Sermon Illustrations

Dave Barry - Excerpt from “The Pain of Childbirth”:

The key to avoiding drugs, according to the natural-childbirth people, is for the woman to breathe deeply. Really. The theory is that if she breathes deeply, she’ll get all relaxed and won’t notice that she’s in a hospital delivery room wearing a truly perverted garment and having a baby. I’m not sure who came up with this theory. Whoever it was evidently believed that men have very small brains. So, in childbirth classes, we spent a lot of time sprawled out on little mats with our pillows while the women pretended to have contractions and the men squatted around with stopwatches and pretended to time them. The swank couples didn’t care for this part. They were not into squatting. After a couple of classes, they started bringing little backgammon sets and playing backgammon when they were supposed to be practicing breathing. I imagine they had a rough time In actual childbirth.

Anyway, my wife and I traipsed along for months, breathing and timing, respectively. We had no problems whatsoever. We were a terrific team. We had a swell time. Really.

The actual delivery was slightly more difficult. I don’t want to name names, but I held up my end. I had my stopwatch in good working order, and I told my wife to breathe.

“Don’t forget to breathe.” I’d say, or. ‘You should breathe, you know.” She, on the other hand, was unusually cranky. For example, she didn’t want me to use my stopwatch. Can you imagine? All that practice, all that squatting on the natural-childbirth classroom floor, and she suddenly gets in this big snit about stopwatches. Also, she almost completely lost her sense of humor. At one point, I made an especially amusing remark, and she tried to hit me. She usually has an excellent sense of humor.

Nonetheless, the baby came out all right, or at least all right for newborn babies, which is actually pretty awful unless you’re a big fan of slime. I thought I had held up well for the whole thing when the doctor, who up to then had behaved like a perfectly rational person, said, ‘Would you like to see the placenta?’ Now, let’s face it. That is like asking. ‘Would you like me to pour hot tar into your nostrils?’ Nobody would like to see a placenta. If anything, it would be a form of punishment.

Jury: We find the defendant guilty of stealing from the old and the crippled.

Judge: I sentence the defendant to look at three placentas.

But without waiting for an answer, the doctor held up the placenta, not unlike the way you might hold up a bowling trophy. I bet he wouldn’t have tried that with people who have matching pillowcases.

The placenta aside, everything worked out fine. We ended up with an extremely healthy, organic, natural baby, who immediately demanded to be put back in the uterus.

All in all, I’d say it’s not a bad way to reproduce, although I understand that some members of the flatworm family simply divide themselves into two.