Usually my commute is so deathly boring that I have to entertain myself in some way, usually by thinking of story ideas or other mental amusements, praying, or trying to talk myself through a plan for the day. But every now and then something on the road grabs my attention.
The attention-getting thing happened to be a billboard advertising a vasectomy* clinic. The billboard’s tagline was something like “More playtime. Less time in the penalty box.”
Usually I’m pretty “live and let live” about most things, but this time I was legitimately offended. We have managed to separate sex from procreation, and children are often seen as inconveniences to be avoided at all costs, because to be responsible for a child would be to end one’s “playtime.” I pondered that for a moment, then went on my (not so merry anymore) way.
The billboard was taken down a couple weeks after I first saw it, but recently I was on my way back from work, and I saw the same billboard again, but on the other side of the highway this time.
I got possibly even more offended than I had been the first time I saw the billboard. The modern age is the lap of luxury and convenience, and because we are so used to being pampered, we forget that life is supposed to be a struggle. Sometimes we do have to sit in the “penalty box,” and no amount of modern-day conveniences can remove that reality. We will be so unused to any kind of inconvenience that when the time for real struggle and real suffering comes, we will have no idea how to handle it.
So in response to the billboard, I would say something that most of America (the world? sane people?) would perceive as horribly offensive, or at least along the lines of get your opinions out of my genital area: “Don’t want kids? Then don’t have sex.” We have broadened our options for as much playtime and as little responsibility as possible, and this will likely come back to bite us. To live in a hedonistic society is to upset the natural balance of life for the sake of convenience and to forget what we lose for the sake of avoiding any kind of pain. To live an actual life is to understand how the sacrifice of pleasure can result in much greater, more true, and less fleeting happiness.
*I understand that there are other reasons for getting a vasectomy besides contraception. This post is about contraception.