One Huge Lesson in Humility.

Thursday, August 5, 2010.—Diary. 2010
<Aug 4 Aug 6>
Kilocal. Quant.

So we’re off for a re­quired class on egghatch­ing at the clinic, ne­ces­sary edu­ca­tion be­fore we can spend the $12K for of­fi­cial dish­sem­in­a­tion and implantery. Last night [Wife] shared with me a pho­to­copied art­icle from Self, provided to her by the sup­port group, re­gard­ing the ter­ri­fy­ing world of infertility—how every­one lies about it to their friends, this un­men­tion­able disease. And while said plague des­cends upon 1/12th of reproducers, when a meet­ing was held on Cap­it­ol Hill they could not gath­er even 100 people to protest the lack of re­search funds. A most secret shame! At the end the woman used as a thru­line did conceive, of twins. I did shed a tear.

But then her con­clud­ing line is: “I’ll be too busy with my twins to fight for aware­ness for fertility.” Which struck me as, you know, suck that dick bitches I’m pregnant! Look at my twins! I win. I wiiiinnnnnn!

Which is the prob­lem with this whole thing. Fuck­ing mon­key bullshit. You want out of this club as fast and as fi­nally as possible.

My thumb brushes the staple. Noth­ing makes you feel that you are in some sort of awful demo­graph­ic like pho­to­copied lit­er­at­ure from a clinic. Un­less it’s a 1/3-width pamph­let with a car­toon on the front. Learning to Live! A big-nosed Kil­royesque char­ac­ter hold­ing balloons. Or a girl look­ing out a window. With clip-art, we can fight despair.

My friend who not long ago dried out in Ari­zona said that for his time there, a month, he was al­lowed only re­cov­ery literature. I know that stuff. It lacks narrative; it affirms; it is un­abashedly di­dact­ic and wears its in­ten­tions without irony. A month in Ari­zona with only those big simple typefaces, star­ing at the pink skin in the author’s pho­to­graph on the glossy back. The lack of nar­rat­ive would be al­most as pain­ful as the lack of stimulants. And yet I can see my­self there someday. Clearly I have habits. I ima­gine my­self jones­ing for a his­tory of World War II, aching for just a little Hitler to get me through my empty days.

When I was 15 I talked to a guy who had to go to jail for a DUI and read Anna Karenina. Which I thought was awesome. That guy also had a lot of canned food in his house. Hun­dreds of stacked cans.

“So what’s with all the cans?” I asked.

“That’s my friend Jake,” he said.

“Wow. Poor guy,” I said.

He just nodded. That was the first time I made a joke like that work. A big adult­hood moment.

Part of this pho­to­copied art­icle is set at the clin­ic we attend, where I have now ejac­u­lated only once but where I plan to ejac­u­late fre­quently in the com­ing months. Hav­ing worked in pub­lish­ing I won­der if they asked for rights to re­print it, but I doubt it. I can’t ima­gine they see the point of copyright, given that most of their work is about en­cour­aging reproduction.

Again and again the pho­to­copied art­icle tells the read­er how neg­lected this field is, how invisible. The writer is try­ing to make it feel normal, but it doesn’t feel normal. And I per­son­ally read this news of na­tion­al neg­lect as: I am mor­ally ob­lig­ated to write about it and pub­lish on the subject; in par­tic­u­lar I should be writ­ing now, in the limbo, where it is at its most confusing, rather than later, when we have either—these are the only two possibilities—been blessed with the glor­i­ous smile of a tot or are shuff­ling in rags down an empty road, alone, to our deaths. I run down a list of na­tion­al magazines who might want the piece: Men’s Bare Chest really wanted me years ago, but do they want the lit­er­ary twist that is necessary, and is Matt still editor? Fucker’s Monthly, my alma mater, has be­come a car crash (although there is a good re­view to write there about fattiness); Tilley’s Weekly Prose Pudding won’t touch something like this; The Magazine of the Big Paper is switch­ing eds; Technofucks, while they’re happy to have me pitch, isn’t going to want the des­pair angle, pre­fer­ring solu­tions to emo­tion­al apocalypse. Or maybe them? Be­cause the technologies, the techne of it, is a worthy throughline, a way to get at the humans. My re­la­tion­ship with that ed­it­or pre­cludes the sort of ne­ces­sary intimacies, though. I don’t want him judging my semen. I could see if there’s a way to rally at Na­tion­al Nap­time Radio, but that’s a cold call after four years.

A fur­ther anxiety—when you do a thing like that in a na­tion­al way they want you to do things about it. They want you to sing and dance and promote. They ask themselves: how will he look on television? And the cam­era adds 120 pounds. Be­sides I am now con­sult­ing at a profit, and to sud­denly be Mr. In­fer­til­ity in any fash­ion is to dam­age that career. And if I do it right, if I pour my­self into 6,000 words and ham­mer home this glor­i­ous piece of prose I’ll get as ul­ti­mate pay­out the op­por­tun­ity to have lunch with an as­so­ci­ate ed­it­or from Crown­ing or Snurtle­g­oose and they’ll say “I really think you have a book in you” and I will rip open my stom­ach with the sil­ver but­ter­knife and pull out a glisten­ing still beat­ing rect­an­gu­lar organ from my body and go, “yes, yes, you were right, I did have a book in­side of me,” and ex­pire right there, right as the wait­ress comes by to ask if everything is okay with the halibut, passed out into the white table­cloth stained brown-red with gob­bets of my blood.

So I’ll do it!

None of this has, could have, any­thing to do with my sud­den need, last night, for Chinese food and cookies. I got off my bike and, sweat­ing profusely, sat in the nervous little res­taur­ant and watched a man battle with his tod­dlers to make them eat noodles, while to my right a fam­ily of an­cient Brook­lyn­ites dis­cussed mat­ters so mundane that they would do them­selves a ser­vice by dying (You like shrimp, don’t you, Herman?; I do like shrimp, yes, but the butter; I asked them for a soda but where is it? Where is the soda? Uncomfortable self-mocking laugh at her own out­rage over the miss­ing soda, which makes it some­how worse.). Achilles, slain by noodles.

'' 16 4
'' 110
'' 80
'' 90 1
'' 95 4
'' 100 2
'' 532
'' 90 5
'' 279 1
'' 96 2
'' 60 2
'' 180 3
'' 130
Total 2,866 (2,866)
O/s [2,100] 766 (766)
2010 August <Aug 4 Aug 6>