Tuesday, February 28, 2006

A plea.

   We'd been on the road for almost two and a half hours. I was doing my best to keep the speedometer in between ninety-five and one hundred in the eighty kilometre zone. I was getting tired, and I had to pee. Knowing that Marmora was coming up in ten or fifteen minutes, I may have been subconsciously pushing it a bit. The road seemed nice and level, but it, too, may have been conspiring against me with an imperceptible downhill slope. And then my wife said what she said, and the rest is history.

   You can see what's coming, can't you?

   "HPV," she muttered.
   "Hmmm?" I asked.
   "Oh, nothing. This magazine article is saying something about Human, uh, Pamplimosa..."
Human Papilloma Virus," I informed her. She raised her eyebrows. The question was clear: what did I know about Human Papilloma Virus? So I told her:

   HPV is actually a group of similar viruses. There are over 100 variations. Approximately 30 of those variations have been shown by medical studies to cause or significantly contribute to the development of cervical cancer. Although both men and women can be infected by HPV, at this time researchers do not think that it is a precursor to cancer in men.
   A couple of drug companies have developed vaccines that prevent the contraction of the strains of the virus most commonly associated with cervical cancer. The medical community would like to see those vaccines added to the roster of vaccinations currently given to preadolescent children. Incidences of cervical cancer have decreased by almost 75% over the last several decades, due to improved screening and treatment methods of the precancerous cells caused by HPV. The universal adoption of these vaccines could sound a virtual death knell for the disease.
   Members of the religious right in the United States, however, have spoken out against the plan to universally inoculate our children against this disease. Why? Human Papilloma Virus, you see, is a sexually transmitted disease. The rationale, so I'm told, goes something like this. 'If we vaccinate our children against STDs, we are giving them tacit permission to be sexually active.' To that opinion, there is only one response:


   First, we are talking about adding the HPV vaccine to the slate of inoculations that children generally receive at around eleven or twelve years old. It will be just one more needle. There is no need to announce to the child that they are being inoculated against an STD.
   Second, there is absolutely no evidence that educating our children about how to protect themselves against pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases increases their likelihood to engage in sexual activity. Conversely, there is no evidence that failing to educate our children on these matters decreases their likelihood to experiment with members of the opposite sex.
   Third, why leave anything at all tacit? If you want your child to understand that you believe sex before marriage to be a bad thing, look them straight in the eyes and say, "sex before marriage is a bad thing, and here is why..." The way to negate any perceived tacit approval is to make the prohibition explicit.

   There is another reason to support the use of the new HPV vaccines. A reason the right-wing loonies, with their biblical blinkers firmly in place, seem completely unable to comprehend. It is possible for a person to not sin, yet still contract a sexually transmitted disease. Consider the following scenario.
   Woman is chaste and virtuous. Man? Well, not so much. Woman meets man. Man conceals his less than savoury past from woman. Woman falls in love with man. Man proposes to woman. Man and woman have a fairy-tale wedding and honeymoon in Nashville, Tenn. Woman, who was a virgin until her wedding night, submits to her husband, as all good Christian women should. Man transmits Human Papilloma Virus to woman. Several years later, a good, God fearing, Christian woman dies a slow, painful death from cervical cancer.
   The story doesn't end there. A member of the religious right looks the man in the eye, and makes some kind of comment about divine justice. Hopefully, that member of the religious right walks away with two black eyes and a broken jaw.

   It was at about this point in my rant that the approaching OPP officer lit up his cherries, flashed past, and pulledthe fastest U-turn I have ever seen in my life. I looked down at my speedometer, and said, "Oh...crap!"

   So you see, judge, that's how a two minute discussion with my wife caused me to accelerate to thirty-eight kilometres over the posted, legal speed limit at just the wrong time, thereby causing me to receive a $285.00 speeding ticket. Please, be lenient.



gdireneoe said...

Ahhhh...the old Medal Pedalis malady...I know it well.  As to the HPV...my children are learning that while there certainly are health concerns...the bigger consideration is the impact on themselves and the other person involved.  I love to come here...I always learn something Paul.  Thank you. ;)  C.  http://journals.aol.com/gdireneoe/thedailies

justaname4me2 said...

Can I formally request a transcript of that court proceding? I can only imagine the entertainment such an appeal would provide. As for the vaccines, as a Mother of 2 daughters, I would absoulutely have signed them up for such a shot if it gave them one more edge in this world to avoid cervical cancer. I would not at all think to myself, "Doing this will give them just one more green light to have all the sex they wanted." Only an idiot would think that, or perhaps a parent who has no intention on teaching their child sex isn't actually an after school activity.

Biblical blinkers

Have to admit I choked ::and laughed::on that one and will not forget it. It could prove a useful add-word in my future.

aleclynch said...

What you obviously can't see because of your rationality blinders is that this speeding ticket is a clear case of divine justice.

Nice post man.

lurkynat said...

dear Paul,
wow scary thanks

simianfarmer said...

Very apropos of your tag line today, Paul.

Good luck with the plea bargain.


mutualaide said...

I must say I like your argument.  Good Luck with the Judge!

astaryth said...

Awwww... to be a fly on the wall at THAT hearing! <LOL> However, lots of good information here, along with another nail in the coffin of me ever understanding the 'religious right'.....


mavarin said...

You can try it.  In my limited experience, just showing up in court with an explanation usually lowers the overall cost of traffic transgressions. - Karen

princesssaurora said...

Now, now Paul, you could have just let her comment go, and kept your eyes on the speedometer...shame shame...blaming your poor wife...

be well,

onemoretina said...

Let's hope you get a male judge .... a married one.   Tina

lurkynat said...

Dear Paul,
I am worried about that virus...would you please clarify how widespread it is? And are doctors nationwide saying that all preadolescent girls must take the shots?
Your article mentoned that it was reccomended that girls take it preadolescence.
Well the last time I heard that comment it was about a vaccine that was given to youth way in advance of their actual sexually active years; and it came highly reccomended. So waht is the deal with this one?

lurkynat said...

oh yeah, i was the hepatitus b  shot! highly reccomended when the kids are still young, even though it is for later

dpoem said...

Hey!  I hope you get out of your ticket!  hehehe...  

schnozbeary said...

Darlin', Keith and I have gotten a ticket or two discussing issues that raise our blood pressure as well. Not for nuthin', but it says alot about your marriage that you two still discuss and test each other on significant social issues. That is a big part of passion, dude!! As for HPV vaccinations, I am all for them. It is my job to teach my children about sexuality, based on my beliefs, but anything that lessens the chance of my daughters contracting cancer as a result of misguided love is, at least to my mind, a good thing. How many right wing parents are saying " She reaped what she sowed!" I doubt many are. Oh, by the way, I make Keith keep a camp pee jar in the car, so we don't have to stop. ( Kidding, but you guys will accelerate 20 miles over the limit when you gotta go!! I'm just saying....)

debbi4873 said...

Actually, cervical cancer is one of the easiest cancers to treat.  To catch it though, a woman must have regular pap smears.  And follow up on any unusual pap smears.  And it can be transmitted by either sex.  Usually the religious right looks to women as the root of all evil...wearing are makeup and short dresses and all...