I was the last of five children, so my parents certainly did their part during the post war baby boom. Back when I was a kid our family wasn’t necessarily considered large – on the contrary, in some corners of the Catholic bastion of Quebec our family might have been considered merely average or even small. By today’s standards, however, we would have been thought of as the freaks of the neighbourhood.
A soccer mom goes by in a minivan with three or more kids and tree huggers not only talk about the gas guzzler she’s driving but the oxygen her ankle biters are using up. This is not a view that I share. I say the more the merrier. If you have the means to take care of a massive amount of loin fruit then more power to you.
So it is with great amusement that I see the reaction of the media and some in the general population when conversation focuses on the Duggar family of Arkansas. In case you haven’t heard, it’s just been announced that Michelle Duggar is pregnant – again. And when I say again, I really mean again! She announced, just around Mother’s Day, that she is about to have her 18th child.
The latest edition of the family will be joining seven sisters and ten brothers sometime around New Year’s Day, and I don’t think I’m going out on a limb here when I guess that the newest Duggar will have a first name that starts with the letter “J.” I am confident in making this prognostication because all of its siblings have names starting with “J.”
Let’s go through the roll call. It starts with 20-year-old Josh and ends with nine-month old Jennifer. In between are Jana, 18; John-David, 18; Jill, 16; Jessa, 15; Jinger, 14; Joseph, 13; Josiah, 11; Joy-Anna, 10; Jeremiah, 9; Jedidiah, 9; Jason, 7; James, 6; Justin, 5; Jackson, 3; and Johannah, 2.
As you can surmise by their ages, a few of these kids showed up in tandem, but for the most part we are talking single births here. As Joy Behar from The View was quoted as saying when Michelle was due with number 17, “The woman must have graffiti on her uterus.” When I think of Michelle, however, I get the image of the clown car at the circus and in my head I can actually hear that calliope music.
Not only can the Duggars now field two complete baseball teams, Michelle and her husband Jim Bob say they plan to keep having children as long as God wills it. At the age of 41 Michelle still has a few child bearing years left. Think about this startling fact; this woman has been pregnant eleven years of her life! I think it’s also fair to say that she and Jim Bob enjoy sex and are apparently quite good at it. Clearly they are not into birth control because at this point simple pantyhose could be a contraceptive.
Some people are saying that this has to stop, that Michelle should put a cork in or that Jim Bob should have his swimmers taken away from the diving board. But as I see this well-oiled machine of the Arkansas family in their 7,000-square-foot home, where all their children are home-schooled, all I can think of is if it works for them – the children seem to be well adjusted and cared for, and nobody is left out – then what’s the problem? (By the way, you can watch a lot about the Duggar family as they prepare to film another television series for Discovery Health).
If you don’t want to have 18 children, that’s your choice. But if you want to have a boatload of kids and you can find someone who will go along for the ride, then more power to you. However, I am reminded of the joke that comedian Tom Dressen has on his CD entitled That White Boy's Crazy:
In the Guinness Book of Records the woman who has the most children was from Harvey, Illinois. My Mom knew her very well. She was married. Her and her first husband had 11 children and then he died. She married again and had seven more children. Again, her husband died. Again she remarried and this time had five more children. Alas, she finally died. We went to the funeral and as they were lowering her into the ground my mother said, “Well, they’re finally together.” I said, “Her and her first husband?” and she said, “No, her legs!”
On the other side of the scale, I would like to share a story that deals with a sperm bank. There are all kinds of bank robberies, but this one is different. A lab technician who allegedly tried to make a quick buck by stealing samples from the sperm bank where he worked has been arrested after a doctor tipped off police.
The employee allegedly stole the sperm and tried to sell 101 vials of it to a doctor for about $625. The doctor declined and called police, who arrested the lab employee and a relative. According to a police spokesman, “The doctor contacted police because they usually refer patients to infertility clinics for treatment. They are never approached with sperm vials on sale.”
Meanwhile an infertility expert described the alleged theft as "bizarre" because vials that are not properly labelled would be, “worse than useless. Anyone would have a hard time selling sperm vials. They must be stored in a liquid nitrogen container. It doesn't make any sense.”
Police said the two men will be charged with stealing and cheating, and each could face up to seven years in prison if convicted.
What I find utterly fascinating about this story is that the sperm bank in question is located in Mumbai, India. It is one of ten sperm banks in the country. So here’s my question. Why does a country with 1.13 billion people need a sperm bank? They seem to have been doing quite well without them.
That’s the Stuph – the way I see it.