Wednesday, April 21, 2004

(This story used the names Gabriel and Peter only because they were convenient, not because I actually know anything about them. Apologies if they don't match their Biblical counterparts.)

(And despite what my story says--which rather surprised me--I still think every mother in the world should breastfeed. I don't care if you don't want a baby on your boob; having one pop out of your vagina should have been desensitization enough.)

Once upon a time there was a little girl who sat in her room and said, "God, why was I born a girl? Being a girl is so boring! I'm supposed to sit around and be a prissy little princess all day. Boys get to have water fights and football games and whatnot. I'm supposed to paint my nails and gossip."
"Hmmm," God said. "That is a problem. I'll see what I can do."

So God convened his Angel High Council and said to them, "Gentleman... and lady, we have a problem. A young girl by the name of Rosemary Russell says that, on Earth, girls are supposed to be prissy little princesses all day. How did this happen?"
"Well," Gabriel said, straightening his tie, "I think that's kind of where women belong. We all have a place in life. Maybe this is just her place in the machine."
"I disagree," Peter said, with his hand on the table. "If this woman feels that life is holding her back, she can't possibly function at full capacity. She'll be a drain on society."
"Ah, but you must show restraint in this world," Gabriel said, drinking his coffee. "When she gets to Heaven, she can do whatever she wants."
"Enough!" Anise said. She was the one woman appointed to the council, thanks to affirmative action. "I'm sick of hearing men talk about what women can and can't do. Why can't you just give us a chance to talk?"
"Well?" Gabriel said, and they all turned to Anise to hear what she had to say.
Anise gulped. "Well, you see... Maybe she could draw a picture, and we could use that to see what she wants to be, and make sure that life stays out of her way..."
"Preposterous!" Gabriel shouted, with a laugh. "She must show self-restraint! Society can't function on idealistic projections alone."
"I disagree with both of you," Peter said, straightening his tie. "I think... we could reach a compromise..."
"Well," God said. "This is interesting. Please keep brainstorming."
"Brainstorming!" Gabriel shouted. "I'm only trying to maintain the order of society!"
Peter spoke up. "I... agree. We've imposed order on this society for a reason. Humans don't know how to govern themselves. They're just too dumb."
"Well!" Anise shouted. "I just don't know what to say. If everybody thinks of themselves as mere cogs, how can we ever have leaders?"
"How can you have leaders," Peter posed, "without any followers?"
It was a stalemate. God decided to speak up. "Now, what do you think makes a man a man and a woman a woman?"
"Women are beautiful," Gabriel said. "And stupid. Men are strong... and stupid. ... We're stupid, just in different ways."
"Women are enigmatic," Peter said, "and men are straightforward. Women are the X factor, the glue that keeps things running smoothly. If men ran the world, one kink in the delicate machine would destroy us all. Women know how to cope with adversity."
"Men _do_ run the world," Anise argued, "but that's not the point. I think... I think... men are good, women are good, and let's leave it at that."
"Pffft!" Gabriel guffawed. "Boy, this delicate machine's coming a tumblin' down. I'm getting myself a donut." Gabriel reached for the donut box.
God scooted the donut box away. "That's enough."
Anise asked everyone, "What makes me a woman, huh? What do you think is in me that says I'm a girl?"
Everybody had to think about that for a moment, which made her a little miffed. Finally, Gabriel spoke up.
"You make me see things from a different perspective," Gabriel said. "I don't think I'd think about the things you make me think about, otherwise. I... I act obnoxious around you because I care about you, and I hope you understand that."
"Apology accecpted," Anise said, and Gabriel was taken aback. He didn't know he had made an apology, but he decided to accept it anyway. Better let the woman do what she wants.
"I think," Peter said, "it's your masculinity that only accentuates your womanhood. I admire your desire to climb to the top in Heaven's hierarchy. It's like a potent spice in your feminine flavor."
Anise blushed and said "Thanks." She cringed a bit, in a happy way, and wrote that down on her memo pad.
"Well," God said, "are we adjourned? Can I tell Rosemary the results of our collaboration?"
"Not yet," Peter said. "I wanted to say... I think a woman has gifts, and if she wants to use them or not, that's fine. I just hope that we don't force them to use their gifts in ways that they don't want to. They're humans, just like us. Why should anyone tell us men that we ought to breastfeed, or stay at home, or watch certain TV shows or only wear certain clothes? We would laugh, but we say these things to women all the time. Maybe we should start thinking of ourselves as humans first and as genders second. Things will sort themselves out from there."
"Thank you," God said. "Meeting adjourned!"

Peter caught up with Anise in the hallway. "I.." Peter stammered, "I hope I didn't offend you with the spice thing."
"Not at all," Anise said, "it's nice to be recognized for my gifts." She smiled and winked.
"So... do you want to meet tonight? My place?"
"Sure, sure," Anise told her. "But... I wanna be friends. You'd make a very good girl."
"You mean it?" Peter said.
"Sure," Anise assured him. "Let's get together to paint our nails and gossip."
"Really?" Peter said. "Because I've got this great--"
"My place," Anise said, walking away. "Three o'clock. Be there."

Later, Anise spoke with Gabriel. "I guess I'm a jerk, huh?" Gabriel told her, his arms far down at his sides.
"Not at all," Anise said, with a smile. "I'd just wish you'd show a little... restraint."
"Restraint..." Gabriel said, turning away to go home, "right."
"Wait!" Anise said, grabbing him by the arm. "Um, listen. You want to have vegetable curry at my place tonight? Six or so?"
"Ah, yes," Gabriel said. "I'd love to, doll. I mean--"
Anise laughed. "Don't worry about it," she said. "I do still have a vagina underneath this suit, you know."
"Good, good, good. I mean--"
"I said, don't worry about it! We'll negotiate it on my terms."
"Right. Good," Gabriel said, and the two walked away.

"Well, God?" Rosemary asked. "What did they say?
"Well," God said, "I'm not sure. They said a lot of confusing things. But I'm sure you'll figure it all out, someday."
"Look!" Rosemary said. "I drew a picture!"
She had drawn a pretty nurse, with the word "HEALER."
"What do you think?" Rosemary asked God.
God laughed. "It's wonderful! You'll be a great healer someday. You've already healed me."
"Good night, God," she said, smiling. God began to phase back to the astral plane when Rosemary interrupted him. "Wait! Are there schools for healers? Anywhere?"
"Yes," God said, "there are many." God phased out and the room was silent.
Schools for healers, Rosemary thought, closing her eyes and cuddling her teddy bear. I bet I'd meet other girls like me there...


A Leticia McKenzie production!
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