High School Student Ultrasounds

Some of you may recall and others of you may neither remember nor care, but I taught high school on the west side of Chicago for almost 10 years. Teaching inner-city high school presents all kinds of unique challenges, not the least of which is having to pretend to be enthusiastic when your students show you ultrasound pictures of the fetus presently gestating inside of them.

The challenge in this case was always having to feign supportive interest because my first impulse when students would proudly pull out these pictures from their back pockets was to say, “Great! You read and write at a 5th-grade level and now you’ll soon be in charge of raising another human being.” I sometimes reflect that I should have skipped the grammar lesson and gone straight for the cucumber-and-condom lesson plan, but we all know how tight school budgets are, and I wasn’t about to waste a condom on a cucumber that I needed for lunch, to say nothing of the implied insult of seeing one fit so snugly around a piece of produce whereas on myself they much more resemble a parachute draped over Danny DeVito. 

Furthermore, all ladies, and in particular those too young to drive a car, should know that proudly showing me pictures of your ultrasound is roughly the equivalent of showing me pictures of your herpes sores because I spent the entirety of my 20s trying to avoid both herpes and pregnancy and in a way, herpes would have been the preferable option because herpes outbreaks, after all, come and go—they do not, in other words, require the same commitment as having to pretend to be interested in your kid’s shitty crayon art projects or cloying pleas for attention for the next 18 years.

Instead, herpes, unlike kids, are much more like cicadas—they come around every few years, they’re annoying and keep you up at night, and then they go away. Kids, on the other hand, are annoying and keep you up at night indefinitely, and herpes also won’t cost you upwards of $200,000 plus college expenses.

And this brings me to an important point about the San Bernadino shooters, whom I’ll bet you weren’t expecting to be referenced in this piece.

In the wake of this most recent American terrorist mass shooting, just about every columnist and TV commentator expressed absolute shock and horror at the fact that the shooters were parents of a newborn child and that they left that child behind at a family member’s house in order to go on a killing spree. 

I say that these commentators only “expressed” shock and horror because to me, that’s actually the least surprising facet of the San Bernadino story. Anyone who’s ever ever spent any time around a newborn baby knows damn well that you consider dropping that screaming little shit off at a relative’s house and going on a killing spree no less than half a dozen times each day. It’s just that most of us find better ways of venting our frustrations that mostly involve beer and a vape pen as opposed to systematically executing a roomful of innocent people.

But you know what? To each their own. Parenting is tough, you guys.

Instead, to me the most shocking facet of the San Bernadino shooters is that they left a half-eaten cookies n’ cream ice cream cake inside their freezer—that is what should raise the most baffling questions, such as: Why not just eat the whole thing? What were you saving it for?

It just doesn’t make sense to me to be counting your calories in the last hours before you plan to die in a hail of police gunfire. If anything, go ahead and wash that cake down with a gallon of Hawaiian Punch because it’s not like it’s going to have a chance to go to your thighs.

And by the way, fuck you too for having the temerity to not only massacre a score of innocent people but also to indulge in our novelty ice cream cake offerings beforehand. That shit is for us, by which I mean those of us who are contributing members of civilized society actively pursuing obesity as our inborn cultural birthright—you don’t get to come here for the purposes of killing us and take advantage of our confectionaries. And good luck finding an ice cream cake in ISIS-controlled Syria or Iraq. The closest you’re likely to come to an ice cream cake there is a spoonful of donkey semen topped with a lanced hemorrhoid.

After the Paris attacks, Charlie Hebdo said that their French culture represents “music, drunkeness, and joy” but in America, it’s beer, bacon, and ice cream so fuck you, you don’t get to enjoy what our culture has to offer and then attempt to destroy it. We have Donald Trump for that. 

Anyway, to return to the topic at hand, I still insist that parenting isn’t nearly as tough as having to pretend to appreciate other people’s ultrasound pictures, so the lesson here is to go ahead and keep those to yourself next time you feel compelled to share them with me or anyone else. It’ll spare us both the discomfort of the little charade that is me pretending as though you ushering another life into this world is a good thing and you believing that I’m not struggling to choke back the bile from a half-digested Mocha Light Frappuccino as I observe the half-developed miscreant you’re preparing to unleash onto an unsuspecting world.

Thank you.

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