I Don't Hate Kids. Honestly.
"My son Bill might not finish college,” she said.
“Why is that?” I asked with concern, while taking a sip of punch.
“Because he’s being scouted by the Reds,” she said archly. “He’s twenty years younger than you, isn’t he Dan?”
We were at a New Year’s party, so I probably could have gotten away with spilling my punch on her. In case you’ve ever wondered what it’s like to be forty, with no kids, this is how it goes.
I escaped to the hors d’oeuvres table, but that put me in earshot of Karen McKarenson from Karenville. “…He saved the kittens,” she was saying “And then did that little backflip off the bottom rung of the ladder. He’s the top of his acroyoga class.” She smiled coyly. “Can you believe the neighbor’s son still does karate? Is it 1985?” Her nails were long and sharp, perfect for poking people’s nerves.
She saw me before I could slip away. “Dan! What are you doing these days?”
“Well,” I said, straightening, “I’m the medical writer for a company that builds transit time ultrasound flow measurement equipment. Our tech allows surgeons to confirm in real time that bypass grafts are delivering sufficient blood before closing the patient.”
She waved to her husband. “Jim, you’re not going to believe this, Dan’s a surgeon!”
“No, I’m not a surgeon, I said we build—”
Her husband came over, bringing his entourage of the rich and powerful. “So what is it you do?”
“We build cardiovascular and cerebrovascular surgical flow probes. We use transit time ultrasound technology to provide ultraprecise flow measurement so that a surgeon can, for example, make certain that an aneurysm clip hasn’t occluded blood flow in a place they can’t see. It happens more than you’d think.”
“So you build ultrasound, like for babies,” he said.
“No, we build flow probes that use ultrasound to allow surgeons to confirm that their flow restoration procedures have been successful.”
“Surgeons,” he said. “So it’s for baby surgery.”
“There. Are. No. Babies,” I said slowly. “I’m the medical writer, and we—"
“Ahhhhh,” he says to his wife. “Dan watches talented people, then he writes about what they do.”
But Roger was already telling me about Johnny. “When Johnny was ten, he was planning on a triple major in biology, chemistry, and physics, but we convinced him that he needed to pick two so he could start writing his doctoral thesis early.” He shrugged at how obvious it was. “Everyone knows how much we need his mind in quantum bioelectrodynamic endocardiothoraciplegic rehabilitation.”
“Yeah uh… cardiodynamo… I was just about to say that.”
“Remind me again, Dan, what do you do?”
“I’m a medical writer. We build measurement systems that give surgeons information about—”
“Oh,” he says with understanding. “You watch them, and then write about it.”
But he’s walking away, talking into his cell, congratulating a friend because her 10-year-old daughter was just elected to the Ohio Senate.
I don’t hate kids. Honestly. But for the love of God, please click this link so I can explain what we do.
What? This blog’s already too long and you have to go because your toddler just brokered a sweeping peace deal in the Middle East?
Just click the link for me, because we build great things.
(Sigh…) Yeah, yeah. And then I write about it.