I didn't know who to blame so I went to Badger Bob for advice. "Golly, Bob, I don't know who to blame."
"For what?" he barked. He was trying to burn "Robert Berserquier's Casa del KEEP OUT" onto a slab of cedar with his wood burning kit. The board wasn't long enough, though, and he was pretty frustrated.
"About that Nadya Suleman woman having eight babies at once."
"For Christ's sake, Cope. Blame her. She's the one who had 'em. And they didn't pop up by accident either. She worked at it. Now go away and leave me alone ... unless you happen to have a clean cedar plank at least 6-feet long on ya'."
"Yeah, I should blame her. I know. But did you see that interview she did with Ann Curry? She's not very smart, Bob. You can tell. She sounds like she has one of those gift card computer chips instead of a brain. 'I will always be there for my children ... I will always be there for my children.' Honestly, I think she could watch the Teletubbies and not follow the story. And the deal is, I feel funny about going after somebody so certifiably slow. You know ... unless they're getting us into a war or something."
Bob rubbed his chin. He may have been thinking about my problem, or he may have been thinking about how going nine days without a shave was enough. Finally, he said, "OK then, Cope. What if you blamed a popular culture that always goes bat shit every time they hear about a couple with so many kids they need a hay wagon to get 'em around. Maybe Ma and Pa Bunny wouldn't be in such a hurry to spawn a football team instead of a family if they didn't get so much gushing from television news chirpies."
"I thought about that, too. But then I'd have Mormons and Catholics and who-knows-what-else bitching about how I was some kind of Chinese family-planning Nazi, and how if they want to have more kids than they can remember the names to, that's their business."
"So what? You've pissed off Mormons and Catholics before, haven't you?"
"Oh, I'm sure I have. But I don't see this as a churchy kind of thing, do you? She didn't do this because of orders from Salt Lake City or an edict from some Pope. No, I see this as more of a motherhood psycho kind of thing."
"A 'motherhood psycho kind of thing'? What the hell is a motherhood psycho kind of thing? You just made that up."
"No, no, Bob. I didn't. There really are motherhood psychos, and I'm not talking about people like that Casey Anthony down in Florida. She's a psycho mother, which is a lot different than a motherhood psycho."
"Get outta here."
"No, no. I mean it. You've heard of that mental disorder, haven't you? The Munchausen by Proxy Syndrome? That's where mothers intentionally harm or sicken their children just to get attention and sympathy. Those are motherhood psychos, see? They're psychos who use motherhood as their method and motivation. Now Casey Anthony, she's just a psycho who just happens to be a mother. Get the difference?"
"Cope, if I were you, I think I'd leave that part out when you go to writing your column. Mormons and Catholics are one thing, but you don't want to get mothers on your ass."
"Well gosh, Bob. I don't mean that all mothers are psychos. All I mean is, I think Nadya Suleman is using an unusual and extreme approach to motherhood as a method to get attention, which from the way I add it up puts her in the same category as those Munchausen Syndrome moms. Which means she is a motherhood psycho, right? Only she had a doctor helping her."
"That's whom you ought to blame. The damn doctor who made it possible for such a dimwit to get herself into a situation she has no business being in."
"True, yes, true. But somehow this seems a lot bigger than blaming one doctor. There are a lot of things at work here, and to say it's all this one doctor's fault sort of misses the bigger picture, know what I mean?"
"No, Cope. I never know what you mean. I'm not even convinced you know what you mean half the time."
"Well ... what I think I mean is ... uh ... something about how a lot of women get themselves sloshed around like foam bubbles on a beach. Except the beach is sort of this big conglomeration of pop culture and society and religion and fashion and entertainment and everything else, see? And when the waves go back and forth, these bubble-women go along because they don't know what else to do. If the beach says they can't be good-looking unless they're thin, they spend their lives trying to get thin. Then if the beach turns around and says that real women have curves, they believe the beach. Whatever the beach says, they believe and try to do it that way, whether it's to have a career or to stay at home and have babies or whatever. And the trouble is, they do it because the beach tells them they oughta, not so much because that's what they want or what they're good at. And somehow, I think this Nadya woman is caught up in a wave that's telling her all she's good for is to be a mother. Only, she's taken it to an absurd level ... except in a way, it's not any more absurd than letting some doctor put botox poison into your lips or silicone poison into your boobs or liposuck fat off your thighs. And of course, there will always be doctors around who are happy as hell to make big bucks for doing absurd things to women, right? So it's sort of everybody's fault in a way, right? That no matter how far we've come, we're still getting women to act like foam bubbles, sloshing whichever way the waves carry them. Right? Am I making sense yet?"
"You're seriously going to call women 'foam bubbles?' God, Cope, I think you must have some secret wish to live under a rock."
"Not all women. Gosh, no. I'm just talking about those women that ... you know ... that I'm talking about."
"And you don't think men are just as sloshed around by conventions and expectations and the urge to conform as women?"
"Well sure I do. But that would be another column, wouldn't it?"
I still didn't know who to blame, but Bob made me drive him to Home Depot, and by the time we got back, I'd forgotten all about Nadya Suleman.