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You Wish You Were the Giant Baby

Your disgust is nothing more than seething jealousy

It is a strange wrinkle of human experience that we don’t retain long-term memories from very early childhood. Maybe this spares us the first traumas of life, but for those with largely happy upbringings, it also means the loss of simple, innocent joy. Don’t we want access to the delight that makes babies grin and laugh? The impulse that causes them to bounce? The excitement that gets their limbs flailing? Of course. And we also long to be looked after, pampered, adored. That’s how we arrived at the meme formulation “I’m baby” — the strong desire to be baby.

But you’re not baby. He is:

The so-called “giant baby” who went viral this week is a happy, healthy 3-year-old named Gavin, the youngest member of a Midwestern family. Yes, technically, he’s a toddler; that light-blond hair can give the impression of an infant’s baldness, which accounts for the shocked reactions to his impressive size. (Even for his age, he’s “off the charts” at 43 inches tall.) But the way that shock turned to revulsion — Gavin’s mom, who put him on TikTok in the first place, has now given interviews in which she laments the meanest comments — is down to jealousy. We can’t be the giant baby, so we cast him as the grotesque villain, a monster out of nightmares. 

Because we are going through a civilizational collapse, our increasingly malfunctional brains are choosing weirder and weirder things to seize upon. In this case, it was a “giant baby.” That’s no coincidence, as you realize when you look past Gavin’s size to a more startling fact: He has no idea what’s going on. In that massive melon of his, there is no thought of COVID-19, mortality rates, social distancing or face-mask etiquette. He’s just a big boy eating his favorite foods and playing on the farm, with parents and an older brother who love him. That’s it. Unswerving bliss.

Let’s face it: You recoil in horror not of Gavin’s formidable mass, but his radically delimited knowledge. While the rest of us suffer in quarantine, missing the world as we remember it, he is having a really great time. He wants for nothing, as he has no past for which to yearn. He may grow up without a single impression of this pandemic — maybe one day he’ll learn about it in school, and note that he was technically conscious for the duration, though without any personal frame of reference that makes it “real” to him.

Goddamn, that sounds nice, doesn’t it?

Well, too bad. You are just some dumb adult of non-remarkable size, and you are trapped in actual hell.

If you want to hate the giant baby for that, I can’t stop you. But understand: He’s already won.