Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Seized by a Madness

I received a package the other day from my mother, and I've only just today gotten around to opening it. For the most part, it contained items I had left at my parents' home over the winter break. But there were a few interesting, if slightly strange, odds and ends she added to the package.

The most interesting was a newspaper clipping (from I don't know when) about new research that says "older" men (in their 40s and higher) may father more autistic children. The research apparently involved about 130,000 Israeli Jews born in the 1980s, and those fathered by older men were almost six times more likely to have autism than those fathered by men under 39.

Why did she send this to me?

If this wasn't random enough, at the end of the article, there was a "thought for the day" that I found fascinating, if somewhat peculiar in the larger context of the piece it happened to follow:

"Those who foresee the future and recognize it as tragic are often seized by a madness which forces them to commit the very acts which makes it certain that what they dread shall happen." (It's a quote from Rebecca West)

Why do I feel as if this message is meant precisely for me?

Some other items in my package were the following:

1. A writing pen that has a button on it. When I push the button, the character Michael, from that show "The Office" says either "These are my party planning beeyatches" or "This is an environment of welcoming, and you should just get the hell out of here."

2. Another newspaper clipping -- about a woman in LA who was fined $97,500 because her Maltese puppy would not stop barking.

3. A flyer for some kind of award for the best dissertation in Jewish Studies.

4. A postcard with a picture of four women in dark glasses; it says "Bad Girls Book Club: Where half the group doesn't read the book, and the other half doesn't even show up!"

Now, I simply struggle to make sense of everything!


Michael Nehora said...

new research that says "older" men (in their 40s and higher) may father more autistic children

Maybe this is yet another mother's way of saying, "Hurry up and get married before your only choices are 40-plus men!" If so, that'd be a new one, since the argument is usually "Hurry up and get married before you're 40-plus and have trouble conceiving healthy kids, or kids at all."

As for the Rebecca West quote, I can't comment. Did get a chuckle out of the "Bad Girls Book Club" though. It reminds me of the Simpsons episode where Marge hosts a book club and opens with, "And now we'll all take turns saying why we didn't read the book."

Monica said...

Haha . . . thanks for commenting (and reading!) Michael. You may be right about my mother's intentions, though I do suspect that she may also be commenting on my alleged dating history. :) Then again, I think she just worries that there will be no grandchildren any time soon. I am hoping one of my four siblings will contribute in that way in the near future!

I had forgotten about that Simpsons episode -- too funny.

Casey said...

This is hilarious, Monica.

Aunt Christy said...

Being seized by madness, (Rebecca West quote), has more to do with the gene pool we come out of and the environment we grow up in than seeing the future as tragic in my opinion. Our biological chemistry and influences around us growing up makes us see things in a different light than others which in turn drives us to madness. The dread is knowing this will be a lifelong battle in overcoming the demons that life in our mind.

Aunt Christy said...

correction to my spelling: I meant live in our mind, not life.....typing too fast for my MIND!

Monica said...

That's interesting, Aunt Christy. I do notice, though, that coming out of the same "gene pool" as my siblings doesn't necessarily mean we view life in the same way. But, yes, there are many demons that live in my mind -- on that we can agree!

Aunt Christy said...

It's not that we would view life in the same way as our siblings. We all still have are own unique personalities and way of viewing life. It's that if the gene pool is......shall we say......dysfunctional, our unique way of seeing life could be skewed from reality, therefore driving us to madness.