In Praise of Broken — A blast from the Past from June 2012

(I was about to write a post that was pretty much this.  And then I thought “I already wrote it.”  And I had, and I found it.

I’m still broken.  Sometimes scarily so — take my obsessing over my sales on Amazon when the sales dip — but I’m also still me.  Would I be me if I weren’t broken?  Doubtful.  And sometimes, my best “luck” comes from how broken I am.)

If I had a dime for every time I’ve read that “every baby should be planned” and that “every puppy should be wanted” and that “everyone should have a fulfilling occupation” I’d have too many dimes to be contained in the universe.  But the question is: would every dime be shiny?

What are you getting at Sarah?

What I am getting at is that many people seem to have completely lost track of the distinction between ideal and actual.  Let me spell it out for you: ideal exists only as a perfect thing in your mind.  Like the battle plan not surviving contact with the enemy, it will never survive contact with reality.

That perfectly planned child will suddenly become unplanned when it turns out to be a girl, rather than a boy, or a boy rather than a girl.  Or when he/she turns out to have a personality completely different from what his parents’ expected.  While IQ might be broadly inheritable, at least in components (mostly from the mother, interestingly enough) the way it’s expressed isn’t necessarily.  So you’ll have the bookish parents with the mechanically gifted child, or vice-versa.  Planned?  Who told you you could plan a chaotic system?  It’s sort of like planning your day tomorrow – you’d best have three layers of plans in case it rains, in case a wildfire comes through, in case it’s fine and beautiful.  And even then, it will find a way to surprise you.

And the puppy who was so wanted?  The family that adopted him will get sick and have to give him away.  They’ll unexpectedly lose their jobs.  The puppy will turn out to have a condition that’s not fatal but is a life-long drain and expense.  Or something else will happen you can’t predict.

But, Sarah, you say, shouldn’t we PLAN for the ideal?  Then we just adapt to less than ideal.

It depends on the plan.  There is a type of positive planning, in which you leave the route open to the wonder of the broken (yes, I’ll explain) and the negative planning, where you won’t take anything less than absolute perfection.  The negative planning is usually what you get when government bureucrats or do-gooding busybodies get involved.

It concentrates on NOT LETTING the less than ideal happen.  These are the people who think you should be licensed to have children, after you pass classes that say you’re an ideal parent in THEIR WAY.  The people who think every unplanned baby should be aborted or killed up to three months after birth (you only think I’m joking.)  These are the people who post on craigslist screaming at people giving away puppies and kittens that they are terrible people and should have had their animal spayed.

Let’s leave aside for a moment the fact that I think overpopulation is lies, damn lies and statistics and that in fact the current worldwide crisis is caused by population ALREADY falling.  (I confess the evidence is circumstantial and thin, but there is some and – more importantly – the evidence on the other side is dubious and suffers from wrong-process.)  That’s the subject for a whole post and one I don’t have the energy to write right now.  Let’s leave aside the fact that I think our obsession with spaying and neutering in fact can act (is acting?) as a sort of reverse selective breeding, pushing cats and dogs back to non-domesticated (no?  We keep the cutest/friendliest from reproducing.)  And also that in some areas of the country – here – you either buy a breed dog, adopt a dog who turned out less than ideal for someone else, or … adopt a puppy imported from elsewhere.  In Colorado puppies seem to come from Texas.  But in some places they come from abroad.  Cats are more abundant because… they’re cats and harder to catch and confine.

Let’s instead look at the other side of the coin, and why negative planning for the ideal and temper tantrums at people who don’t follow your version of ideal, are stupid: because broken plans and broken ideals often come as a blessing.

Sorry to use the religious term, but I don’t know how else to express it.  Sometimes the crisis-unplanned turns out to be the best thing you ever got.

Right after our cat Pete died, we found ourselves adopting Euclid because otherwise he was going to be euthanized because he had an uti and our humane society euthanizes those, so it doesn’t spread throughout the pens.  We had about twenty minutes in which to decide.  We had – G-d knows – enough cats.  But he would have died otherwise.  We adopted him.

Yes, Euclid is broken in interesting ways.  My son calls him a feline Woody Allen.  Only Woody Allen isn’t into extreme body modification, while Euclid chews off his leg hair and gives himself a poodle cut.  Also, some right b*stard trained Euclid to fabric before we got him, which is why we can’t have rugs on our floors, not till Euclid departs this vale of tears. (On the good side, Euclid doesn’t show any propensity to love on adopted daughters.  Of course, he doesn’t have any.  Um…)

But in the days after 9/11, when it seemed I could not stop crying, he was the cat who came and loved on me.  He’s the one who sits on you when you’re sick or worried, and purrs and reassures you all is well in the world.  And sometimes that purr is your only connection to happiness.

Or let’s look at how many not only unplanned but disastrously unplanned children go on and make the world a better place.  Right now it’s early morning and only Leonardo DaVinci – unplanned, illegitimate, broken in interesting ways – comes to mind, but I know there are scores of others.  (Yes, there’s also people like Hitler – but there is no indication that it was the fact they were unplanned that sent them spinning towards evil.)

A friend who had a terrible childhood once told me that she supported abortion unconditionally, because it would have been much better to be aborted than to be abused.  What she was missing was that her parents would never have aborted her.  She WAS planned and needed in the family: as a scape goat.  The kids that get aborted in that type of calculus are the ones whose parents are afraid they can’t give them the very best – just like the animals who get spayed are those whose owners fear that they can’t find good enough homes for the litters – not those that are born to be mistreated.

Part of this, I think, is that our life has become so good compared to that of our ancestors that we think we can push it just a little further and make it ideal.

Every baby will be wanted!  Every pet will be loved!  And there shall be no more tears and suffering!

Never works.  Ever.  There will always be people who need a kid as a scape goat.  And even if you certified parents there will be parents who are fine young, and then get some illness or some other problem and – there you have it.  Less than ideal.  And before you say “but then the kids can be taken away” think of strangers evaluating and deciding family life from the outside.

I was a disastrously unplanned child, born premature with all the problems that implies.  I had the world’s sickliest childhood.  Mom has health problems that make her less than an ideal parent.  (She knows this.  She never wanted children.  She ended up with two of us by accident.)  Were there rough patches?  Oh, sure.  Aren’t there in everyone’s life?  But my family has a shared sense of humor, which helped.  And I got to live and write, and marry and have kids of my own.  Would it be better if I never existed because I wasn’t wanted?  Or even because I would, of necessity, always be at least partly broken?

Some of the best pets I’ve had have been mutts or even feral babies whom I tamed.  Right now we have Havey-cat whom we found on a mini-golf course, starved and covered in grease, and with a broken tail.  He now presents and behaves as a Turkish van.  Is he?  At least partially, probably.  But he’s not less loved because he came to us when we were maxed out on cats and definitely not in the market for one who is a fuzz machine (we’re all mildly allergic to cats.)  And he is, again, one of those animals who can lift your mood, because he’s a born clown and still kitten-like after three years.

Oh, yeah, and through no fault of anyone, I never fit in Portugal.  But my askew childhood and youth – difficult as they were in living them – resulted in my falling in love with a stranger from a strange land, and finding home that way.

Will some percentage of children you give up for adoption be abused?  Inevitable.  A controlling system can’t prevent that.  No system can.  What it can do is keep children trapped in foster care or convince people to abort rather than put the kids up for adoption.  Will some percentage of kittens given away end up as snake food?  Inevitable.  No system can prevent that.  I doubt it’s as many as we’ve been led to believe, though.  Most cats throughout history have been pets and not snake food.  Most humans are predisposed to at least not mistreat pets.  Call it co-evolution.

Look at your lives: really look.  Could you have planned everything that happened?  Would your ideal life have been REALLY better?

Take my career: did I intend to have my first trilogy tank, trapping me in ten years of midlist hell?  Well, no.  But let’s imagine it had succeeded.  I’d now be stuck in the “literary fantasy” niche, which btw pays lousily and where they expect only one book every two years.  Worse, I found by my third book that while I can do it and even enjoy it to an extent, if I do nothing but that I become horribly depressed.

But the trilogy failed, and I was broke, and we were paying on two houses and I was fixing the “old” house for sale, and I couldn’t find a day job.  Then Jim Baen offered me money.  Then Berkley paid me to write Plain Jane.  My heart was broken, I didn’t want to write anymore.  The dream was gone.

But I needed money, and so I wrote, and even through the hell of six-books-a-year the dream came back.  And now I’m facing the chance for a better career than I hoped for AND I have the skills of incredible amounts of practice under pressure.

Would I have chosen this route?  No.  Was it rough as heck at times?  Yep.  Would I wish it undone?  No.  I wouldn’t wish any of the books unwritten.  I wouldn’t wish what I learned unlearned.

There is no perfect upbringing – for man or beast.  There is no ideal situation that can’t be reversed.  There isn’t any reason to believe that wanted – animals or humans – are better.  There isn’t any reason to believe the most peaceful places or eras are better.  Yes, the fourteenth century was a terrible time, but it gave us the renaissance and, eventually, the enlightenment.

Taking the broken and doing the best we can with it is all we can do.

And sometimes it’s much better than the ideal could have been.

102 responses to “In Praise of Broken — A blast from the Past from June 2012

  1. Neither of my children were planned.

    My first one, my wife and I were a complete wreck. I was a screw up loser who didn’t want to work. Then, my wife ended up pregnant. On July 11, 2001, I looked down at a beautiful baby boy and realized I couldn’t keep being a screw up.

    My daughter was born on March 27, 2012. I was struggling to keep my business afloat. She motivated me to try even harder. While it didn’t work out so well, that’s hardly her fault. I can at least hold my head high, that I did my best. While I made mistakes, they all predate her.

    Neither of my kids were planned, but they all showed up exactly when they should have. Plans are great, but being married to plans that call for an ideal life is ridiculous. There is no ideal life. Life is joy and misery, exaltation and suffering. It’s good and bad, and there’s no way to change that. Embrace that the bad will come, and plan how best to weather it, but accept that plans go awry. Know that the bad is coming when you are at the highest of highs, so that you will learn to savor it that much more.

    I didn’t do that with my highest point, in part because I planned to go higher. Didn’t happen. I miss that high, and at least I did savor those moments, so I can always remember how it feels. If I ever reach bestseller status, I already know what it’ll feel like.

    But I don’t plan on it lasting forever.

    Sorry about the length.

  2. It has always been my opinion that our brokenness is the lens that focuses our creativity.

    Unbroken people tend to be non creative and boring.

  3. There are two main types who make me crazy regarding this kind of thing. The “I wouldn’t make a good parent” types, and the “I don’t want to bring a child into the misery they will face in this world” types.

    You wouldn’t make a good parent? Who the heck does? OK, there are some, and some people are better than others, but if you aren’t going to be a danger to your children because you get violent, or something like that, I’d say it’s better to be a live child in a less than ideal household than a non-existent regret somewhere down the line.

    And who gave those others the notion that there was ever a world without misery? I, personally, have not had a big helping of it, but I know several people who have, and they wound up all right in spite of it.

    • That’s why Salve, Regina says “mourning and weeping in this valley of tears.”

    • Hell, I hit both of those types. (Though in my case it was more of a ‘I don’t want any kid to go through what I did in school’ on the second one.)

      But my lovely bride talked me into the long-term genetics experiment, and when we received notice of an incipient delivery in 8 months or so, I figured I needed to figure out how to be a good dad.

      And then I got it. (Shrug.) Take what didn’t work with me from my folks, and don’t do it with the genetics experiment. Where my father was distant, I’m a lot closer. Where my folks (according to the prevailing wisdom of the time) maintained a ‘hands off’ policy, IE no hugs or stuff like that, I’ve not been shy about hugging him, rocking him (when he was tiny and rockable) or singing to him all sorts of nonsensical things.

      I’ve challenged him, making him do things to get what he wants. (Did you know a 9-year old can rotate the tires on a Honda (with supervision and just a bit of assistance breaking the lug nuts free and tightening them down) if you promise him a flying lesson?) (As such, changing a tire has no mystery for him now that he’s almost 16.)

      I’m broken in a lot of ways, but I know most of the ways I’m broken – and have done my best to reinforce those areas in my son. I’m sure there’s things that I’ve missed, but I hope my lovely bride’s been able to reinforce those.

      It’s our duty to the future, after all, to turn out as capable a human being as we possibly can.

  4. How does it go? Life is what happens when your making plans to do something else.

    And slightly off topic, but maybe not, because I’d like to learn a bit of back story on this “life plan”:

    Someone been reading Ringo?

    • and can you tell I’ve not had caffene yet?
      You’re, not your.
      (Yes, I get up at this time … I work 1pm-midnight)

    • I saw that. I’d dearly love to examine the wheel well on that plane. I suspect that there were either new or well-maintained seals on the wheel well doors, and possibly some leaks from the pressurized cabin keeping both the temperature in the wheel-well from going much below freezing and keeping the pressure altitude in the wheel well (roughly, what the air pressure indicates the altitude to be, instead of the absolute altitude above sea level) down to around 22 – 24k feet as opposed to the normal cruising altitude of about 33 – 35k. That would only have taken, if I remember right, maybe a half to 1 PSI of leakage. Not much, but it’d make the difference between death, dane brammage, or just conking out from hypoxia.

      —— skip to the end if you’re not interested in hypoxia or other stuff…

      Quick aviation physiology lesson – above a certain altitude, as you probably know, there’s not enough oxygen in the air to keep the blood saturated with oxygen. That’s why the FAA encourages supplemental oxygen use above about 15k feet in unpressurized aircraft.

      You can start getting symptoms of hypoxia, with impaired judgment and coordination at 15k – just what you don’t want if you’re the pilot in command. So your standard mil-spec oxygen system will give you more and more oxygen until (if I remember right) about 25k feet you’re on straight O2. That’ll do you to about 40-42k feet, at which point you’ve got to start pressure-breathing.

      And that’s just what it sounds like – your oxygen system will force air into your lungs, and you’ve got to push to exhale it. Why? Because at that altitude at the ambient pressure, oxygen can’t cross the barrier in your lungs to displace CO2.

      Yes, it’s not much fun. If I remember right, it’ll keep you going to about 50k, at which point the pressure differential is almost too much for your lungs to handle. Remember, you’re forcing yourself to exhale, think of trying to inflate a balloon that’s almost full. It’s pretty tiring, and not something you want to do for any length of time.

      Think of it as God’s way of telling you that you need to lose altitude ASAP.

      ——– end of lesson.

      I’d really like to stick a recording barograph and thermometer in that wheel well for the return flight. The kid was lucky – damned lucky.

      • Current general aviation guidance from the FAA encourages supplemental oxygen use in unpressurized aircraft above 10k ft pressure altitude during the day, and above 5k ft at night due to the extra boost more O2 gives to night vision.

        • 5k at night? Good lord, at Denver’s altitude that means a little Cessna 152 flying at night would have to have oxygen on board.

          Or ought to.

          Admittedly, it’s been 30+ years since I was flight crew on a C-130, and about 20 since I was interested in general aviation – but that just seems like cranking the altitude down because it MIGHT do some good, not because it’s actually necessary.

      • Well, if the survivor of this near-miss at a Darwin did not have brammage prior to clambering aboard the wheel well, may have now.

        Wait, no, no shield or large buddy around to whang away at the (missing) helmet…

      • The rear gear door seal is beyond my recall (I only ever walked around one once in my fueling days, and just don’t recall the design particulars) but I don’t think they totally seal at all.
        Ringo mentioned he considered making the whole of the first book some kind of oxygen deprivation dream and have Ghost be dead at the other end because of the chances to survive are so low.

    • “A study about wheel-well passengers, performed by the Office of Aerospace Medicine of the Federal Aviation Administration, found that the survivors entered a virtual “hibernation” state.”

      This is almost like the academia version of Rule 34, if you can think of something, no matter how unlikely, somebody will have done a study on it.

  5. I can’t even describe the ways I am broken– Plus I still look at amazon and despair when sales are at zero for days at a time. So glad to know that I have company in my misery. 😀

    • I feel the same way when sales are zero. It’s like “it will never sell again.” — I’m an idiot.

      • You most certainly are young Portagee, but we all love you anyway.

      • Not really– I have a theory that we are rejected so much (I shredded an entire file cabinet drawer of them last year) that we are cracked by it. Hope is not an option anymore– and despair is a sin. Then when you have other cracks– for instance illness and a cracked foundation (childhood), that problem with money causes crashes that causes it harder to write. I should know. When my best material is (poetry) is now worth less than the paper that I write it on– its no wonder we crash– and break more.

      • I think this turns into a mess of pottage dilemma. What is worth more– the heritage or the food? Well, when I was well-fed I thought the heritage… now I know that without food, what good is the heritage?

    • I’m getting very used to it. But I look at it and say I need another one up there to sell intermittently, preferably while the other one is going down.

  6. Of course you plan to the ideal. That’s the easy part. But you focus most of your energy on the contingency plans for when it hits the fan, which statistically it most often does.
    As for broken vs unbroken, IMHO the scourge of our current existence is this crop of unbroken precious flowers of all applicable genders who are operating under the mistaken impression that their continued protected and nurtured existence is the natural order of things. Comes the apocalypse or even a semi major hiccough in our current society and they will be the first to go. Unless, of course, they break and reform stronger and more able to deal with reality. That does seem to be the historical paradigm, but the attrition rate is extremely high.

    • IMHO the scourge of our current existence is this crop of unbroken precious flowers of all applicable genders who are operating under the mistaken impression that their continued protected and nurtured existence is the natural order of things.

      And yet, I have observed that there are plenty of fine upstanding young folks (even if they won’t get off my lawn) who have managed somehow to withstand all the self-esteem-ist and cotton-woolizing of the education and broader cultural indoctrination systems, emerging as responsible, self posessed, hard working young adults.

      Perhaps this is the ultimate proof in the nature vs. nurture debates, but it seems like some kids just turn out right no matter what gets thrown in their way.

      • No argument here. Problem is that the precious flowers have grabbed the spotlight while the good kids just keep on trucking along. All part and parcel of another current scourge, our 24/7 news cycle that must focus on the rat packs of whiney complainers seeking attention because success stories don’t sell. Or so our media mavens seem to believe.
        Of course when the media does deign to examine traditional life honestly somehow those shows have a great and supportive following, go figure.

        • Rob Crawford

          I’ve been reading an interesting book on introversion that, in part, blames the real estate bubble on extroverts. They were too-dominant in pushing the “good news” while the nay-Sayers were too introverted to push back as hard.

          I dislike single-cause analysis, and this one leaves out quite a bit, but it’s interesting.

          The book also claims the US shifted from a culture tolerant of and even celebrating introverts to one that treats introverts as “damaged”.

  7. Less than ideal. And before you say “but then the kids can be taken away” think of strangers evaluating and deciding family life from the outside.

    Our little Duchess– who is VERY two– gets overwhelmed. When she starts to cry or throw a fit, if you can sit her down and leave her alone she usually recovers just fine.

    She also doesn’t like to be touched unless she initiated it. Mommy can hug her, but it’s only recently that she’d actually go over to the Elf and ask him to pick her up.

    Three very well meaning women managed to drive us out of a meeting by refusing to leave her alone, loudly lecturing me on how I’m doing it all wrong, and at one point trying to physically take her from me when I was keeping her from throwing herself to the (stone) floor and banging her head against it. When I finally mildly raised my voice to the same volume they were using, in response to trying to grab my child, they acted offended.

    Yeah, do NOT want nosy *bleeps* like that deciding if I’m doing the right thing.

    • This is when it might be useful to have an obvious blanket, doll, etc. If the child is hugging something, it might be more obvious to people that the child is slowly calming herself.

      OTOH, obviously your family has to do what’s right for your family. And if she’s not tied to her blankie, you don’t want to start anything now!

      On the gripping hand, it’s not wrong for strangers to be nosy about an upset child, but finding the right level of community nosiness without getting really intrusive or grabby? Difficult. Obviously we need to institute busybody training classes.

      • I didn’t mention it, but from the very start I was saying “please, leave her alone. She needs space. Please, stop that. Please, don’t touch her. Please back away, she needs space.”

        I’m trying to imagine what someone with an autistic child would have to deal with…. *shudder* I can pick Duchess up.

        Like I said, they MEANT well, but if they had just listened to repeated, polite requests she would have been fine, instead of screaming like a banshee and sobbing.

        The scary thing is, if the woman had managed to grab her, my poor little girl would have probably bit the woman.

        …. I’m shaking a bit just thinking about it. Terrified, outraged and embarrassed.

        • I say it would have served the bimbo right, but I would worry what your daughter might pick up from that.

          • Sigh… if they were acting like that and being that unobservant, I kinda worry about their own kids. Forget about the busybody classes; they need classes in listening, observation, and comprehension.

            Re: shaking, of course you are. They got between Mama Bear and her cub, and the stress of not tearing them apart for it is a bit hard on a human Mama Bear!

        • Fortunately, I’m wise enough to NOT attempt to intervene when the little darling in question desperately needs a spanking that is not forthcoming.

          I enjoy my freedom.

        • If the woman actually “meant well” she would have respected your requests to back off. Presumably you know your child. I applaud your restraint. I might have grabbed her and said “What part of back off don’t you understand. You are frightening my child.” probably through clenched teeth too.

          I stand amazed how much outright unthinking rudeness is tolerated under the guise of “s/he meant well.”

          • I stand amazed how much outright unthinking rudeness is tolerated under the guise of “s/he meant well.”

            They’re coasties. If they have kids, they didn’t see them much– it would’ve interfered with the career.

            Their entire world view is built around them knowing better, and they vote accordingly. Rules only exist for other people.

            If I got mad at everything they did like that, I’d be nothing but.

            • Basically I agree with you. Most of the time I find their attitude funny in an appalled way. But frightening a child, and persisting at it after being told to stop, is stepping over the line IMO. One of my hot buttons.

            • “They’re coasties.”

              That right there explains it all, no need to say more.

          • I’m blessed (cursed?) with a voice that HAS, one time, quieted an entire bowling alley. Two words would have been all I needed to get the peace and quiet I needed.

            • And those two words are?

              • Oh, it’s not the words themselves. It’s the volume at which they are delivered. Once when I thought a couple of guys were harassing a guy in a wheelchair in a Walmart parking lot, I shouted, “That’s enough!”, and the guy walking out the doors, 100 ft behind me, said I scared the bejeebus out of him.

    • “Three very well meaning women …” are the pavers of the road to Hell.

      The list of problems in this world consequent to the efforts of “very well meaning” persons exceeds the list of problems perpetrated by the evil-doers.

  8. Happy St. George’s Day!

    Happy Shakespeare’s Birthday/deathday/baptismal day/I forget what else!

    (Yeah, I’m fried and not factchecking. Sorry. I don’t want to think about Julian/Gregorian calendars today.)

  9. CombatMissionary

    To those who are spiritually minded, all trials make them stronger. To those who expect the world to provide for them, all tenderness makes them weaker.

    ‘”What if a Seneca came to you and said, ‘We no fight’?”
    “I would take his scalp, cut off his hands and his genitals.”
    “Cut off his hands?” This, I knew, was often done as well as other mutilation. It was a custom, and a barbarous one. “Why?”
    He stared at me as if my words were those of a child. “If he has no hands he cannot attack me in the time after this. If he has no genitals he cannot breed sons to hunt me down. What else is there to do?”
    I started to tell him white men did not do such things and then amended it. “It is not our custom.”
    He shrugged. “You will have enemies waiting in the time after this, but I shall rest in peace.”
    “But why not have peace here? Now? Would you not like it if you could walk in the forest without danger?”
    “No. Soon Keokotah lazy, fat, useless. Indians cannot live without war. Until an Indian has taken a scalp he is nothing. He cannot get a woman, he cannot speak in council.”
    “That, too, can change. In England most of the titled lords won their titles because of their ability at killing. A man was knighted because of his skill with weapons. Now often enough a man is given a title or knighted who would faint at the sight of blood.”
    “The Kickapoo are strong because of our enemies. Deny us our enemies and we would grow weak. The Englishman taught me to pray to your Christian god,” he added suddenly.
    “And you do?”
    “Why not? All gods are useful. Who am I to say yours is not? The Englishman prayed, and he was strong in death. The Seneca who killed him sing songs of his courage.”
    After a moment, Keokotah added, “If I make one last prayer I ask that your god grant me an enemy. If I have an enemy, even one enemy, I can be strong.”
    “It need not be an enemy,” I protested, “any obstacle can do the same. Anything that makes one struggle to be stronger, to be better.”
    “You have obstacle. I will have enemy. You grow strong in your way, I in mine.”
    He was a most stubborn man, but a strong one. Yet as I protested I had to remember that England became great at sea at least in part because Spain built an armada.’
    Louis L’Amour, Jubal Sackett

  10. “Life isn’t bliss, life is just this …
    It’s living.
    The pain that you feel, you only can heal …
    By living.
    You have to go on living….”

    — Spike

  11. Arwen Riddle

    “The people who think every unplanned baby should be aborted or killed up to three months after birth (you only think I’m joking.)”
    Yeah, the hell with anyone who says this. Some of my favorite people are unplanned pregnancies.

    • I have actually heard of people advocating that if you find yourself pregnant unplanned, and decide you want the baby, you should have an abortion and then try to conceive intentionally.

      • Ahhh . . . what? Excuse me while I attempt to keep my head from exploding. ::boom::

        Too late.

        On Wed, Apr 23, 2014 at 3:15 PM, According To Hoyt wrote:

        > marycatelli commented: “I have actually heard of people advocating > that if you find yourself pregnant unplanned, and decide you want the baby, > you should have an abortion and then try to conceive intentionally.” >

      • Arwen Riddle

        That’s appalling. What is wrong with these people?

        • BobtheRegisterredFool

          Consider how many of the enlightened pursuers of sex at any cost would be pederasts and child murderers if only they swung that way.

          They pick or accept an ideology legitimizing their choices when they become teens and horny.

          Treating the fetal growth initiation sequence as what it is, and the immediate results as people, tends to not be supported by said families of ideologies. Facing that if one has acted on feeling those ideologies may well require accepting that one may have hurt some people.

          It is much easier to continue the ‘consenting adults, who cares whose feelings were hurt’ routine, than to end it with mental rigor and self discipline. Especially if one slid into it in the first place, lazily, unthinking, and relying on others for one’s intellectual rationalizations.

          • ‘consenting adults, who cares whose feelings were hurt’

            I might not have a problem with this, (at least not a legal problem) but the three month old is a)not an adult b)probably not consenting and c)having considerably more than his feelings hurt.

            On the other hand, people like these are walking endorsements for repealing the age limits on post term abortions.

            • BobtheRegisterredFool

              What one can legally expect of others is a lousy standard to hold oneself to.

              If one does not care what one does to one’s partners, one can leave quite a trail of hurt people. Whether because one is incapable of caring, one never thought to care, or that one has a compelling excuse not to care.

              If it is the ‘compelling excuse’, or ‘never thinking’, the process that leads one to that might also lead one to the notion that one’s own children, one’s flesh and blood, are disposable on trivial grounds.

              The practices of the Romans, for one, might lead one to think that this a natural tendency of mankind.

              The Romans had post birth abortion lawful up into adulthood. Even if the choice was that of the father, the paterfamilias.

              The early Christian church would take the infants the Romans would leave to die, and raise them. As Christians, the standards they held themselves to would not let them sit still, when they could do something.

              • They often assure you that no one got hurt.

                Ask them how they know, and things get ugly.

    • Three months ain’t near long enough to decide. It takes at least three, four years to find out if yours is a keeper, and then there’s the teen years …

      • My goddaughter barely survived age 15, when she was staying with us for a few months when her parents were on extended trip.

        I finally had enough lip when I was driving her to school, and turn a wrong turn to hear from her seat – “God, you are so stupid”.

        Stopped the car, opened the door and said: “GTFO, you are walking to school today”.

        A two mile walk improved her attitude immensely for the remaining three weeks.

        • She should have considered herself very lucky, that she was capable of sitting down when she got there.

      • I have, actually, seen suggestions of up to two years post birth.

  12. A couple of thoughts regarding the left’s view of children:

    1) I kind of wonder what the 3rd world thinks of all these earnest white people trying to push birth control on cultures that value large families.

    2)As a group that proports to value children, they don’t seem to really like them all that much. As a general rule, if you like something, you want more of it, both in quantity and in time spent. However, many of the upper level vile proggies either have few/no children and usually subcontract all the child care to professionals. Thus, their profession of love rings about as hollowly as that of a serial adulter to his wife.

    • From what I’ve seen Stateside, to leftists, children are an accessory to be used to reflect the glory of the parents. Or used to advance the parents’ political goals. But children should not interfere with the parents’ lifestyles.

      Third world seems to have two reactions. One is laughter and ignoring the idiots who want to remove the family’s insurance policies (kids). The other is India and China and other places, where you have sex-selective abortions and growing population skews. One child is great, so long as he is a male.

    • Aw, c’mon — they Love children!!!! Kids are such good campaign props and justify such wonderful intrusions of the State into private lives. That is why they support policies which can be demonstrated to retard development and maintain a child-like populace through most of a life-span. Without children they lose one of a primary raison d’êntry into our lives.

      • Patrick Chester

        No, “love” has little to do with that, and I suspect your sarcasm means you know that.

  13. In The Big Chill, the dearly departed’s girlfriend says to Jeff Goldblum’s man child character, “I don’t know any happy people. What’s that like?” I don’t know very many un-broken people. LIke Og, I suspect it’s a pre-requisite of life that you take some damage, whether it be systemic or circumstantial. How your damage informs your conformation says it all about you.

  14. On being broken? I am reminded of a quote from an unknown English lady, who said “Blessed are the cracked, for they let in the light.”

  15. You can be basically happy even with a lot of unhappiness and problems, or vice versa.

    Sarah — BibliOdyssey has a bunch of really nice public domain art articles as always, and one of them is watercolors of Paris from the late 1800’s by a guy named Chauvet. But often they feature older bits of Paris, and there’s a REALLY NICE view of Notre Dame over the quai of the Hotel de Ville that doesn’t show anything Victorian except some easily removed lettering. It’s nice stuff, and the source apparently has more.

  16. I’m noticing that the more I attempt to script the future, the more likely I am to have the rug pulled out. Thus far, none of the careers I’ve planned for or trained for have come to fruition. I’m supposed to be 1) Secretary of State (or of Defense), 2) Career military, 3) a senior corporate pilot, 4) tenure-track professor with three books published and at least one teaching award. Oh and I was going to be an opera singer or Broadway star, until my voice was damaged, leaving me without any vibrato until I was in my late 30s. I’m starting to learn that I need to make only very general plans, work my rump off, and take hold of any chances with both hands and my teeth (if necessary).

    • You too? See, I was timid, so I took the “employment guaranteed if all else fails” “education option” degree. I was going to be, if pie in the sky, an ambassador or at least an embassy worker. Then if that failed, I was going to teach. If that failed I was going to translate for companies. and…. yeah

    • Eh, my future (Particle Physicist) fell by the wayside when I was 20, and I had to start scraping for a living doing anything I could find, so I stopped the long-term planning for such things a long time ago.

    • Oh geez TXRed — When I finally earned my degree and started my Master’s so I could teach on Ramstein AFB… I started getting sick. Every one of my plans have twisted into strange shapes. For someone who believes in freedom (me), I have sure been fated for certain things. The more I try and get out of the trap, the more I fall into it. *sigh

  17. Just ask me about “broken.” I’m on my 4th stint in a Nursing Home, after 4 serious knee injuries (in 40 years), and an equally serious back injury. I’ve had 4 Tunguska career changes, and the best year I had, I made ~$22K (1991).

  18. Statistically, abused children are more likely to wanted and planned than normal ones.

    both child abuse and planning children turn on the same principle: children exist to fulfill adult needs.

  19. Had my career gone according to plan…well, there are two possibilities, and both of them point (through different paths, of course) toward eternal damnation. (Am I happy? If so, go to hell with the tyrants. If not, go with the suicides.)

    So I’m rather happy about the whole life-not-following-the-plan thing.

    I try to be as optimistic about the plans that didn’t work out but _aren’t_ obviously horrible ideas in retrospect.