Department Of Any Questions, Stupid Or Otherwise?
Dateline Sunday 7:40 am; morning walk; listening to No Stupid Questions podcast, episode 98: Is Having Children Worth It? The episode consists of hosts Stephen Dubner and Angela Duckworth discussing the various factors – from economic to personal to cultural and beyond – people weigh when considering parenthood.
About twenty minutes into the podcast the show’s producer announces a break:
“Before we return to Stephen and Angela’s conversation about modern fertility, let’s hear some of your thoughts on the subject. We asked listeners to let us know the factors that affected their decisions to have kids. Here’s what you said.”
The producer plays three phone recordings. The sentiments expressed by the second listener/commentator were, unfortunately and predictably, no surprise to moiself. 
“As of now, my husband and I are leaning towards remaining childfree…. What I’ve found really interesting is the very different experiences that we’ve had in sharing this news when asked.
I get asked very frequently, ‘When are you having kids?’ It’s just assumed.
And if I tell someone, whether it’s a close friend or a complete stranger — which is very frequent — that we don’t plan to have kids, I get really strong reactions, and they’ve really made me question the value that I’d bring to society as a woman if I’m not a mother….
Meanwhile, my husband gets asked about once or twice a year, and his manhood and value is never brought into question.”
* * *
Department Or Morality, Schmality – The Ultimate Litmus Test On This Issue
Moiself has plenty o’ thoughts – some of them even/arguably suitable for non-R-rated audiences – about the leak of the SCOTUS draft which indicates that the conservative (read: Republican-appointed) SCOTUS justices have plans to return our society to the medieval mores of governance by religious superstition and female chattel-dom repeal Roe v. Wade.
Those thoughts I will share…later. As in, in several weeks from now, when the hoopla dies down (perhaps) and we get a handle on what’s really happening, and when I have been dissuaded from my karma-generating plan to hire a team of Valkyries and Ninjas to kidnap SCOTUS justices Alito, Kavanaugh, Roberts, and Thomas, transport them to a secure back alley where the justices will have coat hanger wires up inserted their respective urethras to perform a D & C of their potential abortion causing,  sperm factory organs.
For now, consider this:
* * *
Department Of Applying Cognitive Behavioral Therapy To Moiself
Dateline: Sunday 7:50 am-ish, Oregon coast. Returning from a walk along the beach. I turn around for one last glance,  pausing to gaze at the rising sunlight reflecting off the foaming waves, noticing how the retreating tide left a beautiful, reflective sheen to the green-gray sand…. Wait a sec – what is that awful, acrid smell, so early in the morning?
Looking behind moiself , I see a woman sitting on an Adirondack chair on the upper porch of a beach rental house across the street. She is vigorously/alternately sucking on and exhaling the effluence from her cigarette; my instinctive disgust kicks in:
“It’s one thing to torment her own lungs, but holy self-pollution – smokers don’t seem to realize – or just don’t care – that their smoke travels, and torments *me,* even though I’m 30 feet away….”
Then I stop moiself, and recall a cognitive behavioral tenet I recently (re)heard:
If you can’t change your circumstances,
change how you think about your circumstances. 
And I am struck by a wave of gratitude.
Both my parents were the only non-smokers among their respective siblings.  When I was in early grade school, having non-smoking parents seemed to be the minority experience for my peers…although not long after the Surgeon’s General’s landmark report on smoking and health was released, that began to change.
Looking back, I have to laugh at the naivete involved when I helped a friend, who was concerned about her mother’s health (she’d overheard her parents talking about how the mother’s doctor had advised her to quit smoking). Friend and I conspired as to how we could get her mother to stop smoking. As fourth graders, we knew nothing about the power of nicotine addiction, only the power of our preteen will: we convinced ourselves that, by combing Friend’s house from top to bottom when her mother was out running an errand we could find and discard all of her mother’s cigarettes and cigarette lighters, and ta-da, she’d quit! How can you smoke something that isn’t there?
Once again, I digress.
The gratitude which struck me: How lucky was I? How lucky *am* I?
If moiself had grown up with smoking parents, how likely is it  that I would have also fallen into that “filthy habit,” as my father called it?  And even if I’d managed to avoid becoming a smoker but had parents who were nicotine fiends, I would have had an increased risk of heart and lung disease from living with second-hand smoke.
And just like that, my annoyance dissipated ( like a puff of smoke? ), and morphed into a sense of gratitude. 
* * *
Punz For The Day
Marlboro Man Edition
I had a legless dog I named, “Cigarette.”
Every morning I took him out for a drag.
What does Han Solo put in his cigarettes?
My friend started punting his Marlboro packs – he’s trying to kick the habit.
Why are cigarettes like hamsters?
They are perfectly harmless until you stick one in your mouth and light it on fire.
* * *
May you feel grateful for unhealthy habits *not* practiced by those who raised you;
May you cultivate the ability to reframe your circumstances;
May the SCOTUS stay out of your respective lady and man parts;
…and may the hijinks ensue.
Thanks for stopping by. Au Vendredi!
* * *
 Or, likely, to other female listeners, whether or not they have children.
 Abortions are caused by men – that is, unwanted pregnancies are caused by irresponsible male ejaculations… even the wanted pregnancies that must be terminated due to fetal abnormalities incompatible with life and/or maternal health issues, are also caused by men.
 Always say goodbye to the beach, every time you leave it. Blow a kiss to the breakers; you never know when it will be the last time.
 If you can’t change your circumstances, work on changing the way you think about your circumstances, or how you frame your circumstances. Classic cognitive behavioral therapy advice, and one of the few things proven to help both your mood/attitude…which then may, even, eventually, help you to change your circumstances.
 My father smoked while in the army – cigarettes were part of a WWII soldier’s ration kit – but quit several years before meeting my mother.
 Three to six times more likely, as various studies show.
 He used that term privately, and not in front of our smoking relatives (which was, all of them) or friends or neighbors.
 And even a faint sense of pity for the nic-junkie on the beach house balcony.