Interviewed by a Vampire


When it comes to choosing entertainment or really good distractions in the form of TV/film, I’ve got range. I’m as comfortable in front of a classic Masterpiece Theatre or historical mini series (adored John Adams, Band of Brothers, Rome, etc.) as I am watching shows like Mad Men or Jon Stewart’s Daily Show, but HBO originals — now they are hard to beat for thought-provoking looks into society as we don’t feel comfortable seeing it.

Editor’s Note: This post will make the most sense to those who’ve tuned into HBOs’ True Blood series. For those new to it, here’s the plot: Thanks to a Japanese scientist’s invention of synthetic blood, vampires have progressed from legendary monsters to fellow citizens overnight. And while humans have supposedly been removed from the menu, many remain apprehensive about these creatures “coming out of the coffin.” Religious leaders and government officials around the world have chosen their sides, but in the small Louisiana town of Bon Temps, the jury is still out. Local waitress Sookie Stackhouse however, knows how it feels to be an outcast. “Cursed” with the ability to listen in on people’s thoughts, she’s also open-minded about the integration of vampires — particularly when it comes to Bill Compton, a handsome 173-year-old living up the road.

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Now, pull up a chair as Vampire Bill Compton interviews me. Who knew vampires and infertiles had so much in common!?
                                                                                                 * * * *
Bill: As you know, I’ve been dead since the Civil War so coming back to modern society and trying to assimilate into daily life as a vampire among mortals has had its challenges. But you — an “infertile” … you seem to share your own assimilation challenges. For our vampire audience, can you describe a few of them?

Pamela Jeanne: Well I imagine for a vampire it gets pretty tedious to hear mortals all day long talking about their list of “things to do before they die” or  chatting you up with “it’s supposed to be sunny this weekend — what’re your plans?”  … when, ooops … you’re already dead, or the sun isn’t exactly a vampire’s friend.

Well in the same way, all around me day in and day out I hear people routinely highlighting their fertility, completely oblivious to my infertile circumstances. It’s small talk around the water cooler, library, conference room: “You have how many kids again? …Did you see XXX is due to deliver any day, let me tell you about my last month of pregnancy … got any recommendations for good daycare?”

Bill: Well, I have an advantage. I’m a little more pasty white than the average mortal and, well, then there are my fangs, which I don’t show regularly … but you, you don’t seem to have any obvious defining physical traits, how do people know you’re infertile?

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Pamela Jeanne: Um, they don’t. Unless of course they’ve stumbled across my blog.

Bill: Let’s take a caller — we’ve got Dracula on the line

Dracula: Forgive the pun, but what you describe has got to suck!  Don’t you end up feeling ostracized amid fertiles?

Pamela Jeanne: Of course — some days are better than others, but like a vampire, we learn to make adjustments. You know, the infertile equivalent of jumping into the coffin — sometime it’s absolutely necessary to protect yourself from the equivalent of silver, crosses, garlic, you know.

Bill: Is there an advantage to organizing? You know we have the American Vampire League …

Pamela Jeanne: There’s one big difference in our perception battles. You see, mortals fear death and or being attacked by a vampire. They have no choice but to consider your existence and adapt to your being part of society. Fertiles, though, have no incentive to consider what life might be like as an infertile. What we — vampires and infertiles — both desire is respect and recognition for the different sorts of, well, challenges we face. We both can’t help but have a different view on the world since there will be no progeny from either of us.

For now anyway, infertiles simply have to suck it up — sorry bad choice of words — and work to assimilate in a society that doesn’t give much, if any, thought to how it is for us to exist.

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Bill: Anything else you’d like to add to your audience of fellow “outcasts”?

Pamela Jeanne: Yeah, I heard one other interesting example that ties vampires and infertiles closer together. Charlie Gibson, the anchor of ABC World News, casually mentioned in an intro to a segment those “blessed with children” … so taking his logic a step further, what he seems to be implying is that infertiles — like Vampires –are damned, no? Just another one of the weird little ways that society places a higher values on fertiles vs infertiles.

Bill: Let’s throw it open to your readers. Next question?? Comments??


14 Responses

  1. Io

    March 12, 2009 1:07 pm

    Dude. This is awesome.
    And now I want to watch the tv show. What? You’re not on it? That’s bullshit. Clearly you deserve at least a cameo.

  2. Renee

    March 12, 2009 1:45 pm

    as always, very clever. it has me thinking, though… what kind of special recognition do we want? should we place placards on our cars “No baby on board” or wear sweatshirts with a big “I”? i’m just not sure how we can get the kind of sensitivity from society that we seek without some growing pains.

    maybe not the best analogy, but think of the movements in society where people eventually got respect after struggle: civil rights, ADA, gay equality, etc. is that what we seek? a societal revolution of sorts? i mean, we certainly don’t hear co-workers around the water cooler dropping the “N” word or referring to gay colleagues as “fags” (well, at least i hope we don’t hear that stuff anymore!). and i think in order to affect that kind of change for us, i.e., they become sensitive to our infertile state and refrain from rambling about little johnny’s soccer talents for 30 minutes, do we go that distance for equality?

    not sure i have any answer yet or even how i feel about it, but thanks for giving me something to think about this thursday morning!

  3. loribeth

    March 12, 2009 3:52 pm

    I’m glad you set the scenario, as I have never even heard of this show (our TV package doesn’t extend much beyond basic cable). You draw an excellent (& hilarious!) analogy!!

    I can think of another parallel (which kind of reminds me of the scene in Moonstruck, where the mother decides that “men chase women because they fear death.”). People fear & avoid vampires because they fear death. And I think people fear & avoid infertiles because, deep down, they fear death. And infertility is a form of death. Everyone loves to say they will live on through their children. What about us?

    The watercooler conversation this week is all about plans for spring break (next week hereabouts). Another non-starter for me…!

  4. Dora

    March 12, 2009 6:18 pm

    LOVE THIS SO MUCH! I’m waiting so impatiently for the new season. You should definitely get a cameo.

  5. Kami

    March 12, 2009 7:19 pm

    “Blessed” . . . a big old raspberry.

    I often tell people that we are very fortunate. I wouldn’t used “blessed” even if I did believe in a power that could bless some people and not others.

    Well done, PJ!

  6. stepping up

    March 13, 2009 11:43 pm

    Genius blog entry here. Nicely Done!

    I’ve got to use the “recognition and respect” request. That’s what I’m looking for. And if we’re all out there asking for it, we’ll slowly change the world. I’m up for that.

    Today, I was in a ‘professional’ meeting with power point. There it was… The speaker’s grandchild’s picture up there for five minutes! Why don’t people get it?

    PS-Love that you love ‘Mad Men’ too.

  7. Willow

    March 14, 2009 9:31 am

    ;D Verrrry funny… (see, you’re supposed to read that like Dracula is saying it as he swoops his cape to his mouth, hiding his fangs.)

    Nice comparison. Very clever. And sadly apt.

    Haven’t caught this show since we’ve been over here. I’m hoping it’ll make me forgive him for ending SFU. Is it on the Ball? Dur. I’m just on such a roll.

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