Fly, Bossy, Fly! Growing Feathers on Goats by Sheer Insistence

Once I told my old man that I couldn’t understand social policy. I guessed it was because I was young and dumb and lived up the holler where we didn’t have any.

“Son,” he said, “You can’t get milk from a turkey buzzard.”

He understood social policy.

The way the old man figured, some things are what they are, and that’s all they’re ever going to be. There’s not much hope in trying to get a spotted cow to nest in trees and lay eggs. A vulture and a cow are just different things. Their approaches to life aren’t the same.

You can get paper mache and Elmer’s Glue, and stick wings on old Bossy, and get her up to a good trot to get some air under the wings — but she still ain’t gonna fly. You can say she’d be a turkey vulture if her childhood had been different, maybe if she’d grown up in a non-patriarchal gender-neutral non-linear-thinking society with lots of drumming circles and holistic food — but she’ll still be a cow. You can get a crane and balance her in trees and give her Ritalin so she’ll think she’s a vulture and raise her in a zoo full of vultures to set an example. Won’t work. You’ll just get a messed-up Guernsey.

It looks to me like our social policy mostly wants vultures to give milk.

The scallawags who run what used to be this country seem to think that all people are the same, except for how they’re brought up. Men and women, girls and boys, blacks and whites and browns, turnips and okra and tadpoles. All you have to do is tinker with their upbringing some, and you’ll get interchangeable units who’ll vote Democratic.

I expect it’ll work. Probably about a week after the Second Coming.

A while back I was at a picnic where they had little kids running around and tearing things up. Well, the girls sat under a tree and played with dolls, real peaceful. The boys tore things up. One little terror had a complicated twelve-color plastic squirt gun with a banana clip full of nuclear death-rockets and a laser space-alien disintegrator and a Doppler radar sight with beam-sharpening and lots of funny knobs. It was about as big as he was. He jumped into the middle of the grown-ups in a Sergeant Rock pose and yelled, “I kill you all!”

Boy kid. I don’t think pink booties would have helped. He knew we were dangerous pod-people come to wrap earthlings in spider webs, and he was going to protect the planet.

Not long ago I saw the same kid. They’d put him on Ritalin or some other kind of dope, and he was . . . very . . . quiet. Which was too bad, because his real problem was that his mother was an unmarried lush who didn’t know to manage a little boy. Point is, we’ve got the entire establishment of teachers, psychotherapists, and purple-haired lesbians wanting to make little boys into little girls. You can’t do it. All you’ll get is a messed-up little boy.

If he were my kid, I might wonder what ten years of politically motivated pharmaceuticals would have on his brain chemistry, but this isn’t a question that gravely concerns feminists. They, in an uncharacteristic concession to decency, are sterile as mules, and can’t tell a kid from a summer melon. But they’re sure willing to tell us how to raise them.

Now, anyone with the brains of a can of paint knows that a boy’s energy and assertiveness and adventurousness and fascination with things that have lots of knobs is what, later in life, will produce DNA sequencers, symphonies, and Mars probes. If you were to look at who invented the things that allow cantankerous lesbians to complain in comfort, you might notice a pattern. Probably it wouldn’t be a gender-neutral pattern.

Today we’re hell-bent on making people by sheer assertion into what they aren’t, and can’t be, and probably shouldn’t be. It’s not just making boys into girls. I keep reading about how the Federal government is going to go after Silicon Valley because it doesn’t have enough black chip-designers.

Of course it doesn’t. You can’t have the which there ain’t. It’s a law of nature. Same thing happened when I used to cover defense. Contractors were supposed to hire fifteen percent black laser physicists, of which the entire country had about one. He could have had forty-seven jobs at once but the hours would have been awful, and don’t even think about the commutes.

Best I can tell, there isn’t the slightest sign that there ever will be many black laser physicists. Maybe it isn’t something they do. If some can, and want to, that’s fine by me. I just haven’t seen it.

Men and women are like that, too. They’re just different, and they do different things. You can get a man to chop cordwood all morning, and dig ditches and grunt and sweat, and build barns and carry big heavy awkward stuff, just like it was sensible. He’ll unload trucks and change bearings on a diesel. He doesn’t know any better. It’s how men are.

But it’s rough getting him to change diapers. He usually can’t nurse real well either, and mostly doesn’t know where he left his socks, and thinks the middle of the floor is a perfectly good place for his scuba gear and filter wrench. That way he can find them.

Reckon maybe it’s built in?

No. That’s too easy. We can’t let people be what they are. Instead we believe that if you insist hard enough on some damn-fool notion, and pretend, and swear it’s true and claim it’s working and sue anyone who sees it isn’t, and hold your breath and turn blue, people will be whatever you want them to be. Maybe they won’t. The species has always been more than a mite intractable. Maybe it’s time we noticed that people just flat aren’t the same, and learned to live with it. Because we’re going to live with it anyway.

Something needs to change. If people can’t figure out what they are, and get used to it, the world’s gonna be funnier than when Aunt May sat on the ant’s nest. And poor old Bossy won’t ever be comfortable up amidst the pinecones, or ever manage to get the hang of laying eggs.

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