We know D.C. Get our free newsletter to stay in the know.

I do not oppose God’s mandate to “be fruitful and multiply.” However, I avoid procreation because I am unable to make conversation with small children. When I meet a child, I say “Coochie-coo.” Beyond that, I am at a loss for appropriate interlocutory openings.

My inability to engage infants was showcased after my show at Space in Portland. The day after the performance, an old friend and I accompanied his child and her grandparents on a Portland seaside stroll.

“Gabba-gabba goo!” exclaimed my friend’s two-year old. This child was wrestling with her grandmother, who was trying to shove the thrashing legs of her wriggling progeny into a pair of tights. “My tights!” the child shouted.

“Those are indeed tights,” I observed. “What of them?” The two-year old stared at me absently. “Coochie-coo,” I added. The child turned away.

The child’s grandmother sensed my conversational inadequacies. She began tickling her grandchild, much to the grandchild’s delight. “Hey, baby! Hey, little baby!” she said in a singsong tone many employ when addressing small children. “Hey, little crazy baby! Let’s go find sea glass!” she said to her grandchild.

“Gabba-gabba goo!” shouted the two-year old. “Sea glass!” I do not know what sea glass is or where it comes from. However, the prospect of a sea glass search delighted this child. I decided to voice my own enthusiasm.

“Sea glass!” I said. “A capital idea. Let us search for this glass!” I said. The two-year old stared at me absently. “Coochie-coo,” I added. The child turned away.

Trying to ameliorate my conversational failure, the child’s grandmother chimed in. “Hey, little crazy baby!” she said. Again, she employed the singsong tone many use when addressing small children. “The little baby looks for sea glass and wears her wittle tights and walks on the beach in Portland!”

“Hahahahahaha!” shouted the child. Ne’er had a two-year old been so delighted. I resolved to share in this excitement.

“Tights and sea glass!” I exclaimed. “A fine morning in Portland amongst the lobsters and longfisherman!” The child and her grandmother stared at me blankly. “Coochie-coo,” I added. The child and her grandmother turned away.

On the drive out of Portland, I lamented my inability to talk to children. “When a child is around,” I complained to my bandmates, “my stress level increases 10,000 percent!”

My bandmates contemplated my lament. Then, one spoke. “We are in Portland,” he said. “Are lobsters cheaper in Portland than elsewhere?”

I thought for a moment. “Lobsters are from Portland,” I observed.

“Yes,” said my bandmate. “But are these lobsters cheap?”

I thought for a moment. “Portland lobsters should be cheaper here than elsewhere,” I answered. “Lobsters are, after all, native to this clime.” My bandmate stared at me blankly. “Coochie-coo,” I added. My bandmate turned away.