If you can think of a title that unites this post thematically, tell me. I'm all ears.
Item: By age 30, you've lost 90% of the eggs you were born with. From the Washington Post: "Now it appears that the old biological clock may start ticking much earlier — and faster — than once thought." But don't worry, the article advises; the 30,000 or so eggs that remain at the beginning of your 30s are probably more than enough. After all...it only takes one.
How I do love to laugh.
Item: Tomorrow — that's Thursday — The View addresses infertility. That the program is doing so by featuring Giuliana and Bill Rancic, who've made their desire to conceive the focus of their reality show, shall pass without comment. That it's also featuring NYU's Dr. Jamie Grifo seems encouraging, since in his frequent appearances in the media I've yet to see him offer his commentary with a rabbit on his head. But that it's featuring Risa Levine, a tireless advocate but moreover an extremely eloquent woman with firsthand experience of infertility and what its personal cost can be — that alone made me set the DVR. Oh, sure, my TiVo balked; so strong is my antipathy towards Elisabeth Hasselbeck that I soldered in an anti-View chip before I even hooked it up. But I think this one will be worth it. 11 AM ET on ABC in most markets.
Item: In Utah, awaiting the anti-choice governor's signature is a bill that criminalizes self-induced miscarriage. According to RH Reality Check, the bill "amends Utah's criminal statute to allow the state to charge a woman with criminal homicide for inducing a miscarriage or obtaining an illegal abortion."
I don't even know where to start with this one. I could froth for a bit about this latest attempt to establish fetal personhood, which has, as Lynn Harris points out, consequences beyond the issue of abortion. I could point out the obvious and dangerously slippery slope it constructs, where it could be argued that certain behaviors, ones that have been shown to increase the risk of miscarriage but are unexceptionably legal, could come to constitute intent to harm a fetus. I could decry the obtuseness of the legislature in considering the case that inspired this bill, "a recent case in which a 17-year-old girl, who was seven months pregnant, paid a man $150 to beat her in an attempt to cause a miscarriage," because, I mean, my God, guys. Don't get me wrong; I agree that there's something bad wrong there. But what looks baddest wrong to me is the desperation the girl must have felt in the face of the choices she had. If you want to do something, Utah lege, fix that.
But I'll take a step back from there, back from the passionate into the clinical, and simply say that a bill like this is ultimately futile. It won't prevent abortions. And when access to legal abortion is unavailable or difficult to obtain — Welcome to Utah, the lordy, do we hate abortion state — many women will still seek to terminate their pregnancies themselves. Whatever else the Utah legislators imagine a bill like this will do if signed into law, it will also discourage women, perhaps injured or bleeding or suffering from infection or uterine rupture, or even just plain old scared, from seeking medical care after the fact. And women will die, as they always have when safe access to abortion has been denied.
I care about all those things. I do. But I've also been using them, clicking, reading, and writing, as a way to put off something I must say. Do you remember Fonzie from Happy Days? Oh, come on, of course you do. You're as old as I am. Stop trying to pretend you still have more than 30,000 eggs. I can hear your tubes creaking when you walk.
Anyway, Fonzie had a problem, and no, I am not talking about too much vagina. No, it seems good sir Fonzarelli had a problem admitting he'd been wrong.
"I was..." he'd begin, when the necessity to apologize arose, and falter. "W...wuh...wuhrr...wrruhhhhhhghgh." Cue laugh track. He'd try again. "I was...wraaaaoggghghng." Canned hilarity. It was a gentler time, a more innocent time, a time in our cultural infancy when we didn't yet know what a douchebag Chachi'd turn out to be.
Like the Fonz, it's not always easy for me to admit when I've erred. So bear with me while I try to get this out:
I was wuh...wrhguh...
Okay, look, fine. Disney was great.
The cruise, four nights to the Bahamas, gave us lots of time to visit and relax. It also presented Charlie with numerous opportunities to meet the Disney characters, many of whom were utterly foreign to him but no less beloved for it. I am fairly sure Charlie had no idea who Snow White was, but he sure couldn't wait to tell her about the RFID chip around his wrist for the kids' club:
Smooth, kid. I bet this chick digs nerds. Short nerds.
And although Charlie spent very little time in the kids' clubs on board, I was glad to know they were available in case I sparked a meaningful romance with Gopher or a Harlem Globetrotter or Charo or anybody and needed a little time alone. The food was passable, though not inspired. The staterooms were large. The coffee was atrocious. The weather was cold. The time with my mom and my brother's family was wonderful. And Charlie got to dress like a pirate.
Okay, maybe more like a preschooler-dressed-like-a-clown-dressed-like-a-pirate. But don't tell him that. He'd be so crestfallen to learn that he's not really suffering from debilitating scurvy, malaria, and the French pox.
I had a good time, but I don't think I'd take another Disney cruise. Although it was very well done overall, I'm not sure cruises are really my thing. For most of the time it was like being in a big hotel with mediocre food and waves outside the window. I might have liked it better had there been just a touch more rum, sodomy, and the lash. As expensive as the cruise was, I'm pretty sure they charge extra for that.
If I were going to spend the same amount of time and money again, I'd opt for more time at the parks, because I liked our two days in Orlando better. It really is the happiest place on Earth, y'all, if you're five. Luckily one of us was. I couldn't take in any of it without being acutely aware of the wheels within wheels, the staggering amount of money and effort that go into every aspect of the Disney experience. It didn't prevent me from enjoying it on its own merits, which are considerable, but it did add a layer of adult reservation. It was jarring to watch an earnest film at Epcot about energy conservation, and then to step back out into Ignore That Petroleum Barrel Behind the Curtain Land without feeling a little cognitive whiplash, you know?
Charlie, on the other hand, loved it on the purest level. Despite knowing, to the point of sternly reminding them, that the people walking around in chipmunk suits are, in fact, not real but people walking around in chipmunk suits, he still scampered eagerly to shake their hands. Paws. ...Handpaws. And despite correcting almost each singing doll individually that it is not, after all, a small world — "Well!" he chortled repeatedly, even after my explanation of the conceit, "Actually! It's kiiiind of a big one" — he loved every ride indiscriminately, from the lame to the sublame. -Ime. I mean sublime. He bought into it ardently, so much so that whenever something mildly unexpected would happen, like a waiter bringing him a refill of milk unbidden, he'd carol, "It must be that old Disney magic!"
And what surprised me about the whole thing had nothing to do with Disney itself, nor with Charlie's predictable love for it. It didn't even have to do with my own skepticism, which lifted upon arrival a little but not a lot. What surprised me was the realization that none of my enjoyment of it had anything to do with me. (Except riding the Segway. That was all me, and all awesome.) I thought a lot about what Kel said in the comments on my previous post:
Don't watch the characters, watch your son. I've never understood why people line their children up next to the characters and take their pictures with everyone looking at the camera, especially a child who is a bit scared of the interaction. Run behind the character and capture THE LOOK ON YOUR CHILD'S FACE as they approach the character. If they believe, that is the picture you want.
This applies to the whole experience. What I thought about it all on my own behalf — complicated grown-up thoughts like Jesus, did they drip this coffee through Mowgli's loincloth? — existed on a level apart from what I thought about it on Charlie's. And Charlie's was the one that mattered. In the best possible sense, what I thought wasn't important. After all, it should have been obvious: Disney World isn't for me. Or if it is, it's for me to enjoy through my kid, who loved every — okay — magical moment.