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10/06/2010

Dr. Edwards, in the laboratory, with an axe

Hey, thanks to all of you who pointed out the news about Dr. Robert Edwards' Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine for his work in developing IVF.  I would have posted it here on Monday, but I was too busy celebrating.  First, I built a little shrine out of LEGOs.  It started out kind of minimalist...

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...with just the Petri dish.  Oh, and by the way, AP Stylebook...

Ap-ivf

...it's never been a test tube.  And we call the resulting children...children.

Anyway, I thought just the dish was a little bit stark.  It was the innovator I wanted to honor, not just the invention.  So I added Dr. Edwards.

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I admit I took some artistic liberties.  I could find no better way to indicate what mighty badasses of science he, Dr. Patrick Steptoe, Dr. Howard Jones, and Dr. Georgeanna Jones were than to give him an axe and a flaming chainsaw.  Maybe the Santa Claus beard wasn't strictly necessary, but I know Edwards is generous; I like to believe he is kindly; and, my God, who wouldn't be jolly when holding a flaming chainsaw?

So that pleased me, but my tableau still felt incomplete.  I realized what was missing: the result of Edwards' work.  But LEGO doesn't make a baby minifig.  They do make Batman...

Lego-batman

...but ours has gone missing.  Judging by how long Ben spent yesterday playing quietly with LEGOs by himself, it is probably lodged somewhere in his digestive tract.  I will report if the Dark Knight emerges.

Therefore I had to settle for depicting the supertechnodesignercybergenetomonsterbabies opponents of IVF have predicted from its inception:

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...but which Dr. Edwards, deeply aware of the ethical implications of his work, mercifully forbore to create.

So that took a while.  Art cannot be rushed.

Then after I finished that, I was still feeling celebratory, so I wiped out the global food supply and overcrowded the already-burdened infrastructure by overpopulating the earth a time or two.  Then, my festive mood undiminished, I spent some time with my flawless pair of replicants, combing their lustrous blond hair and gazing into their soulless cerulean eyes, taking them out of their cases and putting them back in, making them get it on with Barbie, and crooning, "Thaaaat's right. You're juuust like Mama."  Finally, I drove my car past the foster care system without stopping to rescue a single child.  Look, I admit things got a little out of hand.  Some people simply can't have a drink without serious repercussions.  Me?  I apparently can't have a child without laying waste to everything society holds dear.

Good times.  Good times.

Finally, I got on a plane, flew to Rome, took a taxi to the Vatican, stood patiently outside among the milling crowds of the faithful, and waited my turn.  Then, when I got up to the door of...wherever it is God hangs out there -- possibly the Jungle Room, but I don't really know -- I said, in a quiet voice and a respectful tone, "Shut up, Vatican."  Then I bought some souvenirs -- a Playmobil Popemobile for one of my "children with four or five parents" and an amusing T-shirt for the other -- and humbly rode an ass back to the airport, where I boarded a plane, returned home, and plopped down in my desk chair, from which I am writing this now.

And, boy, are my arms tired, from applauding Dr. Edwards.

Thank you, Dr. Edwards, for your courage and compassion.  Thank you for applying your keen and questing mind to an urgent human problem.  Thank you and your dedicated colleagues for forging forward, despite significant opposition, to give infertile people a gift beyond price: options.  I am grateful not only for my family, but for the chance to try at all. 

Thank you for four million loved and longed-for babies.

Feel free to keep the chainsaw.

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