Copyright March 2014, by Robert Barrow
(Inside the office of Dr. Thaddeus A. Dreamcrusher, Certified Pre-Conception Counselor. . .)
A young married couple, posing questions asked by either he or she, indicated in italics.
Dr. Dreamcrusher, C.P.C.C., responses not italicized.
"Doctor, we're so concerned about the obstacles encountered in having children, but we really want a baby. Can you help us?"
"Well, with the latest statistics indicating that one out of every 68 or so children may be autistic, I'm afraid I can't offer you much hope."
"There must be something medical science can do."
"Of course, medical science has given you the American Medical Association, and woe be to anybody who tries to circumvent its standards in this country. But not to digress -- look, there is a very significant chance that any child you produce during a few animalistic sessions of intense fornication, even guided by the love you feel for one another, will be autistic. Do you really want to chance bringing an autistic child into the world? And the day will come when you both die, and who will care for your child then? A state institution with borderline recommendations, staffed by scary or murderous caretakers?"
"Our passing won't matter. We plan to have several children, so there will be others to care for a child with that diagnosis."
"Well, that's right out of a storybook, but let me ask you this -- isn't it rather selfish of you to automatically assume that your non-autistic children should be delegated with the immense responsibility of drastically altering their lives in order to care for a perpetually troubled family member intentionally made by you both?"
"Oh doctor, we may not even HAVE an autistic child."
"Maybe not. And many of them can do very well on their own with early treatment and care. But the odds are increasingly not in your favor."
"What causes autism, what can be done?"
"A world full of smartie-pants researchers don't have the final answers, but they stress genetics. Personally, I believe that decades of poor nutrition, farm fields depleted of proper nutrients and scores of chemicals introduced haphazardly into our lives and bodies probably have a significant impact. If you accept that humans have evolved due to conditions of necessity, who's to say that bizarre man-made substances introduced into the environment of our own physicality don't provide a relationship? We humans are our own Petri dishes by virtue of our shotgun ingenuity."
"But we want babies, there must be something. . ."
"You're not listening..."
"We are! But you make it sound so, so bleak. I mean, to say this is all due to chemicals and inadequate farm fields. . ."
"It might be worse, actually. Sometimes I wonder about all those UFO sightings and close encounters reported in the fifties, sixties and seventies. I wonder whether some force of which we have virtually no understanding could have affected some portions of human population, resulting in gradual mental or physical changes." Or maybe, as some scientists suggest, human DNA's box of surprises is reaching a plateau, and it's all downhill from here anyway."
"Doctor, that's the craziest thing we've ever heard."
"Really? Well, your rampant desire to make babies in the face of increasingly disastrous odds is the craziest thing I've ever heard."
"But -- but it's the natural thing!"
"Yes, it is normal and natural to want to reproduce. And mercury, lead, arsenic and rattlesnakes are also part of nature. So, I guess the best I can do today is say -- choose your poison."
"Well, this is outrageous! We don't care what you say, doc -- we're going to make lots of babies and we're starting at soon as we get home!"
"(Sigh) Undoubtedly with the assistance of erectile enhancement pills, topped off by testosterone supplements which will probably kill you someday, and -- who knows, perhaps cause genetic alterations affecting the distant future. Good luck."
"You know what, doc? Sex just isn't much fun anymore."
"Not for its offspring, no it isn't."