This should make everyone happier:

You’d never think that all it took was two [ageist description redacted], sent shopping by the [genderist description redacted] of one to buy [genderist garment description redacted], to crack the [sizeist term redacted] discovery in modern [subject-specific term redacted].

It was very simple: I’d been staying with my [term which might be offensive for lonely persons redacted] [nameist term redacted] in [geographist term redacted], trying to sort out how we were going to get our book on [microbist term redacted] structure together, when xxxx’s [genderist description redacted] [nameist term redacted] decided that their youngest [nameist term redacted] needed new school [genderist garment description redacted]. [genderist pronoun redacted] was too busy making supper to bother; these otherwise unemployed elderly [genderist pronoun redacted] were the perfect candidates — and the prospect of not having to listen to us blather on about just where to pitch the book, and what to put in it, and which [musicist term redacted] albums we liked, probably tipped the balance our way. Seeing as we could continue to do all those things in a [vehiculist term redacted] and in the [unnecessarily exclamatory term redacted]market — and do a side trip to drool over [gender biased terms redacted] — we agreed with alacrity.

And so it was, that after a most satisfying comparison shop of [brand-specific term redacted] versus the rest, and a cruise through [musicist term redacted] nostalgia in the shape of special-offer [medium-specific term redacted], we found ourselves in a large [unnecessarily size descriptive term redacted]market, trawling for [genderist noun redacted] [genderist garment description redacted].

At this point I must digress, and mention, for those who are not aware, the profound differences in strategy between [genderist noun redacted] Going Shopping and [genderist noun redacted] Going Shopping. In any general shopping situation, [genderist noun redacted] [offensive verb redacted] that is, they go into a complex environment with a few clear objectives, achieve those, and leave. [genderist noun redacted], on the other hand, gather: such that any mission to buy just bread and [term offensive to vegans redacted] could turn into an extended foraging expedition that also snares a to-[offensive verb redacted]-for pair of discounted [term hurtful to shoeless persons redacted]; a useful new mop; three sorts of new cook-in sauces; and possibly a selection of frozen [term offensive to vegans redacted].

And the interesting thing is — and this is what sparked the discovery — that any [genderist noun redacted] would be very hard pressed to say where [genderist pronoun redacted] got some of these things, even if [genderist pronoun redacted] accompanied [genderist pronoun redacted].

Have you never had the experience of talking to your significant [genderist noun redacted] other as you wend your way through the complexity of a [unnecessarily size descriptive term redacted]market — only to suddenly find [genderist pronoun redacted] 20 metres away with [genderist pronoun redacted] back to you? And then [genderist pronoun redacted] comes back with something you’ve never seen before, and tosses it in the trolley as if nothing has happened?

I know I have — and until recently, I had always assumed it was just me not noticing new things in the aisles we were [noun offensive to differently-abled persons redacted] through.

So there we were, looking for [genderist garment description redacted], and a rather wary [genderist noun redacted] asked if [genderist pronoun redacted] could help, given that we looked lost and [pejorative description of state redacted]. ….

[entire speculative science section redacted]

[nameist term redacted] and I no longer communicate. And we’re very [emotive term redacted].

And we hope you are too!


About Ed Rybicki

Ed is a 60-ish virologist and biotechnologist, formerly a Zambian and presently a South African. He is into family, virology, biotechnology, science in general, science fiction in particular, photography, red wine, wearing loud shirts, 70s rock, blues and smooth jazz...and telling stories. Sometimes, interesting ones. And writing for his own amusement.
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7 Responses to PCSpace!!

  1. Fiona Tanzer says:

    Good Grief Ed, I really thought you were joking when you said that there had been some outraged comment on your story!

    To the outraged: For the record, having known and worked with Ed for many years, both as a doctoral student and as a post-doctoral research colleague,

    1. Both Ed and his wife are highly respected scientists of equal academic standing
    2. Ed has a sense of humour
    3. Ed is more than domestically capable!
    4. Remove the logs of bigotry from your own eyes

    Further to the outraged – and I write this while shuddering at the level of literary comprehension of otherwise well educated people (not to mention what this may mean at a subtle level to the greater pursuit of science),

    1. What part of the words “fiction” and “humour” do you not understand?
    2. How well do you really read Nature? The Futures section of Nature IS a fictional story section – a light-hearted ending to a serious read (like the comics section amid the political and social news in a newspaper) – or did you think that all of those stories in Futures about aliens etc were serious peer-reviewed Nature articles?
    3. Where were all the outraged comments on those other Futures stories?
    4. Ed’s story was clearly a tribute to women and a parody on thumbsuck science!
    5. It is good writing – the mere fact that it has got so many people to react to it so strongly is to its credit in terms of effective writing.

    Finally – Hear Ye, Oh all ye outraged,
    I am writing this in my permanent capacity as a woman.

    I left science to write (gasp!) fiction, some of it (groan) science fiction, but I will say that Ed’s group has always been full of lively characters and highly intelligent people – both men and women – who can identify a joke at first glance with significantly greater accuracy (p<0.0001) than a small subsection of Nature's readership.

    • Anon says:

      Here is another comment from one of those brave folk who give their names with their posts – like Fiona and I do:

      “Ah, no doubt you are one of those “strong women who don’t seem to have too much of a problem getting ahead” that Ed referred to earlier. Not like the weak women who let themselves be victims of sexism. Good for you.”

      Right, so – comments closed on this one too, then!

  2. Fiona Tanzer says:

    On consideration….. Redact those comments of mine!!!!

  3. Saurs says:

    You know, this tip-tip-tip-toeing on eggshells panto routine …[boring stuff redacted – Ed]

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