It was a man’s idea, I think. Technically, actually, they say that you could trace it to a woman, but I’m sure she was being sarcastic about it. The man was the one who went and took it serious. They were arguing about abortion. The lady said, “If you were the one who had to be pregnant, you’d feel differently about it.” The man said, “If I could, I would, gladly!” The woman said, “Do it, then! Go invent yourself a mechanical womb and fucking do it!” And he ended up being a rich guy, and he actually did have one invented. Then he implanted it in a number of people like himself, to prove his point, and it became famous, and then whenever men talked about abortions women gleefully told them why didn’t they go implant themselves with a fetus and get some skin in the game. And some of the men were sincere, and they did, and lots of them were pressured into it because they didn’t want to look like hypocrites. And some of the men who did it just to prove a point carried the babies to term and had the mechanical womb tear open holes in their abdomen when the kid was ready to come out. The mechanical wombs had water-tight fabric walls, so the men could feel the babies squishing up against their other organs and pounding against their bellies indignantly. Some of the men who got implanted then went and had abortions, and when this happened lots of people said it went to show how hard that women had it that whole time. Some women had to foot the bill, to prove their point. People didn’t like it when one guy who had an abortion went on the news and told people he hadn’t changed his mind at all, and been proven wrong – in fact he only got pregnant in the first place so he could get his own abortion and to prove that it was no big deal at all. And they started inventing fetus transplants where pregnant people could just have their fetuses sucked out and implanted in people that volunteered their wombs. You’d have thought that would have solved everything, and it did. But that’s when it started to be a serious thing instead of mainly funny, and somebody invented a machine with glass tubes that grew babies in the wall, and nobody had to be pregnant if they didn’t want to anymore. If someone got pregnant they’d just make a deposit. And then people started talking and decided really after all nobody wanted to be pregnant again, ever, and so they started making deposits of sperm and eggs when they wanted to make a baby. For awhile you had to pay money to do it, and they called it Peoples Bank, but then people said it should be something for everyone and the government started paying for it. They were more efficient about it, so no accidental pregnancies ever happened in the first place – 90% of women in the U.S. got themselves sterilized by having all their eggs sucked out in their youths and stored up in the Peoples Bank where they could keep fresh and secure. Men, too, could make a one-time sperm donation while they were young and healthy. Then when it became something absolutely everyone was doing, the government had people undergo a year-long purge in youth before making the deposit, where they avoided alcohol and drugs and exercised and read great works and practiced languages and other important skills so as to program their mitochondrial DNA ideally, then at the height of their physicality they banked all their eggs or sperms. The government offered free services to these young people, like vouchers for the theater and gym and sports programs, army training, or free non-credit bearing classes at any university, depending on who in any particular term was in office and what kind of grandkids they wanted. Once you’d donated your perfect genes, you could monitor them online. As with the old phonebooks, you could pay extra money to have your sperm or eggs unlisted, and then no one else could use them. Or you could reserve a few cells for yourself. When the bank first went live, people were very suspicious of other people wanting their sperms and eggs, but the Bank became socialized by degrees, as people with inferior genes began looking at Olympic athletes and geniuses with IQ’s over 200 and movie stars with luscious lips and then envy overtook vanity – people wanted kids who were better, disease-free, capable of living to 105 with all their wits about them. The process was so swift and efficient anyway, people stopped feeling schmaltzy about it. You’d order your baby online with your credit card, pairing your preferred sperm and egg, and it would gestate in a glass tube, with ten or twelve babies clustered to the main line like grapes on a vine. You’d have to wait nine months for your order to come in, then you’d get a call that your baby was ready for pickup, and you’d drive down to the bank and a guy with gloves would pluck your fetus off its mechanical vine and run it through the dryer and then they’d hand it to you through their little window after you’d signed the paperwork. Sometimes people picked all the same awesome traits for the sperm and the egg and concocted incest babies by accident, and the parents would realize their mistake sometime after ordering or sometime when their kid got bigger, but then they’d just not say anything to anyone about it. Racism stopped being a thing because no one could figure out what race anyone belonged to after a few generations of white-guilt-feeling people making sure to order at least one minority baby and with some oppressed-feeling non-white people making sure to order all white babies so as to increase their babies’ odds of getting ahead. No one cared about what race anybody’s grandparents were anymore. That was a big relief to everyone, like it was when sexism died because no one had to be pregnant. People still talked about cultural prejudice, but none of those debates had the same zing as the ones about racism. Then some stupid hipsters every once in awhile would order babies who had autism or schizophrenia genes because they worried about the extinction of rare creative traits and everyone else hated those people and said they were so stupid for ignoring all the advances made by modern medicine and making crazy people for the future. Then people started to complain because after a few generations 50% of the eggs and sperm were descended from Betty White or George Takei and then the contest became to see who come make the least incesty-babies with what they had left in the bank, but a lot of the time people just had to settle for everybody having relatives for kids. Then the government made bans on people choosing their own eggs and sperm and had professional geneticists pick out the best combinations when people ordered their babies, checking off boxes for the kinds of genes they wanted. And when a couple of parents wound up with downs-syndrome babies and had the tests taken that proved it, the parents complained and the geneticists who did that got fired. And when people heard about that, suddenly there were a couple thousand parents who had children that were seriously fucked up, like, kids with vestigial tails that had to be removed, and kids with webbed feet, and kids who would sputter gibberish incessantly and had gross noses and who moved weird and glowed in the dark and shot lasers from their eyes, and the parents finally could admit it out loud that they’d been disappointed with the quality of their children, and then those parents started to sue the geneticists and a good handful of them won, so it became a running joke in everybody’s family when the kids were bad, “This is why geneticists get sued.” Then some person released a manifesto where they said that what had happened with those weird gross babies was because some of the people who didn’t believe in the morality of the Peoples’ Bank had gone in to donate sperm with hidden sacs of gorilla semen or pig semen. And then everybody was horrified and people said it was Christian nutjobs and that started a huge anti-Christian thing, but some other people said it was the same hippie nutjobs who tried to save schizophrenia and autism and you could only blame one of those groups for all the gross babies that people were having. Then another guy released a manifesto where he said actually that what happened was that people who were mad scientist-y geeks and wanted to create mermaids and angels and x-men had gone in to donate sperm with hidden sacs of electric eel and eagle seamen. And one guy added that he’d wanted to create leaf-people and had sprinkled pollen into his real sperm. So when it came out that the culprits of crappy kids were all men, sexism came back a little. When parents were fighting over how crappy their kids were women accused men of slipping their geneticist crap sperm, and even though it was probably some other guy’s sperm anyway in the abstract the concept was the same – what goes around comes around, if your kid got bastardized it must’ve been because you bastardized some other poor bloke’s eggs first. And people started to talk about the fact that whenever young men went to make deposits to the sperm bank no one was watching them extract their sperm. Other people said it shouldn’t matter because the geneticists should be able to tell monkey seamen from man seamen, but nobody who wasn’t a geneticist knew if that was true. Then it turned out in a few years that all you really needed the government for was the Peoples’ bank, since racism and overpopulation and orphans and abortion were over with, and as long as there wasn’t any bunny jizz involved there wouldn’t be much fuss about health-care or education because all the people would be naturally healthy and smart. Congress had made a law, specifically to keep the bunny jizz out of circulation, that none of the people with animal fathers could make any deposits to Peoples’ bank when they came of age. And when those people did finally come of age, they found out by accident that those mutants with wombs could still get pregnant. That started a whole big thing again, because first of all no one could remember what to do when people got pregnant, and that was creepy for ordinary people to be around mutants and to see their giant swollen bellies and to hear them say disgusting things like, “Oh, it’s kicking!” And second of all, everyone had expected the mutant situation to go away on its own. But now the mutants were breeding, right there in front of everyone, and it seemed like a situation everyone should deal with. But it was kind of a delicate subject, what with no one sure who anyone’s parents were and you couldn’t just have sex with whoever you wanted to, anymore, when you started calling people mutants. But some of them were getting pregnant, and that had to be proof positive that someone was a mutant who you’d been sleeping with. But some people still didn’t want to admit it and wound up marrying the mutants and having more babies who were mutants. Some mutants also got married to mutants, and because you both knew you were mutants together and didn’t care how strange you were. So really if you were a mutant you had pretty good chances of getting pregnant. But still, people said that there were lots of mutants who couldn’t find anyone who wanted to have sex and one day all those mutants had a convention where they did moving speeches to show people how wrong it was for them to be discriminated against at the Peoples’ Bank, about how it hurt to be labeled a reject, and so what if your father was an electric eel and you could do special things like start a car with your fingers, didn’t that make you cool? And then someone in the audience started levitating to prove the point, and someone else started spinning like a top on its head, saying yeah, everyone was being mean. And a guy who had a thick stream of mucous streaming out of his nose and had to catch it in buckets said that his daddy was a snail, but nobody wanted to listen to him because he was proving the opposite of their point. And they found more and better kinds of mutants who could jump really far across rooftops while carrying people on their shoulders or who could see in the dark and find lots of things for other people when it was nighttime to show that it was better to be different. And then that worked, and everyone started looking for mutants, and it became a really big thing where anyone who said they were a mutant would have a line of people start to form who’d masturbated into baggies and wanted to make deposits. At first the mutants just laughed or got angry and told them all to go away, but then some of the people who wanted mutant babies were paying money, and then lots and lots of mutants came out and were accepting applications for sperms in baggies. Some of them would accept more than one candidate at a time, but then people got mad when only one mutant baby came out, or two sometimes, and they had to fight about who was the rightful owner, and they tried to hire geneticists who could tell them, but geneticists were even harder to find than mutants had been – they’d all gone into hiding after the first ones got sued for effing up. And some of the mutants who accepted deposits still didn’t get pregnant, and that was an even worse mess because people got angry and got into fights and then they were looking for the government again. The government had been busy trying to figure out why no one was ordering any new babies, and it was because everyone was ordering their babies offline instead, with their cool new mutant friends. Then finally someone in the government wrote a paper and read it out loud over microphones where they said that the mutants didn’t actually have anything to do with people having animal fathers, it was just geneticists making mistakes or pairing the right traits to make evolution happen faster, with superpowers, and so they added a little check-box to the applications for people ordering babies who wanted special kinds of animal powers. And they said that they couldn’t verify the mutant status of everyone who said they were mutants, because after all the mess with fathers getting blamed all the time for having bad sperm, making deposits had become kind of a trashy thing to do, and it turned out that a lot of communities had stopped their young people making their one-time donation to the Peoples Bank. And that was complicated and a problem, because people hadn’t been paying attention to peoples’ genders for really a very long time, and all the people now had names like Storm and Truth that you couldn’t tell what their genders were and lots of people who were having sex were doing free-love and when they had preferences for the shape of peoples’ orifices and projections it was just as unimportant as having a preference for people with certain colored hair or eyes, or certain kinds of heights or weights, and so people had lost track of who could get pregnant and who couldn’t. Actually when people blamed the fathers for slipping the geneticist crap sperm, it was just a guess and when people talked about some people being men or women it was just a thing that people said, like having cooties, that nobody knew what it meant but that they just kept saying. And so most of the mutants who were getting pregnant actually were just women. And, in conclusion, that’s what led to the politics of sex education in America.