I suppose it was a kind of one two punch…or one, two, three combination. But, I have to say in my defense that I was utterly unprepared. Perhaps that’s why I am still a bit dazed, uncertain of where the ground is anymore, uncertain if what my eyes see, my ears hear, is really there. I have been beaten up, real bad, and it’s a beating I won’t soon forget
Hear me out…
On the way home from the Rectory yesterday afternoon, a ride of about three minutes, the radio was on the local NPR station, and the “communist news” as I call it was on. The bright voiced news reader introduced a story about test tube babies and their fathers. Only she didn’t call it a story about test tube babies. She used another term which I now can’t remember. She explained that the laws governing the identity of the men who provide sperm for these procedures are very strict. (Well, duh, consider what method is used! You want that news on the street?) They can only be identified by number. This is the segue into another bright voiced young broadcast journalism grad’s story about a woman in SoCal whose son’s father was a a guy who is forevermore known as Number 1083, and how one day she started a web site to connect with the other folks who had benefited from a close encounter of the weird kind with Number 1083. Turns out there were five half-siblings her son had out there, and five is about the average, though there’s one guy who’s had a hand in the production of about 104 kids. Most of these are born to single mothers…can I hear another well, duh!..and most of the rest go to lesbian couples who want a kid.
Now at about this time I want to pull over and throw up. I want to scream, “Have you people lost your bleeping minds?!” In fact I did scream that. What, if anything, is right about this way of bringing a child into the world…unless you are a salmon or a sea horse!
Wait! Wait! The tale continues with the mother and web site builder and her spawn traveling to NYC from Stupid, CA., to meet the first of her son’s what do you call ’ems. “I didn’t know how I’d feel when we met,” she says. “But it was all so natural.” (Insert double Duh, here.) She described how she and the other woman hugged each other and how the kids got on so well, and how, while at first she didn’t know how to feel or what to call “it”, she’s come to think of “it” and “it’s” mother as, somehow, family, and “it” as one of her son’s siblings; of whom, as I said, there are now five.
The truly wonderful ending to the story this lady tells…this will bring a tear to your eye…is that she received a card from “it” when she got home, and the envelope was addressed “M.O.M.” for “MY OTHER MOM”. How nice.
How soon I wondered, how soon before this is the preferred way. I turned it off after listening for a few seconds more about how not too many folks conceived via what is commonly referred to as the turkey baster method are so motivated to find out who else received the “Salmon Treatment” from “D.O.D.”, DEAR OLD DAD, known only as some number, somewhere. But, says the BYT (that’s Bright Young Thing) with the microphone in a wonderful piece of editorializing, those who do are discovering a whole new meaning of and dimension to…or some such doublespeak…the word “family”. It’s so “G” rated wholesome the BYT seems to say.
Disney on acid. The whole world on acid.
I know how it feels to be a gawker, now, a witness to some kind of tragic mess on the highway, or someone standing behind the police tape at a particularly gory crime, unforgettably disgusting in its violence and brutality, its pure mess. You’re revolted, fascinated, perhaps moved with compassion and literally in shock by the senseless idiocy, the absurdity of the thing. And somewhere there is the sense of creeping horror, and the fear that this just might be permanent. Please God, you want to say, anything but this. Call it a 9/11 feeling.
And once again I am forced to think about the Poor Schlep who created us. There he is listening to the same program and hearing the voice from somewhere below him saying,” Yah, yah, yah yah yah! I win again. Just look at them, will you. No, you can’t. Can you. A new kind of family. I will show her all about the pleasures of family life some fine day, her and DOD #1083.”