Very well, you talked me into it.
So many people admired those pictures of Dad working with the twins in the wee hours of the morning, and expressed curiosity about the postcards showing Dad pushing the baby carriage, that I will give in to your plaintive pleas and show you a selection of those. (Why the teeming hordes don’t rush to online marketplaces to buy these lovable cards from me is one of the mysteries of the universe, right up there with why the key you just used finds its way to the bottom of your pocket by the time you need it again.)
As always, the more babies involved to bedevil poor Pa, the funnier the scene is, even if the joke seems a bit obscure. When this card came out, there were still plenty of sternwheelers (boats propelled by a big wheel at the back of the boat) vying for business with the more modern twin propellor boats. (See, he’s propelling the twins by wheeling them from…oh, you got that. Just checking.)
This card copmes from Merrie olde England, where Blackpool is known for an amusement park where everyone can make merry. Because the English DO these things, Blackpool’s big Ferris wheel was known as the Joy Wheel. Note the joyful expression on Papa’s face.
Children are a pricey proposition, costing a good deal more than buying and maintaining your own horses and carriage would have been. There is a faint undercurrent here to suggest Daddy is thinking what he MIGHT have spent his money on if….
This joke was still good when motorized conveyance became more common.
The investment of time in proper parenting is also immense, but this card takes a (semi) positive angle on this.
Let us all rise now and do honor to one of the most popular, most consistent, and most aged of all jokes visited upon expectant parents. The number of postcards, greeting cards, toasts, and wrapping paper (not to mention texts and tweets and facebook posts) involving this simple wish is vast beyond the estimation of the mightiest computer.
It has its own family tree, and numerous offspring, as in this card with a gloomier take. (It is probably vile to suggest that the poor overworked father didn’t get that way by pushing carriages. If you count the offspring trailing behind….) A similar joke is extremely popular on postcards celebrating the payment of income tax. (It’s the Little Things That Count. Makes pushing the carriage seem a little more worthwhile.)
But enough of this,. Father’s Day is coming, and someone’s waiting to celebrate with you, Daddy.