Something Worse than MS

Multiple sclerosis is hard to live with, on that we can agree.

But I’ve heard some pretty strange things from people over the years about stuff that vexes them more than the usual complaints. Politics, ignorance, and fear motivate a lot of them. Others I haven’t the faintest. It’s the latter group that troubles me the most.

Troubling comments from others

For example, two people who did not know each other both said this to me, many years apart and almost word for word:

It’s a shame that modern medicine can fix congenital diseases. Repairing a birth defect just lets that infant grow up and have children with the same genetic flaws. It weakens the gene pool.

The first utterance came from a woman with whom I went to college. She bragged that some counselor told her she tested so high on everything that she could choose any career and succeed, be it medicine, investing, law, technology. But many years before I met her (we both finished our undergraduate degrees later in life), she chose to marry a high school principal and move to rural Northern Michigan in lieu of attending college. Her reason for marrying this particular guy was that he would be a good provider. She freely admitted she never loved him. Her reason for divorcing him was based on her discovery of his stash of snuff magazines. Apparently being a pervert trumped his generous paycheck, so she moved back to Ann Arbor, her home town. After all, a girl’s gotta have some standards.

A single mother to a young son, she kept to herself and played the stock market to support them. She had no friends and insisted she had no use for them. Incensed by the fact that there were parking meters everywhere in Ann Arbor, she refused to leave the house except to go places that had free parking. She was so stingy she made Ebenezer Scrooge look like a softie BEFORE he met the ghost of Christmas Yet to Come.

And here’s the kicker. One day, some of her friends from the Upper Peninsula asked if they could stay at her place for a week while their newborn son had heart surgery at the University of Michigan Mott Children’s hospital and she agreed. It was in that context that she made the chilling remark, savagely criticizing her friends for their slovenly appearance, for bringing home McDonald’s dinners every single night they were there, and worst of all, for allowing their baby to live a full life span. I haven’t seen her for 23 years.

Another person shared the same sentiment

The second person that rued the tragedy of modern medicine confused me even more. Bill was a very nice, pleasant, warm, middle-aged man I’d met through the guy I was dating at the time. He was a freelance carpenter that installed a door in my house free of charge. He was also a brittle diabetic, a hard to control subtype of Type I diabetes. His sugar soared and plummeted so extremely and unpredictably that he once fell into an insulin coma and woke up two days later. Bill and I were standing outside a jazz club one night chatting when suddenly he, too, lamented the tragedy of modern medicine propagating the genetic pollution of homo sapiens.

Bill’s lament struck me as stranger even than that of my female friend. Her misanthropy somehow made her attitude a little easier to understand. But Bill liked the human race. Was he even aware that his lament called for his own demise? Like MS, type I diabetes requires certain biomarkers to exist.

Do you know anyone whose attitude about genetic impurity makes your blood run cold? Do tell.

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