Friday, February 18, 2005

Abortion - the new adoption?

1970 was a great year to be an unwanted fetus.

Take it from me. I remember swimming around with my little webbed feet basking in the warm darkness that was my support pod. Something didn’t feel right. The muffled voices I hear aren’t soft and soothing. And the stress vibes – wow! Yet I’ve made it this far; that’s a good thing. There are rumors – cells love to gossip – floating around about embryo’s that never make it this far. The Big Flush, if you know what I mean. None of that for me though. Just like Diana Ross – I’m coming out.

And I did.

Not unlike the 175,000 other adopted children that year, I made my way from womb to caring family. Never before, or since, did you have a better chance of going from big mistake to happy household. The Supreme Court would legalize unrestricted abortions on January 22, 1973.

1970 was the high-mark for adoptions in the US.

Here are some figures to chew on:

  • The number of children born to single mothers has doubled since 1970.

  • The number of illegitimate births has nearly tripled since 1970.

  • The number of abortions has increased by twofold since 1973 (the first year statistics were kept).

  • The number of adoptions has decreased since 1970. They have stayed relatively constant from year to year (ranging between 118,000 and 127,000 since 1987).

It seems to me, that the majority of unwanted pregnancies are choosing between:

  1. Abortion.

  2. Raising the child in an unhappy environment.

Why is this?

Here’s my uneducated theory.

Abortion is a ‘do over’. It’s like a giant reset button on the video game of life. “Damnit, Mario got smacked down by a mushroom on level 1, hit the reset button, Billy.” Other than the moral leftovers, there’s no evidence of what occurred. Healing begins in the parking lot of the clinic – added bonus for not having to wear maternity clothing!

Adoption on the other hand is like quitting – and nobody likes a quitter. You’ve got the added bonus of knowing there’s a creature out in the world that could eventually find its way back to you – which sounds an awful lot like every horror movie ever made. Who wants to end up on Maury Povich having a tearful reunion with Frankenchild? Not this guy!

There are some that are unfit to raise children, yet still don’t choose adoption. These fall into several categories:

  • “It’ll be a great excuse to kick this annoying crack habit I have.” demographic.

  • “Whoohoo, I smell a welfare increase!” demographic.

  • “Eeeeny, meeeny, miiiiny, moe… pick the father by his toe!” demographic.

  • “I hit her, because I love her.” demographic.

  • “I’m not the father type, I’m more the have sex and leave type.” demographic.

All these proven winners can’t seem to see that raising a child in their version of Shangri-la is not going to result in the next American Idol winner, let alone bring about world peace (which I believe in my heart of hearts that an American Idol winner will do someday – one song at a time).

Enough rambling, if there’s anyone out there I haven’t offended, I’d like to hear your opinion on the matter.

Why isn’t adoption chosen more frequently?

Thursday, February 17, 2005

Your Pal Mike Responds - Question #6

This is the sixth post in a series that started here. Questions are still being accepted, feel free to ask one yourself.

Question:How to correctly imagine inpredictable reality (the one we are in is predictable 'cause all our actions are predicted, to simplify, we have no choice but to walk our path), and is inpredictable reality better then the predictable one?

Relatively difficult question DeathBringer!

Your Pal Mike responds:

Unpredictable reality imagined:

"For want of a nail, the shoe was lost;
For want of a shoe, the horse was lost;
For want of a horse, the rider was lost;
For want of a rider, a message was lost;
For want of a message the battle was lost;
For want of a battle, the kingdom was lost!"

Or, if you prefer: The Butterfly Effect.

This describes a dynamic, non-linear system - a system of Chaos. Because there is no nail, a kingdom is lost. How is this predictive? It's not. Small variations in initial conditions result in large-scale changes on the back end. Let me use an example from my workday to illuminate this:

I get hungry each morning. This is predictable, and as such, I have a predictable way of asserting control over my hunger. Each morning, I trot down to the cafeteria and pluck a tasty bagel from the bagel bin. It is a linear equation if you will:

Hungry Mike + Bagel = Happy Mike

However, today as I 'solved for Happy Mike' an anomaly occurred. Let's call her w (for whale). Sally entered my equation of happiness right in front of the bagel bin. She was boxing me out and shoveling bagels into what appeared to be a picnic basket. Apparently, the stock boy at Piggly Wiggly forgot to stock the Froot Loops. Now I'm fairly certain that the stock boy, sitting on a wooden pallet chain smoking Camels, didn't foresee his slovenly actions resulting in my being bagel-less.

So my version of the above goes like this:

"For want of a break, the Foot Loops weren't stocked;
For want of the Froot Loops the breakfast was lost;
For want of the breakfast the bagel was lost;
For want of a bagel the rest of my day sucked."

In all, I prefer a predictable reality. No one should be without their morning bagel.

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Want to live forever? I don’t think so….

From Wired Issue 13.02

Nobody lives forever - but we're about to get a whole lot closer, says Aubrey de Grey, a controversial age theorist and a gene database manager at Cambridge University. In February's issue of the international journal Gerontology, the self-taught scientist argues that recent advances in our understanding of aging may allow today's sixtysomethings to reach their 1,000th birthdays.

Ok, de Grey later admits that he picked this number more for PR reasons then for reality. But let’s fixate on it for a moment – a thousand years old.

People want to live this long?


Think of the ramifications…

  • The average celebrity gets married once every **5 years – do we really want to stick around for Britney’s 195th walk down the aisle?

  • Forget same-sex marriages, by age 285 you’ll be ready to experiment with farm animals. And you think I’m kidding.

  • Martha Stewart Living….Forever.

  • Y3K bug.

Look, I’m not saying that some extra time on the ‘life clock’ wouldn’t be appreciated. I’m just not certain our current society is built to accommodate it. I mean, I’m still young and already bored with most TV programming. Can you imagine trying to entertain yourself for an extra 920 years?

Wife: “Honey, let’s go to Disneyland…”

Husband: “Seriously? We’ve been there twenty-seven f#$%ing times! I actually break out in a rash every time I hear that Mouseketeer song”

Husband: “M-I-C… See you in Hell, Mickey… K-E-Y… Why? Because I can’t wait to die. M-O-U-S-E”

Wife: “You’re always so negative. Nothing like my 10th husband – what’s his name again? I always have trouble remembering the second century.”

Husband: “You can’t remember this century, you airhead. If you could, you’d remember I hate f#$king Disneyland. In fact, I hate you as well, now that I think about it!”

Wife: “Well I hate you too! All you do all day is spend time with the farm animals! I’m divorcing you!”

Husband: “God, I haven’t felt this alive since my last divorce, you ten dollar hooker. Anger rules!”

Wife: “No kidding, let’s have a hotly contested split. Maybe we can drag out the emotion for a few more weeks, pin dick.”

Husband: “Pin dick? You try satisfying someone that’s given birth to the population of Guatemala. What’s amazing is that I was ever able to find the exit. So deep… so dark…”

Wife: “You make me so hot when you talk about me as a large cavernous Pit of No Return. Take me now!”

Husband: “And I love it when you speak of my manhood, which would be considered by our ancestors to be an ancient artifact, as a small needle-like tool. Let’s get it on!”

Hot loving ensues…

Husband: “Would you mind a threesome with the sheep?”

**Yes, I made this up.