"Proxy Fathers" is a service supported by the British Government's policy of socialized medicine. Any married woman, who is unable to become pregnant through the first five years of her marriage, may request the service of a proxy father; a government employee who resolves the couple's problem by impregnating the wife.
The Smiths, a young couple, have no children and a proxy father is due to arrive. Leaving for work, Mr. Smith says, "I'm off. The government man should be here soon." Moments later, a door-to-door baby photographer rings the bell...
Ms Smith: "Good morning."
Salesman: "Good morning, madam. You don't know me, but I've come to..."
Ms Smith: "No need to explain, I've been expecting you."
Salesman: "Really? Well, good. I've made a specialty of babies, especially twins."
Ms Smith: "That's what my husband and I had hoped. Please come in and have a seat"
Salesman: (Sitting) "Then you don't need to be sold on the idea?"
Ms Smith: "Don't concern yourself. My husband and I both agree this is the right thing to do."
Salesman: "Well, perhaps we should get down to it."
Ms Smith: (Blushing)"Just where do we start?"
Salesman: "Leave everything to me. I usually try two in the bathtub, one on the couch and perhaps a couple on the bed. Sometimes the living room floor allows the subject to really spread out."
Ms Smith: "Bathtub, living room floor? No wonder it hasn't worked for Harry and me."
Salesman: "Well, madam, none of us can guarantee a good one every time, but if we try several locations and I shoot from six or seven angles, I'm sure you'll be pleased with the results." In fact, my business card says, 'I aim to please.'"
Ms Smith: "Pardon me, but isn't this a little informal?"
Salesman: "Madam, in my line of work, a man must be at ease and take his time. I'd love to be in and out in five minutes, but you'd be disappointed with that."
Ms Smith: "Don't I know! Have you had much success at this?"
Salesman: (Opening his briefcase and finding baby pictures) "Just look at this picture. Believe it or not, it was done on top of a bus in downtown London."
Ms Smith: "Oh, my!!"
Salesman: "And here are pictures of the prettiest twins in town. They turned out exceptionally well when you consider their mother was so difficult to work with."
Ms Smith: "She was?"
Salesman: "Yes, I'm afraid so. I finally had to take her down to Hyde Park to get the job done right. I've never worked under such impossible conditions. People were crowding around four and five deep, pushing to get a good look."
Ms Smith: "Four and five deep?"
Salesman: "Yes and for more than three hours, too. The mother got so excited she started bouncing around, squealing and yelling at the crowd. I couldn't concentrate. I'm afraid I had to ask a couple of men to restrain her. By that time darkness was approaching and I began to rush my shots. When the squirrels began nibbling on my equipment I just packed it all in."
Ms Smith: "You mean they actually chewed on your, eh.., equipment?"
Salesman: "That's right, but it's all in a day's work. I consider my work a pleasure. I've spent years perfecting my patented technique. Now take this baby, I shot this one in the front window of a big department store."
Ms Smith: "I just can't believe it."
Salesman: "Well, madam, if you're ready, I'll set up my tripod so that we can get to work."
Ms Smith: "TRIPOD?!?"
Salesman: "Oh yes, I have to use a tripod to rest my equipment on. It's much too heavy and unwieldy for me to hold while I'm shooting."
Ms Smith?...Ms Smith?...My word, she's fainted!
Snopes chased this joke back to 1947.
Time Magazine did an article on potential American proxy fathers in Sept. 26, 1938.
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This page last updated 2006-02-10.