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The Smokey Gray Carcinogen Blues

I know you can't tell I'm a superhero just from the sound of my voice, but it's true — I'm Babyman — fighting for truth, justice, and the eradication of diaper rash from the planet!  Of course, I haven't always been a superhero.  Like most superheros before me, my transformation involved a freak accident.  I make my living as an obstetrician, and one day during a delivery, I was bitten by a radioactive baby.  Over time, I became Babyman!  And, like most superheros, I have acquired amazing superpowers.  I can projectile vomit thirty feet in any direction.  When backed into a corner, I can emit an ear-piercing scream that not only deafens my would-be assailant, but also summons any mother within a three-mile radius to come running to my aid.  But the most important superpower I possess is the ability to understand babytalk.  You see, most people assume that babies cry when they're born because they're cold or hungry.  Not true.  They've been cooped up for nine months listening to everyone else talk without being able to get a word in edgewise and they are ticked!  Most of them, of course, are upset about the stock market.  But a couple of days ago a baby came out and said, "Look, pal, could you do something about the cigarettes already?  I was dying in there!"  In consideration of his plea, I offer this song about smoking in pregnancy — from the baby's perspective...

Well, I started out life a' thinkin' I was cool,
Just floatin' around in my private swimmin' pool.
Not a care in the world, though sometimes I'd get bored,
So I'd pass the time playing jump rope with my cord.
Then one day I woke up with a ringing in my ears;
My head was a' spinning — I cried amniotic tears.
I couldn't throw up a window in my womb without a view,
So I kicked my Ma to say I needed more "Oh-Two"
I said, "Yo, Ma! What gives?  How bad's it gonna get?"
That's when I knew she was puffin' on a stinkin' cigarette!
My Mama's smokin' cigarettes — oh, what can I do?
I've got the smoky gray carcinogen blues.

Now I start off each morning feelin' weak and turnin' green.
'Cause my mom feeds me breakfast made with tar and nicotine.
My body's always hungry, looking for some descent eats.
I'm just wastin' away from my head down to my feets.
I keep strugglin' along 'cause I got nowhere else to go,
But I can tell by my size I'm gettin' insufficient flow.
My Mama's hooked on cigarettes — oh, what can I do?
I've got the smoky gray carcinogen blues.

Oh, Doctor, can't you help me?  Aren't you an M.D.?
Living in this smoke-filled womb is not my cup of tea.
But you keep leading Mom on, saying everything is fine.
Hey, Doctor, can't you read the "No Smoking" sign?

My placenta's so old, it's gonna have a heart attack.
So I'm checkin' out early from this dirty one-room shack.
My Mama's smokin' cigarettes — oh, what can I do?
I've got the smoky gray carcinogen blues.
I said, my Mom won't kick the habit — oh, what can I do?
I've got the dingy brown got-me-down,
     stinkin' black heart attack,
     the grimy green nicotine blues.

--1995 Ross D. Martin, MD

 

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