Science Paparazzi, Aging Boomers

22 Aguust 2001

The Onion has this lovely article about the science paparazzi. It amused me greatly, in part because I have to remind myself, as I've told people before, that this isn't how it works. My heroes are mostly such that if I listed them off for a random someone in the grocery store, that person would keep saying, "Who? Who's that?" But I have to remind myself that they're not getting mobbed by hordes of screaming teenage girls every time they step out of the house.

And nobody is getting a haircut to look just like Connie Willis. Ah well. Our society and its twisted value system.

I'm really happy with the short story I'm working on right now, because the ending could so easily have been thweet. Awww. Idd'n that thweet? But it's not. It's a little more real than that, and that makes me happy. My brain, right now, is demanding to write SF short stories -- as compensation, I'm thinking, for writing a big ol' fantasy novel. I wrote several more fantasy short stories than SF when I was writing Reprogramming, and I think the reverse was true for the other place books. Huh. I hadn't thought of it that way before. Evidently my brain is really, really genre-balanced.

Now if only that mystery and historical fiction and nonfiction stuff didn't keep popping up, I could just float along, tra la, switching off types of short story and types of novel. Ah well. It's a good problem to have.

Did you see Tim's picture of Karen's kid? Go look at it. It is cute and fabulous, and my baby envy kicked in. I said to my Mark, "I want to have a kid so that Tim could mess with it." He said, "Not a good reason." I said, "It's a better reason than 'I want my other kid to have a playmate.'" He said, "Yes." I said, "It's a better reason than 'I forgot to take my Pill.'" He said, "Yes. Still not a good reason." I told Timprov all this, and he said, "Is it a better reason than 'I want my other kid to have someone to beat up on?'"

We only kids get a bit cynical about the "assured playmate" motive for having children. We've seen too many sibs who didn't get along. And people from large families often get defensive of their large families in ways that we can't really challenge. Rachel, for example, relayed her brother as having said, "Well, sure, if Mom and Dad had had fewer kids, we would have had more toys and stuff. I don't think that would make our lives better." Yep. That's exactly what being an only child is about. And if you don't want to have twelve siblings, it's because you like toys a lot, and if you don't want to have twelve children, it's because you want your children to be materialistic spoiled brats.

I think most of us o.k.s acknowledge that we can't really imagine siblings. That to do so, we'd have to make up people whole cloth and try to fit them into our family dynamics. I just wish more people with siblings would realize that it takes an equal feat of emotional imagination for them to know what it's like to be an only child. It just seems like many of them aren't even trying.

Mark just let me know that Fred Hoyle was dead. I didn't know Fred Hoyle was alive. I'd like to be sad for his passing, but...gosh, he was still around? Good for him, to keep going that long!

(My Onie is tougher and stronger and cooler than Fred Hoyle, and everyone who ever heard of her knows she's still alive. But good for ol' Fred anyway.)

You know what we're going to have to put up with for the next 50, 60 years? The Baby Boomers telling us how miraculous it is that they're doing whatever it is they're doing at their age. Anti-senescence technology gets better every day, but people's attitudes aren't keeping up with it quite quickly enough -- the rebel Lutherans sent us an article in our newsletter about how an 86-year-old woman organized a regional meeting. And it took Mark and I a good long time to figure out that we were supposed to believe it was remarkable that she could still do that at her age. But we take for granted that there are active, healthy, vital 86-year-olds running around. Combine that with the Boomers' generational flair for self-promotion and lazy journalism, I don't look forward to this part at all.

Ah, well. At least it's Ray Bradbury's birthday.

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