A New Arrival by Alan Delaney

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SUMMARY: The Miracle of Life - modern style

A steady doctor, excited nurses, an anxious father - all of them repeating the same word: "Push." A mother in labour screams aloud and pushes. A new life enters the world. A boy.

Mother collapses with exhaustion. Father cries with joy. Nurses chatter with excitement. The umbilical cord is cut and the newborn is wrapped in a blanket. A mother cuddles her son and the smiling parents pose for the camera.

Papers are exchanged, documents are signed, numbers are recorded. E-mails are sent, more papers, more numbers. A website is created, and an e-mail address. In a few hours the newborn's face, framed by beaming parents, will be posted to the site.

Later, more pictures will follow as the baby's life is recorded, photographed, journaled. In a few days, a barcode will be tattooed to its wrist which by age of three will be replaced by an implant.

By the age of five, its aptitudes will be tested, measured, catalogued. Its career options will be outlined, its education configured. More e-mails will be sent, more papers, more numbers.

By the age of thirteen, further tests will follow. Its criminal tendencies, its rebelliousness, its nonconformity, its sense of identity will be investigated, determined, noted. Appropriate medication will be prescribed. More e-mails, more papers, more numbers.

By the age of eighteen, its abilities will be identified, its potentialities will be known, its ambitions assigned. Its career path will be outlined, agreed upon, programmed. Its life will be smooth, easy, free of danger. It will be happy, safe, secure, and, above all, it will be a worthy citizen.

But all that is for tomorrow. Today belongs to the smiling parents, to the doting nurses and to the newborn with the barcoded plastic wristband.

Citizen DMF3364774432 has arrived to the world.