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The Fat Guy Was a Good Guy

Dave Thomas, Whatever His Dietary Lapses, Championed Adoption. Hail.

This is Dark Cloud on Wednesday, January 09, 2002.

We all know Dave Thomas, the founder of Wendy's Hamburgers, died yesterday. He died of cancer, but he'd had heart bypasses and was, in fact, a refutation of his product, which he apparently genuinely liked and ate. He was the anti-charisma, anti-sex, anti-cool persona. He pushed unhealthy food, and although I myself like it, I know that the preponderance of lard butt America owes its husky clothing sizes to the ease with which people can purchase low cost heart attacks in the future rather than shop and prepare for themselves. You can't blame Thomas for this, beyond being an effective salesman for a questionable cause, which was making a lot of money pushing arguably addictive artery cloggers.

But in reading his obituary, I see that Thomas, an adopted child, headed up an organization that pushed others to adopt and helped orphanages and their charges. He did so with lots of money in a low-key way that speaks to an innate sense of duty and social need. I so agree with his project, and the way he conducted himself with it, that I cannot help but laud him a bit here. I hope others step forward to continue his work.

In a world of unwanted children, the greatest crime against both humanity and nature as a whole, there are two cures. One, mandatory birth control as China did, which is the locus of combat between the ultimate individual right and the good of the community. Or, two, educating the population so that there is NO unwanted pregnancy. Hard to say what the population would be if unwanted pregnancies vanished, but information suggests that human population would sink to a level bearable for the planet and species both.

The population debate, I need remind everyone, would vanish if three things happen. One, if women led interesting enough lives they didn't have to fill them with endless pregnancies to have something to do. Two, if men didn't rate themselves by producing ambulatory proof of their sperm count and sexual conquests for which they are often unable to provide either materially or emotionally. And three, if patriarchs and religions unstapled procreation and sex, which no longer need be considered together, and allow sexual education of the sort that precludes unwanted pregnancy. It is unlikely that the patriarch mentality will break the connection, because they correctly perceive the need to keep the debate on fetuses to keep their power structure.

This veers away, you might think, from the celebration of adoption in the hands of Dave Thomas, but I disagree. There is a real mental barrier crossed when you adopt a child, especially if you yourself can produce. You are doing something for the species and community, raising diverse gene pools to fruition possibly at the expense of your own. You are doing something noble, giving a name to the nameless and deserted and, hopefully, treating them as your own seed so they grow up feeling an equal with any direct produce of your loins. It is noble in a way that all the medical attempts at artificial insemination and forced genetic descent is not. If nature says you can't have kids, either as an individual or with your chosen mate, that ought to steer you to adoption. Else is vanity, pure and simple.

I have no children, but I know that the accomplishment of raising good kids supersedes any anecdotal heroine stories of tough deliveries and difficulties in becoming pregnant. To deliver a child simply to fulfill yourself as a woman is as bogus as impregnating an allegedly willing woman to prove you can do it as a man. It should be, to my simple mind, all about the kid and the life you can give him.

And to Thomas, it apparently was all about the kids. He spoke often and convincingly of the family and the joy it can bring. Of unspoken social obligations, which he clearly felt. Hail.