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Bottled Up
by Andy Cowan
TheSyndicatedNews columnist

Andy Cowan, an award-winning writer, whose credits include Cheers and Seinfeld, regularly contributes humor pieces to the Los Angeles Times and the CBS Jack FM Radio Network.

With my mother's birthday fast approaching, picking out a card that properly expresses my gratitude is proving to be especially challenging this year. For no longer can I comfort myself with the rationale that mom did all she could to help prepare me for a better life, ever since the news that breast-fed babies have been shown to have higher IQs.

I was bottle-fed. Thanks, Mom! You could have raised the consciousness of embarrassed diners in a mid-20th century restaurant, and raised my IQ in one fell swoop. Had you set aside your silly inhibitions, I might not even be mentally challenged enough to need the likes of Hallmark to speak for me in the first place.

Who knows how fewer Indian tech support personnel I would have needed to call, had my brain power been upgraded along with the power of my computer? Add my embarrassed mid-20th century mom to millions of other embarrassed moms of her day, and who knows how many outsourced techies could have stayed right here to handle the dwindled demand for help, had mom/we kicked the bottle? (That is, you breast-fed babies who are smart enough to add into the millions.)

If it weren't for my baby formula, I might have invested in Apple, and not record store payphones. I might have met smarter women, who were drawn to my interest in subtitled movies, instead of my developing a disdain for them as I frustratingly stewed, “Now I’m missing the action… Now I’m missing the subtitle…” I would have been smart enough to read all the terms of software downloading agreements, before checking off “I agree.” I would have avoided the resulting commissions I owed to Nigeria. That said, I would have been smart enough to not let the overuse of “that said” stick in my craw. I might have even been smart enough to know where, exactly, “my craw” is!

Was Einstein breast-fed? If not, my IQ isn’t nearly high enough to imagine what else he might have discovered E equals, had nature taken over. Was President Bush breast-fed? If not, comedy writers could very well owe his mother’s prim and properness a huge debt of gratitude. As for our other huge debt, a couple of extra IQ points couldn’t have hurt that deficit either.

Happy birthday, Mom. I forgive you, and leave you with this heartfelt token of my affection: I won’t be suing you for bottle-feeding me. Thanks to you, I’m not smart enough to do the homework.

ANDY COWAN is a writer, producer and performer. His credits include “Cheers,” “Seinfeld,” and “3Rd Rock From the Sun.” Website:

Published: Jul 11,2008 17:19
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