>>> Primal Urges
By staff writer Nathan DeGraaf

July 11, 2007

Brenna: You know how many people are getting married today?
Nathan:
Sixty percent less than will be married in ten years?
Brenna:
You’re a real negative person, you know that?

I was raised right.

(Stop laughing.)

I was taught to stand when a woman enters a room, to open doors for women, to cuss and swear only when no women are present and to always say grace before I eat my food. I was taught to respect my elders and protect my siblings and my mother. (Dad always said that he was on his own until he went down, then I had to step in.)

My parents tried.

I was not raised in a conventional family. You know, the kind where Mom stays home and frets about the color of the kitchen walls while the kids are at school and Dad’s at the office turning ten dollar bills into fifty dollar bills. My mother is a minister; my father is a head-shrinker.

“Not only did she agree to get the abortion, but she also agreed to pay for half of it.”

Dad always worked late because people who can afford to pay to complain about their lives typically have to do so after normal business hours. My mother worked sixty hour weeks tending to a huge congregation. So we didn’t always have a chance to get everyone at the table… or the little league game… or the piano recital… or whatever.

Nevertheless, despite the odd nature of my family, I was raised right.

Nowadays, being raised right means nothing. How can you raise a kid right in a world where religion has been reduced to a bunch of tax-avoiding pedophiles, women have earned the right to open their own damn doors, and marriage has been reduced from a sacred vow to a mere crapshoot?

I guess you can’t.

Don’t get me wrong. I love this world we’re living in. The crazy divorce rate has provided me an excuse to extend my bachelorhood as long as I want, the mess that has happened with religion provided me the opportunity to sleep in on Sundays, and the women’s rights movements and resulting sexual revolution have allowed me the beauty and bounty of many casual partners. This world kicks ass, and if you don’t believe me, try to find a chick under thirty withouta tattoo. Oh they’re out there, but so are albinos. Neither is easy to find. And in both cases, there’s not much of a reason to search (sorry, albinos).

My friend Jimmy recently knocked up a chick with three tattoos and a tongue ring. She may have other piercings, but the tongue ring is all I’ve seen (I swear, Jimmy).

Jimmy told me about the unwanted pregnancy, and then he asked me what to do.

“Get an abortion,” I said.

“But, I mean, isn’t that a little unethical?”

I shrugged.

“What isn’t?” I asked.

So Jimmy went back and talked to his girl, and not only did she agree to get the abortion, but she also agreed to pay for half of it.

I think that’s fair. And fair is important.

You see, fair is what we’ve been trying to achieve with gender equality. Equal pay for equal work, splitting dinner checks, letting women get their own doors, sharing the housework and on and on. Fair is what we’re going for, which makes sense to me because when I was a little kid, I always wanted everything to be fair.

Of course, by the time I was six my father had taught me that nothing was fair and that if I went through life expecting everything to be fair, I would amount to exactly “jack shit.”

Which, if you think about it, is exactly what Jimmy’s unborn child is gonna amount to.

What a time to be alive.


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