I sit down in a cold, cavernous conference room, across a giant marble ocean from the Lifestyle Financial representative. There is a book. A brochure of life choices, if you will, floating between us. I have just given birth to a beautiful baby girl and now it is time for me to decide on her life’s path. This is terrifying. I have saved as much as I can to ensure she has the best life possible but in the end, it will all come down to this year’s rates.
“So, Mrs. Stephens, shall we begin? I have our latest brochure and lifestyle order form here with me and I would just like to start by pointing out a change we have made.”
My hands are clammy, the magnitude of this meeting hanging thick in the air.
“We have taken the decision to remove gender from the options this year.”
“I beg your pardon? I’m sorry. I don’t understand what you mean.”
“It means that your child -,”
“Your child Mrs. Stephens, will not have a gender assigned at this stage, it is something that can be added on at their 18th review, if they so desire.”
I grip the cold marble, waves of anger and confusion crash down on me.
“Shall we start the order then?” He asks with a dull sense of repetitiveness. How many lives has he written? To how many people has he explained the cost benefit of choosing diabetes? Does he even care?
“OK Mrs. Stephens, let’s start with our standard packages, we have our basic Bronze package starting at £7,500 per annum, which of course would limit the child to basic education and a low level of health. This could include, but not be limited to, obesity concerns, common colds, and flus and as one would expect poor dental health.”
My head is spinning, the rates this year are up about 10%, I haven’t budgeted for such a jump but I can’t let my daughter go through life on a bronze package.
“We then move on to our silver package, this will entitle the child to a more comprehensive education, concluding at the end of high school. There are no university options available on the silver package however it is worth noting that from our silver level high schools, we do run a lottery of our top achievers to go on to have employment training for higher level service jobs. Front of house staff, butlers, that sort of thing. It also offers a better level of health and mild immunity; this package comes in at £15,000 per annum but we do offer a discount if you choose to accept one of our illnesses under investigation and are willing to participate in one of the clinical trials that we are currently running to eradicate these. This takes the package down to a very generous £12,500 per annum with the standard two years refundable in the event of the child’s death during the trials.”
“And what would these illnesses look like, what sort of symptoms would she be facing?”
“The child, Mrs. Stephens, would be selected at random for one of three illnesses we are currently trying to eradicate for our Gold and Platinum Lifestyle members. The first is a religious notion, they would be programmed with a synthetic belief system which closely resembles the apparent natural affliction we see cropping up. The second would be singular sexuality, this one comes with a start date of the child’s 16th review for legal reasons; however, it would be conditional on a minimum of five years of study, meaning this will supersede the child’s right to amendments at their 18th review.”
“I’m sorry to interrupt, what do you mean ‘singular sexuality’?”
“Well since we have chosen to remove the gender option at birth, it is widely thought that removing sexual preference completely will help with the child’s transition into the new Global Non-binary Directive.”
I am stunned back into deep silence once again.
“The benefits of course being that the child would spend their first 16 years completely unaffected. The third is a new illness some of our platinum members have requested. We will be trying to eradicate sadness. No one in our top tier wants to pay £75,000 per annum to end up with an unhappy child. A lack of smiling from this tier’s children implies a level of distasteful ungratefulness which is no longer an acceptable affliction. Would you like me to continue?”
I’m just a mum, desperately trying to prepare my children for life when they grow up. I live in the west of Scotland and love nothing more than a good debate. I have some controversial views on many things and discussing them with people of opposing views can be great fun as it often gives everything another point of view. I work in our local high school which is the most rewarding job I’ve ever had and I am currently studying to be an English teacher. I enjoy spending time trying to grow my own veg or looking after my chickens. We have quite a quiet way of life up here.