Juan José Arreola: Baby HP

Juan José Arreola

To the Lady of the House: Convert your children’s vitality into an energy force. We now have on sale the marvelous Baby HP, a device that is set to revolutionize the domestic economy.

The Baby HP is a very durable and lightweight metal structure that adapts perfectly to a child’s delicate body through the use of comfortable belts, bracelets, rings, and brooches. The attachments on this supplementary skeleton absorb each of the child’s movements and accumulate in a Leyden bottle that can be placed on the back or chest, as needed. A gauge shows when the bottle is full. Then you, madam, detach it and plug it into a special receptacle to be unloaded automatically. This receptacle can be placed in any corner of the house, making for a precious piggy bank of electricity available at all times for lighting and heating purposes, as well as to power any of the innumerable devices that now invade homes.

From now on you will see with new eyes the exhausting bustle of your children. And you won’t even lose patience before one of their convulsive tantrums, thinking that it’s a rich source of energy. The kicking of a breast-feeding baby throughout the day is transformed, thanks to Baby HP, into some useful seconds for running the blender or into fifteen minutes of radio music.

Large families can satisfy all their electricity demands by installing a Baby HP on each one of their offspring, enabling them to run a small and lucrative business of transmitting to their neighbors some of their leftover energy. In apartment high-rises, they can satisfactorily cover lapses in public utilities by linking together the families’ receptacles.

The Baby HP causes no physical or psychological trauma in children, because it neither constrains nor disturbs their movements. On the contrary, some doctors believe that it contributes to the body’s harmonious development. And as far as the spirit is concerned, you can awaken the children’s individual ambitions by awarding them with small prizes when they surpass their usual records. For this end, sugary treats are recommended, as they return your investment with interest. The more calories added to a child’s diet, the more kilowatts saved on the electric bill.

Children should wear their Baby HPs day and night. It is important that they always wear them to school so that they don’t lose the precious hours of recess, from which they will return with tanks overflowing with energy.

The rumors about some children being electrocuted by the current that they themselves generate are completely irresponsible. The same can be said regarding the superstitious fear that infants outfitted with a Baby HP attract lightning bolts. No accidents of this nature can occur, above all if the instructions that accompany each device are followed to the letter.

The Baby HP is available in fine stores in different sizes, models, and prices. It is a modern, durable, and trustworthy device and all of its joints are extendable. It comes with a manufacturer’s guarantee from the company of J. P. Mansfield & Sons, of Atlanta, Illinois.

© Juan José Arreola: Baby HP. Published in Confabulario (1952). Translated by Larry Nolen.

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