13 Sivan 5779 / Sunday, June 16, 2019 | Torah Reading: Shelach Lecho
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Four Lady Astro-nuts    

Four Lady Astro-nuts

When I turned 16, my physics teacher said “fine, you want to be an astronaut. There's an observatory in New Haven”. My desire to soar among the stars was about to come true…


At fifteen, I swore off babysitting and decided to become an astronaut. Babies could never be electrifying, so who wanted to hang with them? I could have become a speech therapist, but the idea bored me.  Mom said speech therapy was a more sensible field, with sabbaticals, pensions and membership in the teachers’ union, but this had nothing to do with my life.


Before I say more, get these children out of here.


Okay. Let's talk about not getting pregnant. The opposite is unthinkable, and its flip side is birth control.


The background to this story: most girls my age had a boyfriend, but nobody got pregnant because they all took pills. Nobody liked babies, and nobody wanted them. There was no place for a baby until you finished graduate school and saved up money to pay off your loans and sign for a house and a car. We were designed to have babies, but couldnt talk about it, couldnt think about it, couldnt do it. It drove me nuts. I became so hard to handle, that Mom gave up and sent me to a boarding school in Connecticut.


That didn’t stop me from buying birth control pills. Yes, there was a law against giving them to minors, but good old Planned Parenthood hired a guy named Angel whose job was to sweet-talk girls into buying the pills. For each girl, Angel signed a form as if he was the parent for all of us.


When I turned 16, my physics teacher said “fine, you want to be an astronaut. There's an observatory in New Haven”. She signed the pass to check me out of school for the weekend, and so I skipped the mandatory Sunday cleanup and caught a Greyhound bus to New Haven. My desire to soar among the stars was about to come true.


Sort of; first hear what happened:


I got to the station, which was deserted, begged a ride from the bus driver, found the place at 10:30 pm, and discovered that the observatory was locked.


By then the bus station looked like the dark side of the moon—except there were addicts on the benches. It was midnight; the ticket office was locked.


So, I had no choice but to look at the starry sky and convince G-d to save me because I promised from now on to listen to my mother and fly straight. Actually, I did it only a few days later because I spent that night with the bus driver. Hed been a pilot in the Vietnam War, and therefore a drug addict, and his wife kicked him out of their house in Indiana.


The next morning, I found out he didnt love me, not at all. He kicked me out of his tiny apartment and locked the door. No, he didnt want to divorce his wife and stay with me. I did remember to take Angels pills, though.


What does Rabbi Lazer say? Lets go back to page 159 of The Trail to Tranquility – "When we experience suffering…slow down, open our eyes, and look for the wisdom behind the suffering."


And Im happy to report that I did look for that wisdom. I gave the pills back to Angel, who had been the Angel of Death all along.


Actually, I gave up the pills only ten years later. And meanwhile, I suffered because, as Rabbi Shalom Arush explains in The Garden of Riches, page 65, "You used birth control without a Rabbis permission and prevented a life from entering this world. Now Hashem is preventing you from enjoying your life."


In other words, G-d locked the doors to the telescope, the ticket office, and the bus driver’s apartment when I locked the doors to my newly-formed womb.


People say before you can marry and have a baby you must finish high school, college, and graduate school, save money, meet a guy with a job and hope he asks you to marry him, even though youre close to 40 by now. But thats just Angel talking; he wants to ruin your life. Throw away the pills.


I walked away from the story with a broken heart; I never even got to look through that telescope. I never became an astronaut or even a speech therapist. But theres a bright side:


G-d saved me from the Moondust that Makes Astronauts Nuts. Case history: Lisa Nowak had everything going for her. She was married and blessed with three kids, and then landed this fantastic job flying spaceships for NASA. And yet she drove 950 miles, disguised in a dark wig, eyeglasses, and a trench coat, stalked her former boyfriends new girlfriend, and attacked her with pepper spray. The police arrested Lisa for attempted kidnapping.                          


Huh? But…how could a NASA astronaut and aerospace engineer be so stupid?


I told you: its that Moondust.


Case history:  A few moments after blastoff, two lady astronauts exploded into sub-atomic particles with all the men on the crew. Its mind-boggling but makes sense when you realize how hard they had worked to erase the differences G-d made between women and men. Women have special equipment to develop new life, and were meant to use it.


But Daddy Universe let Lisa and me off the hook way easy. Lisa used her humiliation in the press to see the wisdom behind her suffering, and I got to work having babies, and last I heard we were doing just fine.



* * *

Alizah Teitelbaum has served as a film and stage actress, a senior editor’s assistant at Random House, and a columnist at the Jewish Times of Johannesburg. Her stories have appeared in Hamodia, Ami, Mishpacha, The Voice of Lakewood, The Jewish Press, and other places. She edits fiction and poetry  for https://sassonmag.com/ and blogs at http://alizahteitelbaum.weebly.com/blog . Alizah lives in the Negev Desert.

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