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Genetic

Posted on Thursday, March 17th, 2011

Dave!Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Thanks to everybody for their kind comments and support of Thrice Fiction. It was a lot of fun (and a lot of work!), so it's nice to see people enjoying it.

When it comes to my "literary" contributions, I wrote two stories.

One, called "Too Many Days" was written after everything else had been completed, as I wanted something to tie-in with the cover I had made. I've always been fascinated by the rise of the Roman Republic and the days before the Roman Empire, so it was a good opportunity to play around in that arena.

The second, called "The Exit Interview" was written just four days after RW and I had decided on a theme for the debut issue of Thrice. The first draft was very different than what eventually got used. Originally, it was about a genetic scientist who planned to come up with a toxin which would rid the world of anybody carrying any genetic traits she considered "undesirable." I worked very hard to make the lead character a woman which people would absolutely loathe. She was vile, evil, racist, bigoted trash. She discriminated against absolutely anybody which didn't fit the mold of what she considered to be an "acceptable" human. The twist at the end would be when some aliens came to earth and found her genetic makeup didn't live up to their standards.

Eventually, I decided I wanted a more complex story, and the whole "genetic master race" plot was streamlined to a simpler world domination plot. That way, I was able to add more elements and play with the idea of telling the story in reverse-order. I still left in hints of how the geneticist character was originally written... she seems to have an obsession with genetic defects, for example... but the more obvious "she is evil" elements were removed.

The idea for the story came while watching some health debate on television. In it, there was a woman who remarked that she was tired of her tax dollars going to pay for other people's health problems. To some extent, I agree. If somebody does something stupid and breaks their leg, why should my tax dollars have to pay for their dumbassery? But this woman wasn't talking about that. She was saying she "didn't want to pay for other people's sick kids because she was paying for her own kids."

Which is all fine and dandy when the extent of your kid's sickness is the flu or something.

But what about kids that have devastating health problems that your average family can never pay for... even if they have insurance? Should these kids be tossed aside to live miserable lives of pain and suffering for something that's not their fault? Or should society say "We're better than that!" and try to lend a hand and give them the best life they can have?

I would hope that everybody would vote for the latter, but I honestly don't know. Some people simply lack compassion (which, ironically, I consider to be the ultimate genetic defect).

The woman who "didn't want to pay for other people's sick kids" has apparently been blessed with (relatively) healthy children. But what if one of her kids had cancer? Or muscular dystrophy? Or cystic fibrosis? Or any number of other tragic diseases? I'd think that if her children had catastrophic health problems which she couldn't pay to care for, she might be singing a different tune.

For my story, I took this woman's argument to the extreme and concluded that, if she had her way, all these "sick kids" would be wiped from the face of the earth. She only wants there to be "perfect" healthy kids like hers so she doesn't have to pay extra taxes.

Sometimes reality is so much scarier than any fictional villain.

In a perfect world, charities and foundations, not taxes, would provide all the money needed to help people when they're struggling with overwhelming health problems. But we live in a far from perfect world, so sometimes society has to step up and say "We're better than that!" and pick up the slack.

Because the next "sick kid" may just be your own.

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Comments

  1. Sarkawt says:

    David, you do possess an amazing power of imagination and so are the talented writers of Thrice Fiction. I am sure the coming inspiring tales will be even more interesting than the first ones!

  2. CP says:

    In light of recent events with a mutual friend losing her child in a car accident and another child in a coma, this commentary was very timely for me. I was surprised at the amount of people who not only kept their wallets shut, but their eyes and mouths too. This family needed help and no matter how much I clamored for charity, it fell on so many deaf ears. The ones I thought would step up did not, the ones I thought COULD not, did. We are all just moments away from disaster changing the horizon of our world.

    And you’re right, lack of compassion IS the “ultimate genetic defect”. I just didn’t realize the amount of “ill” people that I know. Sad.

    So, where do we find this masterpiece? Online? In bookstores? Where?

  3. the muskrat says:

    Considering how generous Americans are compared to the rest of the world in terms of giving, it’s hard to criticize our citizens for not being charitable enough. However, if everyone who claims to belong to a couple of the prevailing religions in our country actually acted in accordance with their scriptures’ telling them to give 10% of their income to charity, we’d obviously worry a lot less about what the government can’t efficiently do (or, nowadays, afford to do).

    Of course, there’s also the problem of several churches that DO get generous donations from their members, but the money is mismanaged. See, e.g., Atlanta’s own Bishop Eddie Long.

  4. I think it is amazing how people change their opinions to fit their own needs. I try really hard to not ever speak in absolutes because my thoughts are only from my point of view and if I had different circumstances I am sure I would have different opinions. I can’t wrap my head around humans not helping other humans when they can though. That is definitely one thing I will never understand.

    I didn’t choose to get cancer. I did nothing to cause it. If I couldn’t afford to treat it and no one was willing to help I would then be worth less than a healthy person and it would be fine to watch me die? I think a lot of times people take the value of life too casually. I just don’t understand not helping someone else if you have the ability.

    I love that you wrote this, I love your heart and the way you think.

  5. Iron Fist says:

    I was going to send you an email to say this but I’ll go ahead and heap praise on you here: The Exit Interview was one slick piece of story telling and I enjoyed the hell out of it. Well done!

  6. Sybil Law says:

    Your brain is awesome – and kind. It’s a shame more people don’t think like you.

  7. Sarah says:

    I loved everything about Thrice Fiction. All the stories were awesome and I loved your artwork.

    When kids get sick it makes me sad. It’s so hard to see all that pain and not to mention the expense of it all.

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