Wednesday, May 9, 2012

The Life of Dominique

Barack Obama's creation, The Life of Julia has gotten a lot of coverage this week.

The real-life Julia?
The real-life consequences for Julia
Who the hell is "Julia," and why am I paying for her whole life?

Well, here's my contribution: The Life of Dominique


Full Text:

Barack Obama's campaign has recently created a story on their website called The Life of Julia.  It is the life story of a woman who is given cradle to grave assistance by the US government and describes the course her life takes as she passively moves through life's many stages.

The conclusion of the story is that, "From cracking down on gender discrimination in health care costs to fighting for equal pay, President Obama is standing up for women throughout their lives."

But what might a woman's life look like if she did not depend on the help of government programs and instead actively and independently pursued goals and dreams?  It was on this idea that I was inspired to write The Life of Dominique.

I see the world quite a bit differently than Barack Obama, so this story has a much different conclusion.

Age 0:   Dominique is born in a small town in South America.

Age 3:   Her parents decide to immigrate to the United States of America, which was surprisingly easy now due to recent changes there.

Age 6:  Dominique enrolls in an inexpensive, small town school

Age 10: Even though she finds an interest in many different things, like painting, math, and sports, she especially likes biology and learns quite a bit about the subject on her own outside of school.

Age 16: She starts to become more independent and to have more opinions about things around her.  She is curious about the country where she was born.  Even though her family is poor, she grows to be very grateful that she is an American now.

Age 18: She has worked a few jobs during the summer, including the local veterinary clinic and learns how to suture wounds and about various drugs. She has traveled to some places nearby, including the capital of her state, a large city of 5 million people.  These experiences shape her opinions even further, and she sees how other people live compared to how she and her family live.  Because everyone she knows is poor, she thinks there is no sense in trying to depend on others to help her.  She should try to earn her own way because that seemed like the most reliable way to make a living and be happy.

Age 19: The Higher Education Bubble has burst.  Dominique is part of a growing trend of young people who wish for more education but have little access to it.  Many universities have closed, the small town where her and her family live is too far away from a large school where she can study, and those which are still open don't have facilities anymore for what she is interested in: bio-technology and engineering. 

Dominique plans out a series of courses and seminars at several trade schools, local community colleges, and from a large West Coast university which has begun career training on the internet.

She knows it will take her several years of working to pay for the classes, but as she learns more and more from them, she will get better and better at her job, earn a bigger and bigger salary, and eventually she will complete her plan.

Age 20: While studying for school, Dominique works at a large city’s police station, doing bloodwork and DNA in the forensics lab.  Her interest in emerging biological sciences prompts her to start a technology blog, and it becomes moderately popular.  The ad revenue contributes to her savings for school.

Age 22: Dominique has worked at several places in the city, including small bio research labs, and as an intern at a tissue engineering research firm.

Age 25: Dominique has completed her plan that she made when she graduated high school.  She moves to a large city on the East Coast to work as an engineering technician.  The lab where she works is funded by a medical company attempting to grow replacement heart valves for disease and trauma patients.  She feels very good about achieving all her goals so far.  She connects with Julia, one of the girls from the town where she grew up.  They miss each other but it is hard to stay in touch because Julia is having a hard time paying for her college loans.

Age 26: Dominique undergoes surgery. It is thankfully paid for by her insurance and by the savings account she had opened for just this sort of thing.  She was glad she had very little debt: only a small loan for her car which she bought to travel with on vacation. She decides to save even more so that she can make investments and have a little on the side in case she needs other medical treatment someday.

Age 28: She has published papers and patents for her tissue engineering research.  Dominique is married to an architect named Howard.. She is happy with her life, but never satisfied, she forms a new plan…

She seeks a job offer from a company which would pay for some genetic engineering courses, and allow her to study something she has thought possible for many years: to synthesize organs genetically tailored for implant to specific patients.  It is a long shot, and she does not have all the experience yet to do it, but with her own savings and from some funding from the new company she works for, she thinks her dream is possible.

Age 30: Dominique and Julia see each other after many years of being out of touch.  Julia is different: she has many stories about the causes she supports and the rallies she has attended, like her concern for equal pay for women, forgiving student loan debt, and free heath care. 

Although Julia never says it, Dominique senses that her friend is resentful that Dominique has left Julia behind in their home town.  Dominique herself is vaguely resentful of Julia for demanding she release her medical technology to the public domain.  Dominique parts ways with her old classmate, never to see her again.

Age 32: Dominique and her husband, Howard, have their first child together.  That year, they take a vacation overseas.

Age 35: Upon the first successful implant of a lung in a human clinical trial, Dominique celebrates with her colleagues, Francisco and Dagny.

Age 40: Dominique and her husband open their own wine and beer tasting room using the proceeds from the sale of her organ implant company.  Over the next several years, Dominique works as a nanotechnology and bio-engineering consultant, helping her husband run the store on the side.  They have many sources of income, including dividends from their investments and royalties from the technology licenses Dominique has given to various medical and tech firms.

Age 55: Dominique and her husband retire with their savings, as social security and all government sponsored retirement benefits have long been abolished.

At her retirement party, Dominique‘s friends and colleagues introduce her to several patients whose lives have been saved by her medical research and product development efforts.

Age 60: Dominique and Howard spend their remaining years and their fortune traveling and spoiling their many grandchildren.  They also found an organization dedicated to the establishment of free market economies in the region where Dominique was born.

By living their own lives wisely and selfishly, heroes like Dominique are a living example to women everywhere.


kmk said...

Much better scenario. I was wondering where those many grandchildren come from , though, if they have only one child?

--mom of 7, who chose yet another path by using her own education to stay home and successfully launch her children

Khandi said...

I was looking for the like button for the comment above. I love that we all have choices right now. The choice of how we get our education, from where we get it, what we do, whether we work full time, stay home full time, or do a combination. In Julie's life her choices are greatly diminished. So sad. I want my children to have all the choices open to Dominique! A much better outcome, indeed.

Texas Teacher

Joe said...

That last sentence should read wisely and selflessly, not selfishly.

Great story though and a perfect counterpoint to the Julia story.

TomB said...

Love it! Its how it used to be and hopefully will be again. Taking responsibility for your own life and choices *should* be a no-brainer. Everything the government touches turns to lead - the sidaM touch.

kmk - re the grandkids: it says they have their first kid at 32, not only :)

Constable Barrios said...

Joe at 5:45 AM... No.. it is intentional. You missed the clues to Atlas Shrugged: "Age 35: Upon the first successful implant of a lung in a human clinical trial, Dominique celebrates with her colleagues, Francisco and Dagny.
" Francisco D'Agosta and Dagny Taggard... And to Fountainhead "...architect named Howard..." So this is clearly a homage to Ayn Rand's objectivism. And one of the cornesrstones is that selfishness is indeed the highest ideal. Nothing incompatible with ethics or even charity AND selfishness.

Seerak said...

I like the positive focus of this one, but someone needs to do a "life of X" (if not done already) where someone gets frustrated and held back by government at every step, using real examples.

Bryan said...

This story is as fantastic (i.e. based in fantasy) as the Life of Julia. There are two critical differences. One, this fantasy could actually happen because the sky only limits governments and not individuals or groups of individuals. Two, it's positive and uplifting! Well done.

Roark Wolfe said...

Thanks everybody. And yes, the selfishness part was VERY intentional.

I can check getting an Instapundit link off my Bucket List!