Monday, July 21, 2008


Last Wednesday, the centre of the universe made a considerable shift, at least for this observer - from a point lying about 14 billion years astern of the Milky Way to the centre of a small table overhung by a heat lamp. Wriggling on that table, Briongloid's youngest crew member, LOA approximately 0.5M, grossing 0.0035 metric tons, my dark haired, blue-eyed first-born. He is approximately two minutes old. I note with approval that he grips my finger tightly; this will grip of yours will come in very handy, little boy... Holding my son for the first time, life is wonderfully simple: my single purpose, to arrange the world in such a way as to be good to this tiny one.

This little one of mine... will be fed whenever he likes. The calories he takes from Mum will easily be replaced by a full and varied diet. Over the next few weeks, his immune system will be armed with the first of a collection of vaccines; such old foes of humanity as TB and polio will never touch him. When he is older, the water and solids he gets will be safe and plentiful; no mosquitoes will come to fill him with protozoans. Whatever evil-intentioned microbes slip through the ring of filters and detergents surrounding him will receive the attentions of doctors toting a full pharmaceutical arsenal. At four or five years old, proud and tearful parents will send him to schools where he will learn as much as likes - spend 20 years there, if he chooses; he will have his choice of professions.

Perhaps it is the 36 sleepless hours that slow my brain; but, sitting in a happy daze with my hour-old baby son in my arms, it is simply incomprehensible to me that we can offer less to any child.