Saturday, February 9, 2013

A Heartfelt Letter to My Friend Liz

 Dear Liz,

Many years ago, a brilliant group of college students (of questionable sobriety) philosophized over how many days they could spend playing video games in a dark basement before they all devolved into more primitive creatures. Thus the Cult of the Blind Cave Salamander was born.

As one of the founding members of the Salamanders, you do enjoy a certain number of enviable perks: in addition to automatic inclusion in no less than twelve zombie contingency plans, spanning most of the Midwest, you also have a spot reserved in the Utopian commune we all plan to erect should any of us ever win the lottery.

However, this membership also carries with it certain obligations: I am speaking, of course, of your duties to the group re: your unborn child. As you are aware, a member of the next generation of the Cult of the Blind Cave Salamander currently resides in your womb and it is your responsibility to raise that child in such a way that he or she contributes to the betterment of Salamander society.

Regrettably, the first step in assuring your child’s maximum usefulness to the group is one over which you have no control.

You see, Liz, I’ve done the math and I’m afraid you have to have a boy.

Quite simply, your child is the linchpin in our diabolic plot to take over the world. A misplaced variable at this point in the game could set back our plans to found the Salamander nation (tentatively called “Salamandia,” but the name is open for debate) by decades.

Soon you will join the ranks of Salamander mothers who have been strategically planning arranged marriages among their growing brood for several years now. Alas, a brief census of the Salamander children reveals that we currently have too many girls. If you and Aaron contribute yet another girl to this equation, the group may not recover from the lopsidedness for years – if ever, considering how many Salamander couples claim to have reached their upper limit.

If you have a girl, we may have to dilute the purity of the salamander race by allowing the children to marry outsiders. While there is some precedent for that (seeing as the Cult is in early days yet and your own happy marriage is the product of such an intermingling), if a suitable candidate cannot be found, your daughter may find herself relegated to the roll of priestess or virgin oracle – and the genes for those lovely red curls of yours would die with her!

If it was only a matter of making the arranged marriages work out, we could get around that, but there are other factors to consider. In order for our budding nation (or post-lottery Utopian commune) (or post-zombie-apocalypse safe zone) to be self-sustaining, our Salamanders must fulfill a number of very important jobs. We have plenty of doctors, scientists, engineers, and other clever-thinking types essential to the governance of our new country. We even have survivalists who aspire to garden, can preserves, and live off the land.

What we lack, though, are hunters and for that we need more men.

This is not to say that women can’t hunt, only that so far all of the female Salamander children (and at least one of the males) prefer dresses and princesses to being outside and tracking wild game. All girls are different and like different things, but while there is always the slightest chance that your little redhead will grow up to be the next Katniss Everdeen and single-handedly feed District Salamander, the odds are probably not in your favor.

“But wait!” you’re thinking, and right you are to think so. “What if I’m okay with the idea of having a Salamander priestess or virgin oracle?”

A valid point! Not many cults can say they have one, and such would give us a leg up on those poseur cults with the charismatic leaders and the spicy kool-aid.

Unfortunately, her presence would interfere with my own plans.

You may have noticed that Matt and I have spent the past several years currying favor among the younger Salamanders: buying Christmas presents for them each year, bringing them small gifts and party favors, not to mention a fabulous birthday card system I have brewing which will kick into effect when they are older. As such, by the time these children attain their majority, I will have garnered their unending devotion, and thus will be uniquely positioned to become their queen.

However, any daughter of yours, inheriting both your sweet personality and curly red hair, would obviously be the fairest of them all, and therefore stand in direct competition to my (totally benevolent) rule.

Years of Dollar Store Christmas purchases would be negated. You can’t let this happen, Liz.

Obviously, I understand there is probably nothing you can do to affect the outcome of this situation. But just in case there really is something to all that talk about the power of positive thinking, here it is: When you go in for your ultrasound, for the sake of Salamandia, think blue!

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