Friday, September 3, 2021

2 Minutes. Go!

You can’t get an abortion in Texas, but you can strap a six-shooter to your leg for your trip to Walmart. You better damn well love your neighbor, unless they get raped and inquire about abortions, then you turn them in for a bounty. What’s next? Turn in your gay neighbors? Out the philanderers? Rat on an atheist? There are so many pitfalls on this slippery slope, and everybody is stuck wearing socks. 

The anti-abortion thing makes no sense to me. Even if you believe that God touched that belly, don’t we override God’s wishes all the time? Your mom gets Cancer. Isn’t that God’s will? Wouldn’t it be blasphemy to sign that lady up for Chemo? Just let her die like God intended. 

Hurricanes are God’s will too, right? Forget the sandbags, the water will go where God directs it. Stop wearing sunscreen while you’re at it. God wanted that skin to burn or he would have made you darker. Made you live in a cave. And God didn’t create toothbrushes and fluoride toothpaste. Embrace those root canals. 

If you really love your neighbor, shouldn’t you honor their wishes? Shouldn’t you respect their autonomy? I don’t believe in God, but, if I did, I don’t think I’d presume to know what she wanted. I’m just an imperfect person like the rest of you, after all. 

The worry is wrapped around around you like a blanket - you have it pulled up to your chin; soon, it will cover your mouth and you will struggle to breathe. This is just one of the benefits of that rational mind you’re so proud of. Enjoy it. 

The worry is weight. It pulls you down. It is like the bags full of birdshot plaguing Harrison Bergeron. You could take a few drinks and ease the burden, but it will be back even heavier in the morning. You always have to pay your debts, one way or another. 

The worry is the animal subverted. It is the instinct that has nowhere to run. That constant vigilance should be protecting you from saber-tooth tigers, not making you wash your hands for the fifth time. 

You don’t have to worry about tigers these days. The tigers are dressed in suits and they are stripping your rights with smiles on their faces. Abortion in Texas is just the beginning. But you’re so worried about theoretical medical debt that you can’t follow the proceedings. You have masks to make. You have bills to pay. 

They put you in a cage, and they made you like it. They put devices in your hands. They stoked resentments, and then they laughed at your innocence and naiveté. It’s all right, though. We’ll all perish in the end. Money can’t stop entropy. Feeling warm?

With a toss of the head, she disarms you. You feel the pulse in your temples, sweat slicks your palms. This makes her smile, she can see that you are damn near squirming, writhing in your seat with the discomfort. It amuses her, and the knowledge that you are her entertainment burns you like acid.

She was trained for this, trained to sit quietly without going mad. Trained to wear that supercilious mask which hides any hope for truth or honesty. She is seated in an elevated position, and you both know what that means. She is the taskmaster. You are the task.

Until the bell rings. 

Class dismissed.


  1. Reserving this spot for Mader comments.

    1. Um...holy carp. Love it. Love this: "The worry is wrapped around around you like a blanket - you have it pulled up to your chin; soon, it will cover your mouth and you will struggle to breathe. This is just one of the benefits of that rational mind you’re so proud of. Enjoy it.:

  2. A little nonfiction, for a change.

    When I was a high school senior, and accepted at Syracuse University, I had the opportunity to apply for a scholarship from their James A. Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs. This involved choosing and defending a public affairs issue. At the time, Roe v. Wade had been the law of the land for six years. But, certain old white men in the Senate refused to allow federal funding (i.e. Medicaid) to be used for abortion, except in the cases of rape or incest, or where the mother’s life was in danger. To say I took exception to the so-called Hyde Amendment would be an understatement. My hair was practically on fire with outrage. My parents were activists, and I’d been alive long enough to know a few things. Condoms break. Pulling out doesn’t always work. And yes, you can get pregnant the first time you have sex. Even the “smart kids” in my suburban high school weren’t immune from ignorance and misinformation. From what I’d seen and heard, abortion was never a decision a woman undertook lightly. It’s not, as some claim, “birth control.” It’s an often-wrenching choice, one that anyone outside a woman’s trusted circle has no damn business sticking their nose into. For a young woman without enough money to put a decent meal on the table, let alone raise a child, ending her unintended pregnancy can be her only viable choice. But…what happens to that family, to that child, to that community if a woman is forced to bring an unwanted pregnancy to term because she doesn’t have the money for a legal, safe procedure?

    Then I began to research the costs, financial and social. What I found only incensed me further. Adoption is not always the perfect answer. Yes, plenty of babies get adopted into loving families. But not all. Some are shuttled from foster home to foster home. I forget my statistics now, but I do remember plainly the staggering number of kids who don’t have good outcomes. Prison being only one of them.

    If the mother decides to carry the pregnancy to term and keep her baby, there’s a chance she’ll have family support. That she’ll be able to graduate from high school or college. That she’ll grow to accept her unplanned child as a gift. But in a statistically significant number of case, this doesn’t happen. An “unwanted” child is more likely to become an abused or neglected child.

    It only got worse from there. So, that was basically my position paper. That it cost society and government more than it saved by not allowing low-income women the right to choose for themselves what to do with their own bodies.

    After my firebrand defense concluded, I was met with dead silence. No questions. No comments. Just some mumbling from the moderator and a weak smile as he introduced the next presenter.

    Apparently I’d overestimated conservative upstate New York.

    I didn’t get the scholarship. It went to a girl with two first names who’d talked about something much tamer, like the quality of school lunches.

    Now, the new law in Texas makes the Hyde Amendment look like a walk in the park. I wonder what the Maxwell School professors would think about what that will cost society. Or will they go on to the nearest noncontroversial subject.

    Not that I’m bitter or anything. I’m just human.


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