Unfortunately for any of you reading this in hopes of living vicariously through me, or who want to read about good dirt i’ve found to wallow in, should probably just stop reading at this point. Nothing quite so interesting as that, just one of those things that shows how much older I find myself getting.
Tuesday saw my very first appointment with the Podiatrist. Yeah, I went to the foot doctor. No, my arches are not falling through the soles of my shoes, nor do I have bunions or any other sign of old age. I could only WISH my arches would fall a bit so it would be easier to find shoes that fit properly. Having a high arch and a high instep makes finding decent running shoes nigh impossible. A pirate’s treasure map, written on the back of some 200 year old turtle, floating around the Sea of Mexico would be easier.
No, my friends, I must admit to having picked up a hitchhiker in the gym showers. Nothing quite so spectacular as the little yellow demon from the commercials, I have a standard wart. It has been there, on the outer ridge of my foot, for about a year now, and just won’t go away. Despite treating it for months with over the counter products, both acids and freezes, the thing keeps hanging on. Pun intended.
Thus, my need for some real treatment. The doctor was a pretty nice guy, if a bit stiff in his demeanor. He was quite helpful with his suggestion of treatment and explanation of exactly what was wrong with me, most of which I already knew. The treatment itself was something of a surprise, I must admit.
As a youth, I had contracted a wart on the bottom of my foot from karate classes. I fondly remember the freezing process that my general practitioner put me through. I even remember asking if it would come with crutches as they were a sign of coolness at my middle school. Then, I found the crutches unnecessary, as the procedure was not a big deal. This new procedure, however, is a bit different.
The doc explained that he would be applying the venom from an asian beetle to my foot. Yes, you read that right. Its amazing what nature can produce. This beetle’s poison causes a blister to form on whatever skin it touches. Since the wart is nothing more than a virus, something we can’t kill directly, we need to remove the dead skin around the virus infected cells. So, after rubbing down the main wart, and its 4 daughter infections, I was released from the office with two directives. The first, to wash the foot 6 hours later and the second, to return in two weeks. The first ended up being more like 8 hours because I wasn’t exactly watching the clock. The second instruction was scheduled for exactly 2 weeks later, where I will receive a dehydrating cream to apply for 6 weeks, to ensure that the wart really is dead and give it no place to reestablish itself.
As he was explaining the process, the doctor explained that because this process would raise a blister, it could be slightly painful, but nothing more than ‘Tylenol painful.’ I’m a man, one with a very high resistance to pain, thanks to several of my ex-girlfriends, so I thought nothing of this. While I have yet to resort to any type of drug to treat my discomfort, I do find it wise to wear shoes at all times. Walking, or rather hobbling, around in shoes is NOT my idea of a good time. At least my Mizunos allow me to walk without a limp.
All that said, this experience, with its exotic treatment, reminded me of something which has been stirring in the back of my mind for some time. My last post, regarding modern epic fantasy, ties in here, but in a different manner from which that last post expressed itself. See, many modern fantasy authors have found ways around a common human issue, one that was seen as impossible in our world until the advent of modern medicine, namely that of pregnancy. For some reason, namely contrived plot development, many authors have included in their realms the ability for women to drink teas or take herbs as a form of birth control. Nice idea, but one that would not really be possible in our world.
But what if it WAS possible? What consequences would the presence of such a substance in our world have caused? Imagine how different so many aspects of our society would appear. First, I highly doubt that we would have the world population explosion we would have seen in the last few hundred years. Second, what about religion? How would things have been different if God had included the ability for women to control their ability to be pregnant for all time, and not just allow humans to figure it out about 50 years ago?
Think of the ramifications of theology. What if Mary had taken a massive dose of the drug right after the angel had appeared to her? What if there were only 4 tribes of Israel because Jacob’s wives and concubines had decided they were tired of him getting them pregnant? The mind boggles at the thought.
That said, and back to modern fantasy writing, I understand the reason for including such an element in their stories, but is it really necessary? Women are not dumb, despite the logic of many self-proclaimed conservative theologians, and they know how to keep themselves from being pregnant, if they really choose that route. So, inclusion of such an item isn’t to make up for the lack of intelligence on the part of the female characters.
What about prevention from abuse by male characters upon the female? Very few of these same authors include the threat of rape in their works, even fewer the actual act, and none that I have read have combined that with such an anti-pregnancy drug, so that would not be the reason, either.
Having thought about it for some time, my only conclusion can be that this is nothing more than a device to allow characters, both male and female, to engage in intercourse without the need for pregnancy as an unwanted outcome. The use of this device does allow for the audience, who is well acquainted with chemical birth control, to have yet another way to identify with the characters. However, does this removal of consequences allow for the characters to act in ways that are not fitting with their realms?
I remember a passage from the Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, where Douglas Adams discusses how that, given the vastness of the universe, anything that could possibly be created by man was likely to be found naturally somewhere in the universe. There were groves where mattresses grew from the ground and screwdrivers hung on trees like fruit. So, given that hypothesis, why could such a birth control device not exist as a natural form in some alternate reality?
Very likely, it could. My problem with this assertion is that some relatively primitive culture could be aware enough to realize that any woman drinking this particular tea, or eating this particular root, will not get pregnant while any woman not taking the device will get pregnant. There are way too many other factors which could not be measured in such an environment for such a drug to be discovered.
Could these realms be merely the anomaly? Of course they could, but the convenience of the anomaly, something that is never explained, really bothers me. Most authors, all the ones I have read using this device, all say there is no other use for this root/herb/tea than to keep women from getting pregnant. Would it not be more likely that this was found only as a side effect of the herb curing something else, like maybe a headache or some type of antibacterial agent?
I find it very easy to see women saying, “Why can’t I control when I get pregnant?” but have a much more difficult time seeing a woman, or women, setting out to study every single plant in the forest, to see if ingesting one of them keeps them getting pregnant. How many women had to die, eating poisonous roots, before they happened upon the right one?
Maybe it was luck. Maybe the first woman picked the plant, the one that had orange leaves with little pink polka-dot spots, and miraculously she never had kids while she was eating it. Crazy, I know. Possible, sure. Likely, not hardly. At least throw me a bone and mention, in passing, that this is an absurd happening, but tell me WHY it is absurd. Do not leave me grasping at why you take this out, just to put sex into your novel. I’m ok with people boning, just don’t insult my intelligence by saying that people who shouldn’t have an out to pregnancy, do.
Subscribe to Ted Hardy
Get the latest posts delivered right to your inbox