I’m a Cherub and I Look Nothing Like a Fat Little Baby

Oh, great, another Valentine’s Day, with aisles upon aisles of cards featuring babies holding hearts. First of all, I have four faces, and none of them is that of a chubby-cheeked baby. They are, as follows: ox, man, lion, eagle. I don’t know how the whole baby thing got started, but I’m telling you now—whoever painted me that way was a goddam liar who never saw any actual cherubim. (I’m looking at you, Raphael.)

Think of the typical painting of a cute little angel. “Adorable,” you might say. “So sweet.” I have nothing against fat little babies. They are great. The Almighty Creator loves fat little babies and their tiny toes and how they laugh when you blow raspberries onto their tummies. But I’m not even sure I have a tummy. I have four heads and four wings and fiery wheels, and my wheels have eyes. That’s what we’re working with here. No one would ever look at me and say, “Adorable.” Perhaps “awe-inspiring,” and certainly “ahhhhhhhh!!!”

I move very specifically. Like I said, there aren’t just wings but also wheels involved. And I fly in one of the four directions that my heads face. What baby do you know who does that? Babies can’t even move around at all for the first few months.

Again, I have nothing against babies. I am simply the furthest thing from a baby. Maybe it’s easier for humans to picture a baby than everything I’m describing. Maybe Donatello read Ezekiel and was, like, “Um, I know I’m supposed to be one of the greatest sculptors of the Renaissance, but this is a bit beyond me. How about a baby with wings instead? People love babies.” And his commissioner was, like, “Works for me! Those four-headed things with calf feet and really loud wings sound off-putting anyway. No good for tithes.” And so began my erasure from the collective consciousness.

As long as I’m airing grievances, you do know that Cupid is from an entirely different group of religions, right? And, for the record, he didn’t look like a baby, either—he was a wingèd youth. He had a wife and everything.

Don’t even get me started on seraphim. Think of a seraph and you’re probably picturing a graceful human with wings. But that is wildly inaccurate. I know seraphim, and they have six wings covered in eyes, like normal. They use two wings to cover their faces, two to cover their feet, and the other two to fly. They are fearsome and wonderful.

The other day, as I flew in eagle-face direction, my wheels sparkling like beryl, God said to me, “Look, I know the baby thing frustrates you, but people love babies. I have literally programmed them to love babies more than just about anything else. So maybe take it as a compliment?”

I get that no one on Earth is trying to be insulting, and, of course, I forgive all of you, for you know not what you do, etc. But it’s hard not to feel a little misrepresented, especially since this has been going on for the better part of a millennium.

So, by all means, call the next baby you encounter “cherubic.” Just, when you do, be sure you mean a biblically accurate four-faced creature with flaming eye wheels. ♦

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