Life is like a nappy

LIFE is like a nappy.

This depressing fact came to me yesterday as I surveyed two dozen of them, whiter and furrier than lambs, piled in my daughter’s laundry.

She is heavily pregnant and awaiting the birth of her first child. Our first grandchild.

I was feeling elated. I stood contemplating the continuation of an ancient lineage; I recalled the smell of babies, which is so delicious I begin to understand cannibalism; I considered the joys of being dragged around playgrounds by someone 58 years my junior until I drop dead of a heart attack.

Then I saw the nappies.

My whole life flashed before me. I used to look like that — shining with innocence and fluffy with ignorance — then I discovered that, like nappies, one can expect to be poo-ed on, on a daily basis, run through the mangle with monotonous regularity and hung out to dry where the wind will blow you every which-way.

Eventually you’ll grow old and fall to bits.

It’s about that time you begin to realise that protecting someone’s backside is a noble calling, but it’s too late – you’ve been relegated to polishing the car, until even that’s beyond you.

Then it’s one last menial task, like wiping up the cat’s poo, before they throw you in the garbage bin.

Oh, they might be sorry to see you go. As they take their foot off the pedal and drop the lid they might say something like: “It’s amazing how useful these nappies have been since the kids grew up.”

But they’ll have forgotten about you before the lid clangs shut.

What’s the point then? I hear you ask.

The point is: it doesn’t matter.

I can’t speak for the nappies, but I enjoyed it. I am enjoying it. And when it comes to chucking me in the bin they’ll find me clinging to the bedpost like a goanna to a tree.

I’m not here to collect epitaphs. I’m here to have fun – and I’m having it. I even had it when I was being pee-ed on (literally) by a long line of offspring with less bladder control than I hope to have when I’m 90.

And it’s about to start all over again!

I have forgotten how far up the bookshelves a three-year-old can reach. I have forgotten how long they can hold their breath; I have forgotten what it’s like to have a kid in the car asking: “Arewethereyetarewethereyetarewethereyet?”

But it’s coming back to me.

And this time I’m only the grandfather. Life as a nappy might not smell of roses much of the time, but if it postpones that one-way journey to the great garbage bin in the sky, I’ll take the job.