Bill Cosby’s Fatherhood
by Lauren Kay Weber
Last week, I found myself sitting in my library’s sampler reading room, trying to find something – anything – to pique my interest into reading. I sat in the chairs directly facing the Nonfiction section. Dismally, what sat facing back at me were titles like – and I kid you not –Life is What you Make It, How to Be Popular, On My Own…and Clueless, and more.
My eyes passed over Fatherhood by Bill Cosby three times. I picked it up and then almost put it right back on the shelf. Nothing else was calling my name, so I checked it out. I have a couple of big caveats that need to be explained before I go much further; asterisks, I fear, that will forever change me in your eyes. You see, I don’t really like Bill Cosby. I know I was of the right generation. I know that The Cosby Show was a veritable right of passage for anyone who spent their formative years in the early 90’s sporting scrunchies and lauding the advent of roller blades. Still, I never found his humor…well…humorous. I never thought the craning of his head while he said the word “pudding” was funny. And frankly, I still don’t see what all the fuss was about.
Now that I have broken one of the cardinal rules of being a child of the 90’s, let’s get on with what I thought of the book. I didn’t really love this book. Not necessarily because I don’t love Bill Cosby’s brand of humor, per se, but because I think that he and I are on different ends of the parenting paradigm. Or, perhaps, because he’s already had the five kids and my only experience disciplining a child of my own thus far has been to massage my stomach and beg Asher to move into another position so that I don’t feel like I’m going to lose my mind and the contents of my bladder.
However, I do have to say that there were some gems that made this 178-page book totally worth the two nights I spent reading it. The first made both Josh and I laugh out loud:
A baby, however, sells itself and needs no advertising copy; few people can resist it. There is something about babyness that brings out the softness in people and makes them want to hug and protect this small thing that moves and dribbles and produces what we poetically call poopoo. Even that becomes precious, for the arrival of a baby coincides with the departure of our minds. My wife and I often summoned the grandparents of our first baby and proudly cried, “Look! Poopoo!” A statement like this is the greatest single disproof of evolution I know.
There are little witticisms, too, scattered throughout. There’s also a fair dosage of sticky sweet nostalgia regarding parenting altogether. It was a cute fast read, but I won’t be recommending it to anyone I know any time soon.