Life Before Birth
If the Evangelical
Libertarians have their way in November personhood will be declared to
begin at conception. Pregnant women shall drive in car pool lanes and
our entire population will have gotten nine months older over-night.
Im preparing for this eventuality by focusing in on my early life.
It was a sultry June night when a twinkle in my fathers eye was
met by a coquettish welcome by my mother. Together they proved that night
baseball would never replace sex. I was the consequence of Dads
Y sperm which got to Moms egg with a tremendous sprint in the final
straightaway. Whether all this was on the advice of their accountant Ill
never know. After all, times were tough and another exemption wasnt
a bad idea. Their union was accompanied by a unison shout, as I recall,
that rattled windows in two boroughs of New York and caused complaints
from the family living on the floor below.
Its all coming back to me, those days as a fish-like substance,
how I swam the back-stroke in that embryonic sea singing a medley of early
Irving Berlins biggest hits. I never forgave him for, Mammy, particularly
when sung by Al Jolson and it also didnt take long to have my fill
of, Alexanders Ragtime Band. But I was in no hurry to leave my cozy
umbilical life. Most of the time I just floated around biding my time
and humming, How Deep Is the Ocean.
When I heard, Brother, Can You Spare a Dime I knew all was not well
in that outer chamber. Then, Stormy Weather, came along and I saw no reason
not to stay put. I never got around to thanking my mother for tuning the
radio on to the Hit Parade.
I could have told you then, had anybody asked, that ontology does not
exactly recapitulate phylogeny but I came fairly close. Which is to say
I did not go through all the stages of growth and development of our species.
On the other hand it sure felt like Eden during my nine month lease. Before
attaining personhood I was indeed more like a fish... and I have no regrets.
Some of my finest days were spent gurgling and snorkeling.
I carry a faint memory of being 4 inches long and weighing in at about
an ounce. Like most kids on my block I was enveloped in a fine placenta.
Nutrients in, garbage out made me the chubby baby I was soon to become.
It was FDRs inauguration speech that caught my fetal ear. Nothing
to fear but fear itself didnt make much sense but it had a certain
ring to it. Eighteen days later I busted out down the canal into that
etherized air and was greeted by the customary slap. Ouch. My first instinct
was to make a U-turn but it was too late.
Had wed known then what we know now I would have celebrated my first
birthday three months later. But its never too late to mark the
correction. Thank God for these God-fearing Right-To-Lifers, God knows,
who hold pre-natal life, God love em, in high esteem and care nothing
for existence after birth.