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August 28, 2014 / 2 Elul, 5774
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Awkward Timing

Schmutter-071312

And anyway, this premise isn’t always true, because whenever you have something that doesn’t work, and you call an expert in to show him that it doesn’t work, it suddenly works. And then he charges you, as well he should. It’s obviously only working because you called him in to show him. The fact that this seems to happen around him accounts for about 90% of his success rate.

Dear Mordechai,

Why does childbirth always happen at night?

R.W., Israel

Dear R.,

Because babies in general like to get up in middle of the night. Why should tonight be any different? Just be happy that this one time, your husband is getting up too.

Not that we’re helpful. With my last kid, I was so tired that I almost missed the turnoff to the hospital. My wife caught it, with her eyes closed. I was too focused on other things.

“Hey! A broken swivel chair! I can use one of those!”

But that is actually an excellent question. I notice that every night, about an hour after I send my kids to bed, they come down to tell me about all of their booboos. Their knee hurts, their throat hurts, and their head hurts. Even though it’s not Shabbos. So I tell them that their knee hurts because they fell that morning, their throat hurts because they spent the whole day shrieking, and their head hurts because they were jumping up and down on the bunk bed. “But why did you suddenly notice all this an hour after their bedtime?”

And the answer is that once you’re lying in bed, you have nothing to do but pay attention to your body. And the same goes for a mother-to-be. She’s running around all day trying to get everything done before she has the baby, so that once the baby comes, all she’ll have to do for the next 20 years is raise this child, so it’s not until she finally lies down that she starts noticing things, like, “Hey, where did this baby come from?”

I don’t actually know if more people are born at night. But what I do know is that at the very least, 50% of labors start at night, 50% of the ones that start during the day continue into the night, 50% of the ones that start at night continue until the following night, and 100% of births in major works of fiction happen in middle of the night. And as long as nighttime is involved in any way, the whole ordeal seems like one big night to us, and we consider it night. So either way, it seems like we’re all born at night. Why do you think, in Judaism, the night comes before the day? We’re just counting in order.

Got a question for “You’re Asking Me?” Well, so do I, and it’s: How come everyone always sends me their questions AFTER the articles come out? It’s like they run out, half-dressed, yelling, “Wait! You forgot to include my question!” And then I have to put out a new article the very next month. Every time it’s like that! For goodness sakes.

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