Thursday, May 31, 2007
A Letter to the Makers of e.p.t.
Dear Sirs,

Forgive my presumption; perhaps there are women employed there, but I assume a certain male influence behind today's experience. Women understand that there are certain things with which we do not trifle. We don't mix glass shards in with baby food, we don't replace the contents of Tylenol capsules with cyanide, and we don't complicate the reading of pregnancy tests.

This morning, I decided that, being several days late and moderately paranoid about the combination of new birth control, a course of antibiotics, travel and time zone changes in my life over the past month, it was time to reassure myself that I wasn't embarking on a new round of procreation. Please understand, I do indeed want to add another individual to the world population, but not quite yet.

Over the years, I've had the opportunity to use a number of different brands of home pregnancy tests, all purchased after a strict selection process centered around choosing the cheapest per-unit price on the shelf. All other times, the mathematical calculations required to determine the test results have been consistent: two lines indicate pregnancy, while one line assures me that I will continue to be the sole occupant of my body for the immediate future.

I don't invest in great quantities of this type of product at any given time, but it's something for which immediate availability is imperative when the need arises, so I try to keep one on-hand. I can't recall the last purchase, but at that time, e.p.t. must have won the lowest-price competition, because it was what I found under my bathroom sink this morning. Feeling well-versed in the ways of home pregnancy tests, I rather arrogantly proceeded to apply the necessary bodily fluid to the proper region of the stick and then continue with my morning ritual, consisting primarily of staring at the wall and wondering why I don't drink coffee.

I then glanced at the test, and counted lines: two.


I hadn't previously realized that it was possible to hear the sound of adrenaline coursing through one's veins. I instantly and simultaneously had four thousand distinct thoughts, was able to briefly see through time, and hovered several inches above the floor. It was adequate reinforcement that I was not ready to reenter the world of gestation, and an overabundance of proof that I was not ready to break said news to my husband.

In a desperate delaying tactic, I found the package instructions, and read them in Spanish because I was too panicked to realize I can't read Spanish. And lo and behold, in your test, two does not equal pregnant. Two equals not pregnant, and three, one at a 90-degree angle, means a legitimate early morning jolt of adrenaline. It was several hours before my heart rate returned to a beat that would not require a double-bass technique to replicate, and my eyes continue to hurt from the uncontrolled pupil dilation.

The decision-makers at Pfizer have therefore been tried and convicted in the Court of Kate, on the charge of unreasonable cruelty and unlawful induction of panic. Your punishment is yet to be determined, but will likely involve a specific bodily fluid.

Resentfully and tiredly yours,