Upsetting
Monday, March 01, 2004
 
Before it rushes from the mother’s belly, the human fetus drinks amniotic fluid filled with substances with names like vernix and lanugo. These protective coverings peel off into the womb and are consumed by the unborn and form what is called meconium.

This is why babies have black shit.

Sometimes, if the pregnancy runs past term, the fetus may breath in this black-shit amniotic fluid into its tiny lungs, something that is called meconium aspiration.

Thus, before it is born, the human is eating its own shit.

She told you all that about the baby shit and breathing in the womb with a straight face, and you couldn’t believe she had all that at her synaptic fingertips. It would’ve probably been a good time to ask her what she did for a living, and also to compliment her on her careful effort of telling the story with the fetus’ life in proper chronology.

Is a life a life if it isn’t born?

You remember those videos about pregnancy, and it was hard to fathom that life began after a man drank a six-pack of domestic beer, as you’d been told growing up. You couldn’t conceive of joining one side or the other, those fucking crazies with bloody pictures at the park, they of the encyclopedic knowledge of the Bill of Rights and assembly and speech and all that.

You once French-kissed someone wearing a t-shirt that read NO U.S. INTERVENTIONS IN WOMEN’S WOMBS.

Those fucking crazy people screaming across the fence at each other, their faces pinched in celibacy and hate, their roiling guts predicting an early death.

Quite an amazing thing, she said. I mean, the kid has no goddamned say in the matter. Yanked from one shit-eating environment into another. What a lousy go, huh?

You thought about the poetry of childbirth, about the age-old should-I-bring-a-life-into-this-fucked-place question.

The advertising machine tells you there’s never been a better time than now to make babies, and fucking is everywhere. It abhors violence and sex unless it’s taxed for $10 at your local multiplex. Where’s the bloody passion in that?

Yeah, I don’t know about all that, you told her. I mean, sounds crummy. It’s why I play the piano and listen to the dogs. It’s all that really make sense. The rest is sort of Habitrail stuff. Get on, spin, go forever, die.

Because you didn’t have a choice, she said. And now you’re doing all you can to just slide on through.

You clarified to her that you weren’t really doing all that much except playing the piano for dog food. That and a couple drinks.

So it doesn’t hurt so much.

Yeah, I guess so. So you don’t hurt so much.
 
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