Tuesday, June 22, 2004

Whenever I get around to blogging, I'm so tired that it's hard to say anything coherent, much less interesting. I have attempted to write posts on each of the following topics in the past couple of days. Instead of long elaborate posts, I'll give you the truncated version.

  1. Masha Gessen's article in Slate about testing positive for the breast cancer gene stressed me the hell out. Part of the reason for this is that I once had work dealings with Masha Gessen, in the course of which I fucked up so badly that I probably would have been fired had I not already given notice before the fuck-upage began. Everything I've read of hers has been super smart, and it was all the more humiliating to fuck up royally while dealing with someone I really respected. Ergo, the mere mention of Masha Gessen's name invokes instant stress and self-loathing.

    But it also occurs to me that I should be tested for the breast cancer gene. The only person in my family who had breast cancer was my paternal grandmother. Almost all of her relatives died in the Holocaust, and the last female relatives of hers who died of natural causes were her grandmothers, about whom I know nothing. There's no way of knowing what's lurking in the gene pool on that side of my family, and it's possible that there would have been an epidemic of breast cancer had anyone lived long enough to develop it. And I just really don't want to get tested for the breast cancer gene.

    And I suppose the final stressful thing about the article is that it confirms what I've learned for myself over the past couple of months, which is that doctors don't necessarily know what they're doing. I like to think of doctors as omniscient; I like to think that, while sometimes the treatment they prescribe doesn't work, they know what the best treatment is. And sometimes they don't. Sometimes they hand you a series of crappy options and tell you to make the decision for yourself. I'd hate to have the big decisions made for me, but realizing how much doctors don't know sure has been stressful.

  2. Why does it seem somehow particularly awful and barbaric to behead people? I mean, is beheading a hostage really worse than shooting him? Dead is dead, right? And yet it somehow seems worse. I can't figure out if there's a real difference (it's really bloody, maybe, or it's more intimate and less removed than shooting someone), or if it's just that death by gunshot is almost mundane for anyone who watches American television, while death by beheading is outside my usual frame of reference.

  3. If I leave a dish in the sink for even a minute, my roommate's mother immediately comes and washes it. Is she trying to be helpful, or is she making a comment on my filthy habits?

Re question #3, I wouldn't worry too much - I'd be happy if anyone cleaned up after me! I get annoyed at neat freaks, but if they clean up after you without a word or a reproachful look, I'd say let 'em, if it makes them happy.
re question #2: i've heard that, back in the middle ages and renaissance, beheading was considered the ideal way to go because, once you sever the spinal cord, you feel nothing. and it's even more humane, apparently, if an incredibly sharp sword is used, as opposed to an axe. in that sense, beheading is probably a less painful way to die than being shot (unless you're shot in the head at extremely close range, in which case you'll die before you even know the trigger has been pulled).

yeah. i spent way too much time being obsessed with anne boleyn in 6th grade.
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