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from Larry Wachdorf


replaced name of his nephew with "your older brother"

Q = his sister's unborn child


Dear Question Mark: May I call you Q for short?


        Welcome. Almost, that is. They say pre-natal influence is the strongest and strangest, so I thought I'd pass on a few tips on what you're getting into (thru no fault of your own, I might add). You are to be plunged into conventionalized chaos. But there are compensations. For spending nine months of enteron parasitism, you win permanent possession of PARENTS. And, let me add, your nine months gestation wasn't exactly without kicks, now, was it?

        Parents are creatures provided for your continuing comfort, health and amusement. They are your own personal nursemaids, lackeys and entertainers. Exploit them. They come with a soft spot in their heart for you, and a head to match.

        Now, a little passage on the training of parents. You will find a little time spent at this tedious occupation pays handsome dividends; and they pick up things fairly fast. And often. First, now, when you want something, or things grow dull, cry. It'll bring them running. It always insures a free trip around the house in someone's arms; frequently it brings good things to eat; often it means a change into something a little more dapper, and incidentally, a little dryer. And if you still aren't quite mollified, hiccup as you sob. This works wonders. Watch your parents try to knock themselves out THEN. This can develop into a dangerous habit, however; in later life hics bring only frowns.

        Never will you find circumstances quite so favorable for yourself as they are now. You have the unique power to unfailingly relieve tensions, bring contentment, and generate excitement. SMILE. Sparingly, of course. A weapon of this magnitude must be used with discretion. But when daddy's had a tough day earning enough to keep you eating the latest and finest in baby foods, and your mom's knocked herself out looking after you all day, reward them. A simple smile will do it. And if they've been especially attentive, GOO. These simple people become rapturous, ecstatic even, at that single syllable.

        As I've said, their heads will be a little soft on the inside from their first look at you, my bonnie. A few thumps with a bottle or your plastic toys will soften them up externally into a pulpy, palpitating and homengenous mass with a glowing image of YOU as its focal point.

        These are just a few of the major points. For more immediate and infinitely more valuable and personal advice, see your older brother. He's past master at all these tricks, and more besides. Out of paper, out of advice.