well shit, this was going to get ugly. I still hadn’t given up hope for escaping from her womb, but now it appeared that she would have to die before the escape could be effected. And if they took me by C-section, my escape might be prevented, even if she did die.

But there was nothing I could do. I was completely at the mercy of modern medicine and the cancer slowly devouring my mother’s body. I could boo and hiss at her doctors, while cheering on the tumor, but my role was relegated to that of spectator.


Come on back in a few days, or so, for the next installment of The Birth of Tippy Gnu, entitled, The Second Trimester, Part 2: The Lie.

The First Trimester, Part 5: Down to Earth

This is the next installment of my autobiography, The Birth of Tippy Gnu.
To read the previous installment, click this link.
To start at the beginning, click this link.


The First Trimester,
Part 5:
Down to Earth

Then it struck him. He was going to be a daddy again. A daddy! A new kid was on its way. And something paternal deep inside began to well up with excitement and pride. Poor bastard, he couldn’t help it. Nature was at work playing with his head, helping to keep the human species alive. The evolutionary work of nature brought out his paternal instinct. It made him love the idea of fathering a child.

He always had mixed feelings about fatherhood. On the one hand, kids were expensive and a pain in the ass. But on the other hand, they were wonderful little companions and fun playtoys.

He looked back at his anxious wife. He fought back a smile, but couldn’t help it. Mom smiled back. Then they both began to giggle. Finally they began debating good-naturedly about whether they wanted a boy or a girl. A boy, they agreed. They already had three girls. And they hugged each other and fell back onto the bed and cuddled for awhile.

Mom’s plan was working like a charm. The Gnu family got a boost of new life, thanks to me and my misfortune.

I got so involved watching this little dramedy that I didn’t notice my limits shrinking further. I tried to return to Saturn, but couldn’t even make it past the asteroid belt. I had to settle for Mars.

And then the umbilical pull of my ethereal tail yanked me off the red sand of a crater, and back to outer space, dragging me closer and closer to Earth.

I perched upon the moon and watched the womb. I didn’t like the idea of being ensouled inside that growing fetus, because I’d had so much fun on the Other Side. I missed the Other Side terribly. But I noticed that my feelings were becoming more and more ambivalent. I was starting to like my mom and dad and siblings. I was getting involved in their lives, watching their little daily dramas. A part of me looked forward to the day I could interact with them and be a part of all the family action.

But mostly, I wanted to return to the Other Side.

Ten weeks into my mother’s pregnancy, the tail that tethered me to her belly gave me a good hard tug, and off the moon I flew. Downward I dove into the Earth’s atmosphere. I tried flying left and right to pull myself away, but it kept reeling me in like a five-pound bass on a 50-pound line.

It finally stopped when I was at the upper limits of the troposphere, about five miles above the Earth’s surface. I was left with a jumbo jet’s eye view of the planet I was fated to inhabit for the next, maybe 70, 80, 90 years, who knows?

I could travel back and forth from the sky to the womb, and I often did. I surveyed the area I would live in. Then I surveyed the body I would live in. I had a lot of morbid curiosity about the whole thing, so I did plenty of exploring. I got to know my neighborhood, the local grocery store where my mom shopped, my dad’s place of work, his mistress’s house and neighborhood, and all kinds of other places that piqued my interest.

At 12 weeks, the body I would become imprisoned in had grown to fill my mother’s entire uterus. It was a disgusting looking thing, with a giant head and tiny, scrunched up, pink body. It was only about two inches long, but it was formed enough to look pretty much like a human. A weird human with a voluminous head.

At 13 weeks, I was up in the clouds relaxing on top of a Mare’s Tail, when that other tail, my tail, gave me another hard yank. And down I dropped. The tail zipped me nearly to ground level, through the roof of my family’s house. It stopped me about five feet above my mother’s belly.

This was traumatic for me. I could live with Saturn, Mars, the moon, and even the troposphere. But now I was like a dog on a leash, closely tethered to its owner. An untrained dog, who didn’t like to heal. A dog who wanted to run free, and sniff and explore. But I couldn’t do anything like that. I was stuck right there, close to a parent who would keep me under watch and ward for years to come.

I felt panicky. I felt angry. I felt resentful. And most of all, I felt helpless. I needed freedom. I swung around and around my mother, trying to get loose of her. But to no avail.

Finally I grew tired of all the swinging and flying about, and gave up. No amount of struggling did any good, except to drive me crazy. This was it. I had to surrender.


Come on back in a few days, or so, for the next installment of The Birth of Tippy Gnu, entitled, The Second Trimester, Part 1: The Aborted Abortion.

The First Trimester, Part 4: The News

This is the next installment of my autobiography, The Birth of Tippy Gnu.
To read the previous installment, click this link.
To start at the beginning, click this link.


The First Trimester,
Part 4:
The News

African Clawed Frog, commonly used for pregnancy tests in the 1950s. Photo by Brian Gratwicke – Flickr: Xenopus laevis, CC BY 2.0

It was bizarre. She peed in a cup. Her doctor then injected her urine into a frog. The frog subsequently laid some eggs. And that’s how my mother’s doctor figured out she was pregnant. Because that’s how pregnancy tests were done back in the 1950s.

I could see all of that crazy stuff going on, from my perch on Saturn’s rings. But I zipped back down for her follow-up visit. I was getting into this drama and wanted a closer view. My mother had set this whole soap opera up, sabotaging the condom to get pregnant on purpose. And now she got her wish.

Her fake look of surprise was laughable. And her protestation was one for the Dissimulation Hall of Fame. “But doctor, my husband used a rubber! How could I possibly have become pregnant?”

Her doctor explained that condoms aren’t 100% effective, and that this wouldn’t be the first time this form of birth control failed. “It happens all the time.” he claimed. Ah, so now she had some ammunition when facing her perplexed and possibly suspicious husband.

The doctor asked her when her last period had occurred. It was June 21st. And so he set that as the start date of her pregnancy, and calculated the expected birth at 40 weeks later, or March 28th.

March 28th. The day I would embark upon my journey through human life. A day to dread. A day I hoped would never come.

Mom had to do some quick thinking. She hadn’t really expected her plan to work, but against all odds it bore fruit. I was the fruit. Forbidden fruit. And now she had to figure out some way to present this fruit to Dad, and get him to accept it.

After about an hour of cogitation, she realized it was obvious. She’d just blame this forbidden fruit on the serpent. The one-eyed serpent that was SO BIG it must have busted the condom open. Yeah, that’s it, she grinned. Stroke his ego while making him feel responsible.

His 27th birthday was coming up in just a few days. So she decided to keep me a secret and break the news to him on that day, when he’d be in the best mood to receive it.

She promised him a taco dinner (his favorite). She promised him beer. And she promised him a “very special surprise” after the kids would be in bed. And he was looking forward to all this great stuff. He was even warming back up to her and rethinking his plan to leave her. And when his mistress called him at work to wish him a happy birthday, he didn’t encourage much conversation. He cut the call a little short. And after he clocked out, he rushed home to his promising wife.

The tacos were so flavorful, he practically inhaled them. The beer flowed down his throat like a springtime freshet. And then he hastily excused himself to take a shower.

Soon his 6-year-old daughter, 5-year-old daughter, 3-year-old daughter, and 2-year old son were tucked into their beds and nodding off. It was time for that very special surprise. He tossed his bathrobe into a corner, flounced onto the bed, and reclined in an erect manner, anticipating the completion of my mom’s shower.

The birthday boy in his birthday suit grinned like a wolf at my mother when she entered the bedroom. She nervously smiled. Seemed a little bashful. Which was kind of strange. And she kept her bathrobe on.

She sat at the foot of the bed and anxiously surveyed his body. She took a deep breath. “Orin,” she brightened up, “I have some very special news for you.”

Orin, my dad, creased his brow. He’d hoped the special surprise would be oral sex. Now he suspected it was more like oral words. “Okaaay,” says he, wary about any kind of surprise news.

“Orin,” my mom widened her eyes and grinned as widely as possible, “you’re going to be a daddy again!”

My dad was guzzling some beer when he heard this, and choked. A paroxysm of coughing ensued. His full staff went to half staff, then toppled over completely and shriveled up. He dropped the can of beer, then reached blindly for it. Finally found it on the soaked bed covers with about four fluid ounces remaining. A few swallows later, tears streaming down his face, he finally regained control of his epiglottis and recovered from his apnea.

He impaled her with murderous eyes. “WHAT did you say?”

“I’m pregnant,” Mom blurted out. “and you’re going to be a daddy again, next spring. Happy birthday!”

He lay there silent for a full minute, and just glared at her. Finally, “How could this be? I’ve been using rubbers!” he pleaded with her, as if she were some sort of arbiter of this fate.

My mom went to her well-rehearsed lines. “I asked the doctor the same thing. Know what he said? He said this sort of thing can happen with big men. Sometimes a man is so big the rubber breaks.” She reached over and stroked his now-tiny todger. “And you ARE very big. I’ve always had a hard time making room for this thing.”

The birthday boy lowered his eyes and silently mused over the news. He cursed his huge tallywhacker. All that thing had ever done was get him into trouble. And now, yet another kid. And from a woman he wasn’t sure he loved anymore.


Come on back in a few days, or so, for the next installment of The Birth of Tippy Gnu, entitled, The First Trimester, Part 5: Down to Earth.

The First Trimester, Part 3: The Next Four Weeks

This is the next installment of my autobiography, The Birth of Tippy Gnu.
To read the previous installment, click this link.
To start at the beginning, click this link.


The First Trimester,
Part 3:
The Next Four Weeks

The ethereal umbilicus held me bound to my mother’s womb. But it was very long, so I had a lot of freedom. Willpower was my fuel. All I had to do was think about going someplace, and out of the womb I’d bound, soaring off to wherever it was. I was like a tetherball on a long rope. I’d swing off to this galaxy here, or that galaxy there. The physical realm has a lot of galaxies, and I could reach quite a few of them.

But not all of them. The rope had its limits. And gradually, those limits became more and more restrictive. Within a few weeks of my mother’s pregnancy I found myself very limited, compared to my first day. But I could still visit Andromeda, M33, the Magellanic Clouds, and a few other neighboring galaxies. I sojourned in their various solar systems and planets, and spied upon the creatures that lived in those worlds. I envied some of them, and wished I could have been conceived on their spheres, rather than on Earth.

Because, you see, the grass is always greener where you ain’t.

There were a whole lot of others in the same predicament as me, swinging by their tails, attached to a womb somewhere far away, whether from Earth or some other terrestrial object in the universe. We’d cross paths sometimes, but there was little time for conversation. If we weren’t coming, we were going, our minds agog in exploration, while slowly being reeled in by our mothers.

After three weeks of being reeled in by my own mother, I was limited to the Milky Way only. And after four weeks, I was cut down to just our solar system. My tail was growing shorter and shorter, and stronger and stronger, the longer it held me captive. I suppose its purpose was to draw me closer and closer to my mother, and get me more and more involved in my immediate environment.

This allowed for a gentle transition from the infinite freedom I enjoyed on the Other Side, to the confining strictures of human life.

I rested in the womb, those first few weeks, between my interstellar peregrinations. It felt kind of cozy there. But it also felt claustrophobic. I was in one sense attracted to the coziness, while in another sense repelled by the confinement. I could stand it for a little while, and even enjoy it some. But after a bit I’d get “womb fever” and have to get the hell out of there. So off I’d travel to visit a new star or planet.

The egg was kind of freaky to watch. It fascinated me, but I also hated it. I knew that egg was my prison. My tail was attached to it, and it was the egg that ultimately kept me from escaping back to the Other Side. It was like an anchor with powerful arms, that held onto a long line, and that kept pulling that line shorter and shorter.

I made several attempts to destroy the egg. I’d fling my cosmic body at it with light-speed ferocity. But I always passed through it without causing any harm. I finally gave up and surrendered to my sentence of human life.

When I first fertilized it, the egg was inside a long tube, which dumped it out at the top of the uterus. Then it kind of floated around in the uterus for awhile, like a hot air balloon. But one day, about a week after conception, it brushed up against the wall of the uterus and got stuck there, like an insect on flypaper.

Meanwhile, I could see that it was growing bigger and bigger, inflating like a beachball. And to my trepidation, I watched it elongate and kind of take the shape of a human body. That would be MY body, I gulped. I didn’t want to think that, but I couldn’t evade the truth, either.

My body started forming organs, including a heart and a brain. I could even see the heart in action, pumping fluids around. I was not inside my body. Nor could I get inside of this dreaded thing, even if I wanted. Okay I must admit that out of curiosity, I did try a few times. But I was relegated to being an outside observer, watching with fascination and horror as this future physical form of mine took shape and developed.

I also observed my mother. She was waking up in the mornings feeling nauseous. A couple of times she even threw up. And she was pissing a lot. And speaking of pissing, she was getting pissed off a lot, too. Any little thing was setting her off. First she’d get mad. Then she’d cry. Then she’d laugh. Then she’d wonder what the heck was going on.

And then she missed her period. And that’s when she put two and two together.

Four weeks after she punctured my dad’s rubber, and I punctured her egg, I was riding the rings of Saturn while she paid a visit to her doctor.


Come on back in a few days, or so, for the next installment of The Birth of Tippy Gnu, entitled, The First Trimester, Part 4: The News.

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