Tuesday Trifles

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And all this time I thought I was merely showcasing a measure of libidocoria:

When Elana Sigall, a 43-year-old attorney in Brooklyn, was pregnant with her third, people came up to her constantly, she said, to admonish her: “You’ve got a boy and a girl already. Why don’t you just leave it alone?”

What’s worse, the desire to have another child opens one up to charges of elitism and status consciousness. In many major U.S. cities and their suburbs — especially New York, where I live — having three or more children has now come to seem like an ostentatious display of good fortune, akin to owning a pied-Ã -terre in Paris. The family of five has become “deluxe.” Last year, novelist Molly Jong-Fast mused in the New York Observer, “Are people having four or five children just because they can? Because they feel that it shows their wealth and status? In a world where the young rich use their $13,000 Birkin bags as diaper bags, one has to wonder.”

Related: In case you missed it, middle-income families can expect to spend $204,060 on feeding, housing and schooling a child born in 2007 until his or her 18th birthday, the U.S. government reported on Monday. I’m pretty sure that figure includes childcare, so if your wife stays home, that figure drops, what, $50,000 or so? One hundred fifty thousand dollars still strikes me as high. I always ballparked $100,000 per kid, and thought I was guessing high.

My earlier thoughts about the price of procreating.

A study in The Journal of Public Economics finds smoking bans lead to increased highway deaths as drinkers are forced to drive further to different jurisdiction or to find bars with outdoor seating. The same story is in this month’s issue of The Atlantic (which I can’t cut-and-paste b/c The Atlantic has put all its content online free, but makes everyone wait awhile first, thereby treating paying customers the same as non-paying customers . . . you’re right, I won’t be renewing). The anti-smoking folks are now calling for a national ban. [Insert Fasco-Puritan joke here.]

Science continues to make us more and more intimate with the macabre: A soldier’s widow has succeeded in having sperm taken from his body and frozen four days after he was slain in Iraq, though medical experts said it’s highly unlikely she would be able to bear his child. I don’t want to know how they got it out.

Professor Robert Bartlett, who is an expert on the Middle Ages, said hooded tops were the garment of choice for 12th-century juvenile delinquents. The article says most people during the winter wore hoods, and we know many monks wore them. So who didn’t?

I wear a hood. It’s a nice way to stay semi-anonymous in my small town. Of course, my sweatshirt is sky blue and has “Southern” blazed across it, so people are beginning to know it’s me, but with my head down and earphones in (usually, a Benedict Groeschel podcast) I can ignore everyone for a little while.

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