Saturday, July 09, 2005

Little hellraiser

Bitch Ph.D.'s post on parental notification reminded me of something from my past. I was only 17, but clear on the path to being the Angry Pregnant Lawyer that I am today.

It was early fall, my senior year. As most seniors do, I felt like I owned the school. I walked with a slight swagger. I was able to enjoy classes without obsessing about grades, the weather was delightful and sunny, and there was a certain "who gives a fuck?" attitude among myself and my similarly situated classmates.

As was the tradition every two years, the local Congressional candidates came to our school to speak to the senior class, some of which (although never many) were presumably of voting age. All 400+ of us crammed into the theater, into our uncomfortable seats. Each candidate gave an opening statement, and then they were asked questions about different issues by a student moderator who was also on the stage. The student moderator, a friend of mine, asked about parental notification laws for abortion. The Democratic candidate, a woman, was opposed to such laws. The Republican candidate favored them. He breezily stated that minors need parental permission for all types of procedures, even ear piercing--abortion should be no different. While my face turned red, the candidates proceded to answer other questions.

I should preface what happened next by saying that, by nature, I am a shy person. (I've gotten better about it as I've gotten older, but to this day people still mistake my shyness for aloofness.) I do not like to call attention to myself. People who know me would also likely tell you that I am a nice person--I generally don't enjoy making others feel badly. And in high school, I was thought of as a kind, nerdy, "good" person. Definitely not a rabble-rouser. More like a bookish mouse occasionally given to bouts of laughter.

After the moderator finished her questions, she asked if students had any questions for the candidates. Most of the students in the auditorium looked like they were eager to leave, but I raised my hand. The moderator called on me by name, and I stood up.

"Mr. [Republican candidate]," I projected through the auditorium, "you stated earlier that you favored parental notification laws because minors have to get parental permission to get their ears pierced..."

He smiled blankly, blissfully unaware of the nature of my question.

"... Are you comparing a woman's decision whether to have an abortion to something so frivolous as having her ears pierced?!"

I grinned. He looked pissed. The other students seemed to wake from their comas, and the tittering began.

He blustered, "Now, see... that's not... You young people don't..."

And that's when my fellow students made me proud. We couldn't hear the rest of his response, and no one was listening anyway. At "You young people," the entire student body let out the early '90s equivalent of "Oh NO he di'int" (come to think of it, maybe that was the expression we used back then). The Democratic candidate just stood there trying not to gloat.

I don't remember anything after that. I know my question made it into the student newspaper story on the candidates' visit. And a month or so later, the Democratic candidate won the election.


Blogger liz said...

Yay APL! It's easy to see why you went in Law.

3:11 PM, July 09, 2005  
Blogger Mieke said...

A woman after my own heart. I love your story. I was that kid too (not that anyone would EVER describe me as shy), but I loved a good debate.

7:04 PM, July 09, 2005  
Blogger Running2Ks said...

I'll never argue semantics with you.

7:26 PM, July 09, 2005  
Blogger SuzanH said...

You are Awesome Pregnant Lawyer. Truly.

9:21 PM, July 09, 2005  
Blogger Gina said...

Great story! Early practice for the courtroom!

I also used to be kind of shy, and was labeled "stuck up." But then I met my husband and the extrovert that he is, taught me how to talk to just about anyone. Now people probably wish I would just shut up. :)

10:16 PM, July 09, 2005  
Blogger Kim Plaintive said...

That's a fantastic story and so well-told. Score one for the shy girls everywhere!

10:23 PM, July 09, 2005  
Blogger Phantom Scribbler said...

Between this and the basketball story, I think you were the coolest kid ever to hit school!

11:07 PM, July 09, 2005  
Blogger bitchphd said...

LOL, excellent...

(We said that when I was in highschool ;) )

8:03 PM, July 10, 2005  
Anonymous pottyphobe said...

You are awesome. I love it.

10:56 AM, July 11, 2005  

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