Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Not Being "the Best" and Contemplating a Possible Move. Plus Some Stuff About Vaccines.

So the past couple weeks I've been getting bigger and more miserable. That's why I've disappeared, sort of. It'll happen.

Plus I had company for a few days and then I was recuperating from having people stay at our house, and things just keep spiraling out of control. Did I mention that I was also undergoing a rigorous re-interview process to keep my job? Yes, that was fun too. I had to take a couple personality tests and editorial tests and just a bunch of crap.

And then I found out I'm apparently not one of "the best." Because the company wanted to assemble "the best team possible moving forward." Or some nonsense like that. So in January, I'll be asked to leave. January. But to get a severance, I must continue to come to work and do a "satisfactory job." Until January. I'm glad it's just "satisfactory," because that's obviously the best I can do. You know, not being "the best" and all that.

Anyway, I came to work today and the two lights above my desk have completely burned out. They were going slowly. There are like three or four lights in each fixture, but today they've all burned out. I'm in darkness here. I feel a little bit like Milton, from Office Space. I think that's his name. Tomorrow I'll show up and won't have a desk. Or it will be in the tiny store-room where people go to spray crap on artwork.

See, I've been really honorable, I like to think. I've worked here for almost five years and during that time, though the temptation has been extremely profound, I've never stooped to writing about the workplace. By writing about it, I mean really making fun of everyone and everything here.

And what has my honor gotten me? What does honor EVER get anyone? Usually nothing.

I guess the point of honor is to just be honorable. There's not really a reward, except the reward of an eternally clean conscience. I do like having that.

But I also wish I'd thrown caution to the wind and done more writing about the ridiculous. I love the ridiculous. And there's loads of it here. This place is ripe for parody. Even better than "The Office." The problem is that I tend to suffocate anything that I consider a base desire. And sarcasm and humor at the expense of others has always seemed base to me.

Yet, do I care now? I work in the publishing industry and it's crumbling. I only started working here four and a half years ago and since then, the only thing this company has done is lay people off. I'm actually surprised I lasted this long. So, really, while they've been paying me to come to work every day, they've also really instilled this crazy sense of instability into all their employees. "At any minute, YOU TOO could lose your job. So don't ____ with us."

Welp. At least I'll have my benefits long enough to have the baby. Right? Silver lining.

One thing that's been really consuming me, now that I have enough outfits for a newborn, is diapers. It's weird. I'm not exactly Misses eco-friendly or anything, but the thought of throwing away a trillion disposable diapers disgusts me. Especially after living through the late eighties and seeing the piles of disposable diapers in the landfills. Remember that? I think we got to see them in a the Scholastic Weekly Reader. They were brainwashing us early, those environmentalists.

So my younger sister got me on the cloth diaper thing. And of course I keep realizing I need more diapers. So then I spend several hours researching which wool diaper cover I want or what fitted cloth diaper will be good for the nighttime. And I read forums. Like Diaper Swappers. (I apologize for the abrupt change of pace, going from discussing my job to cloth diapers, but I really wanted to address something that's been bugging me since I read it.)

The other day I was researching nighttime cloth diapering solutions for newborns and I stumbled across a thread where one forum-poster listed herself as being the wife of so-and-so, the mother of so-and-so, and other neat facts about herself and her family, one of them being "non-vax."

You heard me. Yes, she's bragging about endangering the rest of her community. Unless, of course, she lives out in the woods alone, or something.

Bragging about endangering the children of other parents. I mean, that's something else, really. Baffling. It's not enlightenment. It's sheer stupidity and selfishness. This is particularly important to me right now because there have been several cases of outbreaks in Utah, where I'm from, of diseases that should be gone, and the numbers of people who are not vaccinated seem to be growing. And of course, those diseases are spread by the people who have consciously chosen to not vaccinate their children.

Recently there was a measles outbreak, spread by an unvaccinated family who went to Poland. There have also been several cases of pertussis (which requires a booster shot for adults to not spread it to babies and children). Now that I'm about to have a family of my own, we've been hoping to move back to Utah. Why stay here now, right? I haven't been selected as "one of the best" to be on the team "of the best." It's like the choice made itself.

So anyway. Do I want to go back to that apparent hotbed of unvaccinated deep-thinkers? It's the LDS crowd who are doing it, I think (not to insult them. I'm LDS myself).  People on the outside—especially ex-LDS members—love to call Mormons sheep. But actually, in many ways they're extremely thoughtful. To the point of blaming vaccines for things that are not the fault of vaccines. And thus we have this high population of unvaccinated individuals spreading disease. And bragging about being non-vax. And going abroad to parts of the world where extremely contagious diseases still run rampant. Like Poland.

I propose isolating all conscientious vaccine-objectors in the Pacific Northwest where they can hang out together and die together of measles, mumps, and rubella, in addition to pertussis and polio (it's totally going to make a comeback). Who better to surround yourself with?

The problem I have with them not isolating themselves in an area with others like them is that they benefit from the willingness of everyone else to become vaccinated by mingling in regular communities of people who blindly (to the objector's mind) submit to vaccination. Without all those other people taking precautions (and, in their minds anyway, taking the vaccine risk), the unvaccinated would be in more danger. And it will sound callous, but they deserve to be in danger because they made a choice.

Yes, the children had nothing to do with the choice. It's the parents gambling on their child's life and it's sad that they don't value it more.

The problem is partly that there are specific vaccines infants can't get until they're older. But the diseases don't wait to strike until the baby has been vaccinated. A three week old baby can die from pertussis, who can't get the vaccine until six months. And yes, babies do die from pertussis.

All this to say that, to me, at least, bragging about being a conscientious objector to vaccines is tantamount to bragging about speeding through a school zone when school's just let out. You're endangering a community and you don't give a crap. It's all about you and your individual choice, made at the expense of a community that needs herd immunity to protect itself from the ravages of deadly diseases. So, good job. You're really awesome and smart and waaaaaaaay more enlightened than the jerks who just let the doctors vaccinate them like mindless beasts in a feed yard. Yep. The rest of us are just cattle. Moo!

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