"I love my cigar too, but I take it out of my mouth once in awhile"
Well, the highly prolific couple Michelle and Jim Bob Duggar have just given birth to their 18th child. Of course, Michelle is the one who gave birth. Jim Bob was in the waiting room reserving a quiet little hotel weekend where they could get started on number 19*.
The Duggars are the stars of The Learning Channel's 17 Kids and Counting, soon to be retitled 18 Kids and Counting, though at this rate the number in the title is rising faster than the cost metre at a petrol station does when I fill up the Fandomobile.
Jim Bob is the same age as yours truly, which is mind-boggling to me. Whilst I've been plugging away at a few different jobs, comedy-blogging, and raising (along with the fabulous Mrs. Fando) one child over the last two decades, Jim Bob has sired a co-rec Aussie Rules football team. Truly, if George Constanza's boys could swim, Jim Bob's are all little versions of Michael Phelps on Red Bull. Like James Bond, apparently Mr. Duggar never misses the mark.
Far more impressive though is Michelle Duggar, a woman who, in addition to being Joan Rivers' worst nightmare, must have incredible patience and lower back muscles of steel** after carrying 18 children in the womb. I suspect the redoubtable Mrs. Duggar could best a number of world-class athletes if they had to compete pregnant and carrying any number of infants, toddlers, and child-care gear in various body slings. The International Olympic Committee should just send her a gold medal now.
God bless them all and I won't say a word against them having any one of their brood. Still though, such amazing reproductive power does raise some interesting questions.
First of all, the hotel remark above notwithstanding, where on earth does a couple go to further reproduce in a house of eighteen children. Do they send them all out with the teenagers for pizza one night out of the week? I can't imagine a split-floor plan that can account for a 17-1 room divide.
Second, how much cash does their OB-GYN rake in? There's a chap with a steady line of work, and just think what happens if the children take after the parents. Speaking of that, I do feel a bit sorry for the young Duggar men and women. Dating's one thing, but how hard must it be to actually pop the question (or be asked) if your potential mate finds it difficult to imagine a life far beyond the relatively serene chaos of say, The Brady Bunch***.
Speaking of large families, I sometimes wonder if the couple in the TLC programme Jon & Kate Plus 8 are ever sitting around chatting and the subject of the Duggars comes up. Having watched a few episodes of that programme I can quite easily imagine the dialogue:
Jon: Those Duggars are pretty amazing. I wonder what having 18 must be like.
Kate: Hell. No.
You may also be wondering about facilities. I mean, 20 people in a single house must stress the plumbing. I've actually seen the Duggar family complex in person. It resembles a military barracks, only with a ranch house motif and a cheerier garden.
Finally, in addition to being a phenomenon of childbearing, Michelle Duggar must be the only woman in the world to have never, ever had a headache. I'm sure the good people at Bayer would love to know her secret.
* Or 20+ if they hit the jackpot and have twins or triplets
** Any other speculations, I'll leave to the readers' sordid little minds.
*** With or without Alice ...and Oliver for that matter
**** "pregnant," if you must