Greetings from me, Bill Tyler, the benevolent dictator of They Came and Shaved Us, the convention that's going to beat the crap out of you for looking at its girlfriend.

Picture the scene: it's Sunday June 8th, and the whole family has gathered at my Mom's place because she's throwing Katie and me a sort of farewell party. The reason that this is happening so early is that there won't be another chance to gather all the assorted family members until at least Thanksgiving, and we'll be long gone by then.

Almost all of my family are there, but Katie's family are represented by far fewer people: Katie, her cousin Mitch who turns up whenever there's a chance of free food, and one of her Mom's ex-boyfriends, who most of us have never met before (Katie bumped into him at work and felt obliged to invite him).

So my Mom and aunt take Katie off to give her some unwanted advice (their angle: "she's only thirty-one what would she know about life?"), and my sister turns to me and says, "Will" they've always called me Will at home because my Dad is also William Tyler, but everyone calls him Bill "Will, are you going to be an immigrant or an emigrant?"

To which I wittily reply, "What?"

"When you get to Ireland," she says.

Then her husband says, "Oh my God! I've just realized! You're going to be a foreigner! Man, that is so cool! But, like, do you even know the language?"

I tell him that I have no intention of learning the language, and that if people want to talk to me, they can damn well learn how to speak American.

Then he nudges my sister, prompting her to reach behind the chair and fish out a large package, wrapped in colorful "Bon Voyage!" paper, which she hands to me.

"What's this?"

"Just a few things to help you get settled," they tell me.

And that, dear reader, brings me to the first point of this little missive: the contents of their package, highlighting their expansive knowledge of Ireland...

  • Water purification tablets
  • Bandages
  • A box of matches
  • Contact details for the US Embassy in Dublin
  • A Gaelic-English phrasebook
  • A map of the London Underground
  • Two pairs of Levi jeans (for trade, I was told; "just in case")
  • One of those flat caps made out of tweed
  • A tattered, yellowing booklet entitled "Welcome to Eire!" (price: 2d)
  • Four large paper shamrocks (drawn, colored and cut out by my four-year-old niece)
  • Vague directions to a small hotel somewhere in Derry where some friend of a friend stayed thirty-four years ago
  • A Guinness bottle (no, not a bottle of Guinness; it was empty)
  • A twelve-foot by seven-foot Irish flag, made in Wisconsin
  • A book: "A Guide to the Flora and Fauna of Eastern Europe" (yes, Eastern Europe)
  • A photograph of Sean Connery

As I'm going through the bundle and trying not to laugh, my brother-in-law says, "So... What sort of shots will you need?"

Luckily, I'm saved from having to answer this by the return of my good lady, who grabs my arm and drags me into the kitchen (this being the second point of this missive).

She looks absolutely furious. "Your mother..." She begins, then takes a deep breath and starts again. "Your mother..." Another deep breath. "Your mother..."

I decide to help cheer her up. "Wait! Who exactly are we talking about here?"

When the red mist passes and she's finally able to speak again, Katie says, "She told me that no matter what happens, she wants the children to be raised as Americans!"

"Okay," I say. "What children?"

"Ours, of course!"

"Oh." I have a little think. "That's not so bad, is it? I mean, it's a little premature, but even so... We're still going to be Americans, so any kids we have will be Americans by birth. Doesn't matter where we're living."

She grits her teeth. "That's not the point!"

"Well, what is the point?"

"The point is, we agreed we wouldn't tell her yet!"

"Tell her what?" I ask.

In the next couple of seconds, some interesting things happen...

1. Katie realizes that my mother didn't know we're going to have a baby.

2. Katie realizes that I didn't know we're going to have a baby either.

3. I realize that Katie is pregnant.

This is how the next generation of Tylers has come into existence...

When Mommy and Daddy love each other very much, sometimes Mommy dresses up like a slutty nurse and does very naughty things to Daddy. Then Daddy plants his seed in Mommy's tummy, and rolls over and goes to sleep for the next ten hours. Then a couple of weeks later Daddy goes off to work where he's told that as he's leaving soon he has to spend two weeks traveling around the country to the company's other offices so he can train in new members of staff.

Meanwhile, Mommy discovers that there's a baby growing inside her, and decides to wait until Daddy gets back home before she tells him. Then Daddy phones from Atlanta to say that he's going to have to spend another week traveling, and Mommy gets really mad at him and they have a big fight, so the next few times they talk they both do their best to be friendly and considerate. This is all very forced and doesn't fool anyone.

Eventually Daddy gets home where he finds Mommy waiting for him dressed up as a slutty nurse again. Since Daddy and Mommy have been apart for so long, they spend three whole days in bed, by which time the nurse outfit is pretty badly torn and stained. But Mommy and Daddy are now very happy, and their argument has been forgotten.

Mommy and Daddy spend the next couple of weeks on the arrangements of their move to Ireland, and somehow Mommy manages to forget that she hasn't told Daddy about the baby yet. In fact, what's happened is that Mommy had played out the scene in her head so many times that she became convinced it was a real memory. Mommy gets upset at Daddy because he's being far too casual about the baby. Daddy is totally oblivious to this because, well, Daddy's like that sometimes.

So when Daddy finally discovers that Mommy has a little baby growing inside of her, he is very very happy, and at the same time he is shitting in his pants. Daddy starts wondering whether this means that he's finally going to have to grow up. Mommy tells Daddy that she doesn't think that's possible. Daddy casually reminds Mommy that she's the one who forgot to tell him about the baby, and Mommy is so embarrassed that she agrees to dress up as a slutty cheerleader next time.

Bill Tyler, Chairman
12th June 2003

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