Friday, June 7, 2013

Parental Utilization

"Rabo Karabekian asked Bonnie MacMahon to tell him something about the teen-age girl on the cover of the program for the Festival of the Arts. This was the only internationally famous human being in Midland City. She was Mary Alice Miller, the Women's Two Hundred Meter Breast Stroke Champion of the World. She was only fifteen, said Bonnie.

"Mary Alice was also the Queen of the Festival of the Arts. The cover of the program showed her in a white bathing suit, with her Olympic Gold Medal hanging around her neck...

"And Bonnie MacMahon told Beatrice and Karabekian that Mary Alice's father, who was a member of the parole board out at Shepherdstown, had taught Mary Alice to swim when she was eight months old, and that he had made her swim at least four hours a day, every day, since she was three.

"Rabo Karabekian thought this over, then he said loudly, so a lot of people could hear him, 'What kind of a man would turn his daughter into an outboard motor?'"

--Kurt Vonnegut Jr., Breakfast of Champions (1973).

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