Vol. 1(1) – June 16, 2005
Coady of Conduct:
I am a 28 year-old woman, and I have been married for four
years. My husband and I are planning to have a family very soon,
but we have one big challenge: I have a hereditary eye condition
and I may lose my sight in the next few years. My vision is already
impaired, and I’m worried things might deteriorate quickly.
I really want to have a family, but I’m not sure if it’s
fair to the children if I know I’m likely going to lose
my sight. I might not be able to work or care for the kids. Fortunately,
my parents are fairly young (in their early 50s), and they’ve
expressed a willingness to help raise the kids should anything
happen, but I’m not sure if they’ll feel the same
way once reality hits. I also don’t want to leave my husband
with a huge burden, taking care of me and any future kids, and
working, too. Do you think it’s wrong for me to have children?
Looking for Answers in New York
For the love of god, lady, you're a human being with a stable
marriage and a presumably functional uterus. Of course it's not
“wrong” for you to have children. The only people
who would think so are the same righteous souls who advocate sterilization
of the poor, and as your personal advisor, I would advise you
not to listen to them, as they have writhing clumps of maggotry
where their heads and hearts should be. Also, there are some highly
capable visually-impaired people out there who would bristle to
say the least at your suggestion that their children represent
moral lapses, and their very being “a huge burden.”
If you really want to have kids, you need to start adjusting your
perceptions now. Learn what it takes to become one of those highly
capable visually-impaired people. These folks hold down jobs,
go for walks, read books, enjoy life. Find out how they do it.
If it sounds like too much work for you, then and only then do
you have my permission to forget about having children—because
that particular gig isn't going to be any easier, with or without
the 20/20 vision.
Coady of Conduct:
I am a 15 year-old girl, and my mother and father have been having
marriage problems recently. What I really hate is that my mom
is constantly bad-mouthing my father behind his back. She’s
always going on and on about what a selfish, mean “bastard”
he is. I know that my mom doesn’t have many other people
to talk to, and I want to help her out, but she’s putting
me in the middle and making it hard for me to see my dad the way
I want to see him. My mom tells me a lot of adult stuff that I
don’t want to hear, but if I tell her to stop talking about
her marriage troubles, I’m worried that I’m going
to make her feel more isolated than she already is. How do I get
out of this jam?
Caught in the Crossfire in D.C.
I don't advise this kind of thing often or lightly, but some situations
fairly scream out for a good shit-fit, and you, being 15 and not
yet having the oppressive burden of adult rationality weighing
on your head, are in a perfect position to execute one. Here's
what you do. Mom starts ragging on Dad. You put your fingers in
your ears and sing-song very sweetly: "I can't heeeear you!"
Mom will pause, raise her head, look at you queerly and then resume.
You start singing something cloying like "The Mockingbird
Hill" or "The Candy Man" (you'll have to look up
the words and music online) and the next time that word "bastard"
hits you, you hit her again with a louder, reedier "I can't
HEEEAAARRR YOU!!" At this point one of two things will happen.
Mom will ask: What the hell is wrong with you? or else she'll
be so wrapped up in her own bile and bitterness she'll just keep
on with the Dad's-a-bastard patter. Take either as your cue to
detonate. Say everything you said in your letter, only screamier.
Turn purple. Shed a few tears. Mom will be gobsmacked. She'll
stand there thinking, holy crap, I've driven my kid insane with
my selfish, self-absorbed bitching. She will do everything in
her power to calm you down. She will swear never to utter a bad
word about your father in your presence again, and what's more,
she'll mean it. She will probably even get you a bowl of ice-cream,
or take you shopping.
But remember, the shit-fit is a powerful weapon, to be used rarely,
and only for good. You haul it out ever time you want a new piercing,
it's off to the Ritalin man for you, young lady.
Coady of Conduct:
I am a happily married man. However, I have become smitten
with a co-worker. She is young, attractive, shapely, intelligent
and funny. She has a great personality and we get along together
well. I am self-conscious and awkward when I am with her because
I want to be charming and interesting. Oh, to be single again!
But I do not want to jeopardize my marriage. I want to know if
this woman finds me equally appealing. I just want to feed my
ego and move on. How can I find this out without giving the impression
that I want to cheat on my wife? Or am I asking for trouble?
Playing with Fire in the Big Apple
Feed your ego and move on. Right, sounds like a solid plan. But
let's play this little scenario out, just for the hell of it.
You're strolling past your shapely co-worker's desk one morning
in the hope of discovering whether or not she finds you attractive.
After some innocent, flirty chitchat, you're ready to take decisive
action. "Warm today, isn't it?" you query, locking-eyes
with the beauty and casually removing your shirt. This, of course,
after having spent the wee hours of dawn at the gym, blasting
your pecs, lats and biceps. "Ah, I've spent all morning blasting
my pecs, lats and biceps," you confide to said colleague.
"I'm very. . ." you pause for a moment, pretending to
search for the right word. . . "stiff." Again, you lock
eyes with your now somewhat slack-jawed co-worker. Apologetically,
you begin to flex and rub your muscles, making relieved little
oohing and ahhing noises as you work out the knots. "That's
better," you murmur, shrugging your shirt back over the dual
hams of your shoulders. And finally, before you depart, you favour
the young lady with one final soulful, significant look. And what
do you see? Beneath the honey-glaze of her eyes, between her lush,
parted lips, a bead of moisture. Of drool. Is it the spittle of
distain? No. Intuitively, you know it to be the slobber of a profoundly
aroused young woman. She meets your eyes. Pure sexual electricity
zaps your spine.
Oh good! Now you can move on.
a problem? Need sage smackdown?
at lynn @ dearanyone.com.
Lynn Coady is the author of the novels Strange Heaven and Saints
of Big Harbour, and the story collection, Play the Monster Blind.
She edits and essays on the side, enjoys escapist TV and telling
people what to do.
Saints of Big Harbour
Play the Monster Blind