The following is an (unedited) excerpt from the upcoming Low Life book Holy Crap.
Big Babies (The Newborns)
A Big Baby gushing with tears
Threw a tantrum so loud it bled ears.
A cantankerous grump
Spanked his buns on the rump
Then the two of them went out for beers.
I first met a Big Baby, decked in his sacramental diaper, holding aloft the hallowed rattle-scepter of his faith, and bawling sacerdotal tantrums to passersby, in Floom’s Place of Pondering. Most of the peeps in attendance assumed they were witnessing some sort of burgeoning insanity, what with a fully grown croach blubbering and whining what sounded like garbled nonsense while alternately suckling his toes and slurping on the blessed binky he wore from a beaded ribbon about his neck. What was this burbling oddity? Was he sick in the noggin? Did he offend a vengeful dementalist? Wonking the ‘spronge? Too many snuggleblarfs at the Guzz? Was he just a moron? What, so to speak, gives?
The answer to all those questions is maybe (except the last one and the first one). What gives is this: It’s very possible he was drunk, wonking the ‘spronge, afflicted with madness, brain-drained, or stupid, but all of that is incidental to his purpose in The Place of Pondering that day. See, Big Babies, or Newborns as they sometimes dig being called, don’t see things the way the rest of us do. To their way of thinking this life is just one of many embryonic stages in a peep’s development. One of the first, in fact. The reason they act like larvae is they believe that’s exactly what they are. Why rush through life, striving for maturity and accomplishment, when there’s so much to experience through infantile eyes? So called “grown-ups” are jaded, bland, and never really know as much about anything as they think they do. By clinging to their unfledged ideals, Big Babies experience daily wonders most peeps have long forgotten. Of course, there’s more to Big Babyism than toe-sucking and tantrums. Those things are more like daily affirmative rites than a lifestyle unto themselves, although Newborns are pretty much persistently immature, wide-eyed, and puerile. They try to maintain an infantile sense of ignorance and wonder, always open to new ideas and never disbelieving anything based on past experience. By doing so, they attest, they see things as they really are, achieving an understanding unprejudiced by sophistication and unhindered by adherence to the rules of adult society.
Somewhere among all the soiled diapers and temper tantrums lurks a surprisingly sound nibblet of dogma. Big Babies don’t just imagine themselves to be infants, their creed promises they actually are. We all are, in fact, most of us just don’t see the truth of it. Sure, it’s disconcerting when a full grown adult crawls over to you in the middle of a suds midden and asks you to change his diaper, but if that’s how these peeps come to terms with things who are we to deny them? I found my time among the Big Babies to be spiritually and emotionally liberating. Despite the strange looks and constant derision, there’s something to be said for just having a good bawl whenever frustration sets in. I learned to peer the gist through the eyes of a larva and I consider myself stronger and, strangely, more mature for the experience. Larvae see things adults miss. While grown-ups know things, babies wonder about things. Once a peep screws his noggin on sideways enough to sparkle the difference, the Oith becomes a whole new place, brimming with fascinating discoveries and captivatingly shiny things. Of course, then there’s the whole diaper issue…
To really dig the funk of the Big Baby creed, a holy roller has to live the life. Whatever gawd or gawds are responsible for passing the zazz seldom hand it out to any but the most ardent devotees. These are the peeps who wear diapers and use them. They shake rattles, cry for no apparent reason, babble nonsensically, and communicate mostly in tantrums and overly affectionate hugs (I know what you’re thinking, but leave my ex-wife’s mother out of this).
Big Babies don’t necessarily espouse any particular gawd over others (although many offer obeisance to a mysterious entity known as The Sitter). Still, there’s enough spirituality in their conviction to attract the attention of someone out there. Holy rollers among the Big Babies still blast their zazz, often in disgustingly puerile ways, so one gawd or another must be minding the nursery. According to Hoob Throbnoggin, an Ewgian gadabout and respected wisenheimer, in his tediously worded yet eminently respected treatise Devotional Reciprocity and Shared Casserole Recipes Among Savages of the Pinksnout Tribe: A Dissertation in Ninety-three Parts, such scenarios are not uncommon. The Pinksnouts, he tells us, are a brutish and primitive clan of werms who dwell deep in the swampy fungles of the Phesterance. Having resisted countless attempts at conversion by Boorglezarian, Hoomanitarian, and Jeezle Freakian missionaries, the Pinksnouts remain passionately devout in their belief in the gawdliness of a particular lump of crud that fell from the sky one day, crashing through the cap-tops to land in a steaming heap atop their then-flattened chieftain. The crud was later revealed to be a stale souseburger sandwich accidentally dropped by a gadabout named Foofle the Yolk as he passed overhead in one of those balloons made out of an inflated plorp carcass. Still, its appearance was remarkably unexpected and the impact it had on the tribe was significant enough to convince the Pinksnouts to give up their various critter cults and worship the clumpy mass instead. The fact that the chieftain was also the tribe’s religious leader and was in the process of sacrificing their last eligible bachelor to a bunch of broccodiles may have influenced their decision. Anyway, the point is, the stale sandwich is obviously not a gawd. I suppose it’s possible the Pinksnouts are ardent enough in their belief that it became one due to that whole power of fervor thing we talked about before, but it’s unlikely. If it was that easy we’d all be Yort’s mom. Unless something really unusual is going on, it’s far more likely another gawd is picking up the slack. Maybe a holy roller will show up some day to convince them the sandwich was a gift from Boorglezar and the whole tribe will convert. Who knows what’s in the noggin of a gawd? Not me, but I suspect they ponder things on a different scale than the rest of us. Cheese leeches to them are like those weird little slug-like things that keep showing up in all the pictures to us. They make big plans and take big steps, but each of those plans is made of a multitude of tiny plans and baby steps. Sometimes Big Baby steps. And that’s why this preceding paragraph is relevant. The Big Babies are probably like the Pinksnouts, deriving zazz and inspiration from an unknown gawd only superficially related to their philosophy. Other theories exist, of course, but this book isn’t big enough to cover them all.
It might seem likely, what with the individualized nature of the Big Baby experience and the lack of a gawd upon whom to focus devotion, the Newborns wouldn’t have a central place of worship. Some things could be farther from the truth, although a sect of Boorglezarians known as the Nannies are sympathetic to the cause. They occasionally set up nurseries in some of Oith’s larger cities in which to care for Big Babies who happen to crawl by. They’re also known to travel with Big Babies, protecting them from bullies and attending to various maternal functions.
Don’t get the idea Big Babies are oblivious or stupid. They know when it’s time to get busy, they just do so in the most immature and puerile way imaginable. They are uninhibited in a way most of us only experience while browsing the salad bar at Stanachio’s Swirling Clustergoose or wonking the ‘spronge in the Soul Patch. They’re impulsive in ways only Aaaatheists can relate to and occasionally lewd in ways that would make Crudbrothers blush. Nothing embarrasses them. When they’re bad they’re awful but when they’re being good they’ll melt your heart (not literally, that’s for when they’re being bad).
Rites, Rituals, and Observances
Every faithful Big Baby begins each day with a diaper change and a feeding, followed by a sacramental burp and maybe a nap or two. They don’t really observe any particular holy days, feasts, or observances, since every experience to them is full of wonder and mystery.
Big Babyism is a relatively personal experience. There’s no organized laity or hierarchy to the structure of devotees. A litter of Newborns will sometimes travel together, but they’re often more comfortable among sympathetic peeps and playmates of other faiths. It’s not unheard of, nor even uncommon, for a Big Baby to adhere to another religion as well, as long as the two don’t preach conflicting dogmas.
The Newborns are a relatively new religion. As such, they have yet to build a huge following. Most peeps have never heard of them. Despite this, devotees of various species and backgrounds are known. The vast majority of Big Babies are croaches, werms, or cremefillians, although a good number of snells, smelves, boduls, and piles follow the creed as well. How do you change a pile’s diaper? What would be the point?
Newborns don’t really hold any particular symbol as sacred, although just about anything brightly colored or scribbled in crayon will get their attention.
Larval vestments being sacred to the Big Babies, such things as diapers, booties, bonnets, jumpers, and onesies are popular.
Sins, Virtues, and Offerings
Wide-eyed wonder, imagination, and puerility are cherished attributes among the Big Babies, as are temper tantrums, diaper soilings, and mispronouncing words in a cute way. In fact, the Big Babies have developed their own form of secret language, replete with seemingly nonsensical babblings, mispronounced words, coos, and gurgles. They use this tongue to communicate among themselves and to keep secrets from grown-ups.
Anathema to them are such concepts as cleaning up after themselves, sharing toys, speaking coherently, and not screaming for absolutely no reason. Despite this, the Big Baby lifestyle is very individualized and the only thing that’s really likely to get one snubbed is acting out of character and taking things too seriously.
In the event a Big Baby does get snubbed, a few crayon drawings offered in oblation are usually enough to appease whatever gawd passed the judgment. For persistent or egregious offenses it might be necessary for a newborn to desecrate an entire building with such scribblings by way of atonement.