Why Obama needs a team of impatient, unforgiving, third-trimester renegades to whip this country into shape.
President Obama has chosen a sharp and able-bodied team to head his administration, but if he really wants to yank the country out of its dismal state, I suggest he enlist the help of some expectant mothers, preferably in their third trimester of pregnancy.
Because while Obama may have selected an experienced and savvy collection of specialists to lead this nation out of its hard times, no one on Earth has the ability to tackle big, unwieldy problems quite like a woman in the home stretch of pregnancy. In addition to manufacturing a brand-new human being, a feat of nearly supernatural proportions in and of itself, pregnant women also have an uncanny knack for grabbing the most daunting task by the throat, wrestling it to the floor and smashing its face into the carpet until it yells “Mother!”
Take it from me, now seven months pregnant with my second child. Despite my growing resemblance to Jabba the Hutt, I’ve entered a frenzied state of activity, conquering every task I encounter, big or small, with the focus and determination of a speed-addled jihadist. Each day, I find myself interrupting my furious scrubbing of the stovetop to empty out the fridge, call the plumber, e-mail my boss and complete a 2,000-word treatise on the use of fashion to highlight socioeconomic differences on “Gossip Girl.” Those who know me well are astounded by my sudden transformation from sullen sloth to Highly Effective Person. Instead of daydreaming or procrastinating or turning the screw (some favorite hobbies during non-gestational periods), I’m in a constant state of getting things done, whether it’s trawling eBay for a replica of the 18-year-old teddy bear my husband lost on an errand with my 2-year-old daughter (“Some guy kidnap Andy the Bear!” — those plaintive words haunt my vivid, pregnant-lady dreams each night) or typing out a five-page letter to my local congresswoman regarding the inefficient traffic patterns in my neighborhood.
Some people call this “nesting,” which is sort of like saying that a nuclear bomb “reorganizes” and “redecorates” its target city. Rest assured, pregnant women aren’t merely inspired to sift through stacks of baby blankets to sweetly prepare for a new family member’s arrival. They’re hormonally compelled to act swiftly and decisively on each and every agenda set before them, whether it involves building consensus among key policymakers, creating elaborate Excel charts, or pistol-whipping enemy combatants.
Sure, it might appear as if your pregnant wife is idly flipping through paint swatches or shopping for the perfect crib online, but you know better than that, don’t you? Remember that demonic look in her eye, when you gently suggested that maybe settling on the right carpet for the baby room at 2 in the morning wasn’t the best use of her energy? Remember how she gripped the edges of her chair and growled that you should mind your own business? Remember how she eyed the 5-pound paperweight on her desk, as if it might not only be necessary but entirely justified to brain you with it in order to complete the task at hand in an expeditious manner?
Women in the late stages of pregnancy only acknowledge obstacles that stand in their way for as long as it takes to calmly analyze how to blow those obstacles to smithereens with the nearest buckshot-loaded shotgun. Whether you need your bathroom plumbing disassembled and rebuilt or you need your country’s economic bailout plan designed, structured and put into motion within a matter of weeks, it would pay to enlist a woman in the family way for help.
But be forewarned: Heavily pregnant women are highly volatile, and should be approached with extreme caution. Like every effective renegade operative from Rambo to Jack Bauer, pregnant women are comfortable using any means necessary to achieve their goals, because as far as they’re concerned, the entire universe will implode if they fail. That said, they’re also a little spaced out. Recently, I waited in the parking lot of my local fabric store as a large SUV idled, without moving into the nearest spot. When I pulled into the spot myself, I glanced back at the SUV to make sure I hadn’t misjudged the driver’s intentions. The woman in the driver’s seat fixed me with a look of pure, murderous rage. I quickly backed out and took another open spot about 15 feet away, wondering why she hesitated or didn’t just take the other spot herself. Inside the store, I got my answer: She was at least eight months pregnant. A little distracted, yes, but utterly unwilling to relinquish what was by all rights hers and hers alone! Boy, did we dodge a bullet! Two very pregnant woman vying for one parking spot? It’s a miracle that it didn’t devolve into fisticuffs.
Realistically, there may be a few minor skirmishes among Obama’s team of pregnant nation-rebuilders, but he’ll also marvel at how incredibly intense and focused they are. He’ll find that they get results faster than any of the other thoughtful academics and policy gurus in his midst — and they’ll be far less prone to lengthy public policy discussions, since someone will lose the thread after their sixth bathroom break and end up bellowing, fists in the air like an enraged hockey coach, “Let’s get down to business, people! America is waiting!” Yes, Obama’s crack team of expectant experts is truly going to wow us with its speed and efficiency!
Except when they’re weeping uncontrollably, of course. But once those in the administration understand that the tears merely signal that it’s time to bring in the professional masseuses and the strawberry-rhubarb pies, everything should run smoothly again. After a good cry and a nice piece of pie, those hormonally propelled superwomen will redouble their efforts to make things better for all Americans, starting right now!
OK, fine, then: Starting tomorrow morning, at the latest.
Don’t tell me to be practical! This has to happen now! Don’t you understand anything? Now get out of my way, I have three pressing deadlines to meet, a sink full of dishes to do and an auction on Andy the Bear to win, or the whole universe is going to implode in a matter of minutes.
Heather Havrilesky is a regular contributor to the New York Times Magazine, The Awl and Bookforum, and is the author of the memoir "Disaster Preparedness." You can also follow her on Twitter at @hhavrilesky. More Heather Havrilesky.
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