The Statistical Likelihood Of Jerks

Fran summoned a deep breath and all her courage. She’d never said it out loud before, and now that it was time, speaking suddenly felt a lot like punching through a brick wall. ‘I’m pregnant.’

Garry responded with the ease of a narcoleptic falling asleep at an awards show. ‘Why?’

‘Because of sex.’

‘But sex doesn’t make people pregnant anymore. We fought nature, and on that occasion we won!’

‘Nature is a sore loser.’

Garry nodded at this unfortunate fact with the smouldering determination of one who hasn’t given up yet. ‘Well, what are you going to do?’

The answer crystallised as Fran spoke, a familiar surprise. ‘I’m going to have the baby.’

Garry nodded, and then stopped nodding. ‘But what if it’s a jerk?’

‘The baby?’

‘Yes.’

‘What if the baby is a jerk?’

‘Most people are jerks. Statistically, what are the chances that this one won’t be?’

‘Its parents aren’t jerks.’

‘Everybody’s at least part jerk. I vote for the party with the funniest name, and you have those weird ideas about the Middle East.’

‘I could fix everything in twelve minutes!’

‘What if the jerk genes are dominant? Two half jerks make one whole jerk. Or two whole jerks!What if it’s twins?’

‘Biology forces parents to love their children.’

‘But what about everyone else? Think of the misery these identical jerks could sow. The short changing. The mean Youtube comments. They could grow up to be partially responsible for the financial success of a Michael Bay movie!’

‘If everyone thought like you, there’d be no one left to think like you.’

Garry smiled triumphantly. ‘And no jerks!’

‘You’re being flippant.’

‘You’re not considering the wider ramifications of this choice.’

‘This baby could just as easily be the next Gandhi.’

Garry shrugged.

‘What does that mean?’

‘Well, he was a bit up himself, wasn’t he?’

‘Gandhi? Gandhi was up himself?’

‘A bit.’

‘So who would you consider worth giving birth to?’

‘Spider-Man.’

‘The fictional super hero who can do whatever a spider can?’

‘Actually, on second thought, he did get his Uncle Ben murdered.’

‘So nobody is worth giving birth to?’

Garry considered this for some time. ‘No.’

Fran gave him a long, dark look. ‘You’re a terrible doctor.’

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