Sunday, October 2, 2011

Children's Graves and Sperm Donors

The package of Oreo cookies I bought last week (September 25, 2011) had a stamp on it that said the cookies were okay to eat until January 2012. I love fake food! Food that doesn’t go bad for three months! Food that refuses to die a natural death.  So by mixing in bad chemicals (as writer Kurt Vonegut would say) with the cookie matter, Nabisco extends the shelf life of the product from (let’s guess) one week to twelve! Too bad they can’t mix up a bad chemical cocktail for humans, huh? Extend our lives by twelve times the normal. Why must immortality be so elusive?

The Oreos got me thinking about mortality, but two other things happened that day that REALLY got me thinking about mortality. First, I found out a neighbor backed his truck accidentally over another neighbor, killing him. Second, this show came on the telly called “Sperm Donor.”
The reality TV show Sperm Donor is about a guy who (indirectly) fathered seventy children via donation of his sperm - and, get this - he wants to meet them all! Despite this grossly egocentric desire for immortality, he’s trying to convince his fiancĂ© to marry him. I happen to know two of the children he helped conceive – and they look like him!

Obviously, desire exists on the part of some people to procreate, when they physiologically cannot. It's great that we have the technology. Children’s gravestones from the 1800s remind us of the preciousness of life.

Back before vaccinations and prenatal care were all the rage, infant mortality was much higher than it is today. Couples back then didn’t have large families due to lack of birth control – they had large families because they knew many of the children would die young. Today we’ll use dramatic medical intervention (at a cost of perhaps a million dollars) to save one baby, while down the hall another medical team will be aborting a healthy fetus. What’s up with us? Is it really just about survival of the fittest?

They say that in a hundred years, there will be all new people, implying that all the troublemakers (and hence, all our troubles) will be gone. Obviously, that won’t happen – there will just be new troublemakers. WE will be gone, but what sort of legacy will we have left behind? If only someone were looking at the big picture (like the guy in the photo below), and telling us, “No, don’t do that – it doesn’t make sense in the long run,” or maybe, “Go ahead and eat that entire package of Oreos – tomorrow someone’s going to run you over with a truck and you’ll be dead anyway.
Looking at the Big Picture

Further Viewing:

(If you can stomach this freak show)
Sperm Donor, broadcast on The Style Network

Vaccine History and Achievements (The National Network for Immunization Information) 

And for the contrarians out there:  Vaccines Did Not Save Us – 2 Centuries of Official Statistics