I decided that I wanted to get my hackles up, so I watched the vice presidential debate last night. Paul Ryan reminds me of those guys in college who would get drunk at shitty parties and hit on me with lines like “oh HEY I like Nirvana I know you’re all into ALTERNATIVE MUSIC I like that too want to go to my dorm room and listen to my Pearl Jam CD?” I would inevitably respond with something pithy and succinct, like “Fuck, no.” Because I may have made some questionable decisions in my youth, but I don’t think I ever messed around with anyone who had Eddie Munster’s hairline.
So one of the most irritating parts of the debate was when Paul Ryan started talking about the 7-week ultrasound pictures of his first child. I want to be pretty clear about this: I am anti-sharing ultrasound pictures of your fetus. They are literally something that only a mother can love. Everyone else only sees a blurry mess that may or may not be accented with arrows and call-outs. This blob is FINGERS! The thing that looks like a duck’s bill is LEGS! Congratulations, those are GIRL PARTS! If you have one of those newfangled 3D ultrasounds, it looks like your fetus is made of wax and it is partially melted. Yes, you can see the features pretty clearly, but they look like they’ve been sculpted out of Play-Doh by a hyperactive second-grader.
I had a crapton of ultrasounds when I was pregnant, and every time the techs would point out features that I could not have identified on my own. I still have my seven-week ultrasound pictures upstairs. It looks like a blurry mess with an arrow pointing at a particularly blurry area and a call-out that says BABY. Because really, that’s the only way to tell what part of this blurry mess is going to eventually develop into a full-fledged human that crawls around the house going “bwa bwa bwa” and chasing the cats.
So I don’t like routine sharing of fetal snapshots, and I don’t like people naming their fetus, either. Especially if the best you can do is “bean.” Could you get any more boring? “Bean” is one of the things that the ultrasound techs tell you so you’ll have an idea of the scale of the creature infringing on your ladyspace for the next eight months. The embryo is only “bean” for a short while. Eventually, it will be the size of an apple, a grape, an heirloom tomato, and a crenshaw melon. If the Ryans had their first ultrasound at 13 weeks, would they have saddled their child with the unfortunate nickname “medium shrimp”? Think about it:
You know, I think about 10 1/2 years ago, my wife and I went to the hospital for our thirteen week ultrasound for our firstborn child, and we saw that heartbeat. A little baby was in the shape of a medium shrimp. And to this day, we have nicknamed our firstborn child “Medium Shrimp.” Now I will never be able to enjoy Endless Monster Shrimp at Red Lobster ever again. It’s such a shame. I sure do miss those Cheddar Bay biscuits.