Unfortunately I am an author in a culture that now considers the word “book” to be a verb. And everybody says that’s amazing until you ask them to buy a book and suddenly it’s like you just handed them a gun used in a double murder.
“Hell no! I don’t want my finger prints on that!”
And so the life of writer isn’t as glamorous, and it certainly isn’t as lucrative as they make it look in movies. That’s why, to keep up with bills I took a part time job with a delivery service. After what happened today I wish I was a stand up comedian rather than a writer. Today was meant for stand up.
I had to pick up a canister for embryos at a small fertility clinic in Northbrook. Tthe girl at the counter was nice enough and as I was leaving she said, no doubt to gauge how long it would take me to return with the embryos she asked how long it would take. Figuring traffic, I told her a couple of hours. Without thinking she said, “Oh, we’ll see you around lunchtime.”
Bad choice of words. Like Spiderman, my sarcasm senses were tingling.
The fertility clinic I was to pick up the embryos at was in a building just off the Chicago River, near downtown. It was a pretty lavish place; very upscale. Why is it a blessing when rich people go to lengths to have a baby, and everyone says they overcame the odds. If you’re poor and can’t get pregnant, it’s probably for the better because the word is so overcrowded.
So I am waiting while they load the fetus’, which must just drive the anti-choice people nuts. I have to use the bathroom, and the receptionist hands me a key. Now I’ve seen movies and TV programs with scenes in fertility clinics. As I push the key in the door I am expecting this unbelievable bathroom; something out of a swingers pad in the 1970s, or something to put you in the mood, right? I’m thinking there’s like black mirror tiles, porn music, or the best of Prince playing softly, leopard skin rugs and towels, maybe a wide screen TV with a stack of DVDs all laced with an ambient shame just for being there in the first place.
Instead I open the door and the brightly lit room smelled of Lysol and Febreeze. The room looked like an add from a JC Penny catalog and there was a reader’s digest in a drawer, and my first thought was, how disgusting! What sort of sick bastard gats off on Readers Digest! If you can’t get pregnant, that might be the problem.
Then I remembered some years ago when my brother and his wife were trying to conceive. One day on the phone he says, Bill, we’ve tried everything. We’ve tried lotions, magazines, movies, therapy…”
I said, “Great, have you tried having sex?”
So I’m in the bathroom and on the wall is a changing table. I thought, wow, that’s jumping the gun just a bit. Or, maybe it’s the most brilliant marketing ever.
Finally the lady returns with the embryos loaded into the canister, and I can’t help but ask if there are and safe handling procedures. She says just to keep the canister upright.
Should I play a certain kind of music, I ask, perhaps play some Mozart or recite some Shakespeare? She asks if I know any Shakespeare. I blush and say no, but I can recite half of the movie Stripes, and I have U2s rattle and Hum in the CD player.
On the way back traffic on the highway was heavy so I detoured through a northern suburb. Passing down on street I neared a bunch of anti-abortion types holding signs with pictures of aborted fetuses. I had half a mind to pull over and call the bunch to the car and announce, “Lookie here. I wrangled some live ones!”
I was worried about bumps in the road and started acting like those people with the baby on board signs. Suddenly I’m like a doting parent, but my only reference here to these floating fetuses in the tank in the backseat was when we brought goldfish home in plastic bags, or when I’m holding a cup of something on a bumpy road, and I’m suddenly horrified of the thought of those little embryos sloshing around like passengers on the Titanic.
Then I thought that maybe I should stop and buy a card to leave at the clinic for the future parents reminiscing about their kid’s first car ride, and that it was in a Honda with a hundred thousand miles on it, and that we stopped at Wendy’s for a shake-chocolate- and that if the kid grows up to be a pot smoking long haired stoner it might be the Led Zepplin CD I had cranked. And that the stuff floating in there with the embryos was just me feeling guilty that I didn’t have enough for everyone so I dropped a French fry and a piece of a chicken tender in the tank…and I am super sorry they implanted you with a French fry.
And then I just couldn’t help myself when I finally arrived at the clinic and the girl looks at the canister and asks, if “that is…”
And I nod smartly and say with total confidence, “Yep, its lunch.”
WC Turck is an author, artist, playwright and talk radio host in Chicago. He has been called the most dangerous voice on the Left. He is currently working on a new book “Shoot Down: An unflinching look at the events leading up to the shooting down of Malaysia Air Flight 17.” His first novel, “Broken” was recommended by NAMI for its treatment of PTSD. In 2006 he published “Everything for Love,” a memoir of his experiences during the siege of Sarajevo. He wrote and produced two critically acclaimed plays, “Occupy my Heart” and “The People’s Republic of Edward Snowden.” He works with the homeless and foreclosure victims in Chicago. He partners in a weekly radio show dedicated to issues, society and politics with cohost, activist and artist Brian Murray For more information, past shows, videos and articles, visit www.revolutioandbeer.com