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Selling Used Pregnancy Tests?

I love the Internet. I do. God bless that sprawling cyber jumble of eclectic digi-data. Today alone I used the dub-dub-dub to figure out what the hell is going on in Syria, to satisfy my curiosity about whether pigs can swim (yes! I saw the video!), and to find a synonym for uncouth (see crass, below).

And yet … I have to be the Cantankerous Person Born Before 1980 here and point out that having an information free-for-all at my fingertips also serves as a daily reminder that the world as we know it is coming to a crass and unattractive end.

The latest evidence: Pregnant women across the nation are posting ads on Craigslist offering to sell positive pregnancy tests to anyone who, um, needs one. No joke. They’re peddling used plastic wands bearing the little blue plus sign or parallel pink lines in the tiny indicator window — and they’re asking $20 to $40 a pop.

“I will provide the positive test and deliver to an agreed-upon public location,” read one last week.

“This will NOT be a dollar store test,” assures another — a label snob. “Will be either Clearblue, First Response, or e.p.t. Let me know!”

Some of the ads offer suggestions for precisely how to use the sticks to your advantage:

“Wanna get your boyfriend to finally pop the question? Play a joke on mom, dad, or one of your friends?” asked a New Jersey seller.

“Make his heart stop, his jaw drop, make him buy a ring,” instructed a Texas mom-trepreneur, “then roll on the floor laughing when you break the truth to him.”

“I don’t care what you use it for,” confessed a New York mom. “It’s not my business.”

Of course not. Her business, and that of her fellow fertility-flaunting opportunists, is making a few bucks by urinating on a stick and selling it to devious strangers.

Now, I applaud ingenuity. And I appreciate that times are tough. I also understand that the prospect of a growing family can make gestating females fret for their financial futures. But there just isn’t a benign reason to buy a used pregnancy stick — and so there isn’t a decent reason to sell one. (And let me say right here that if you need to pay cash money to buy something that’s been peed on by a cash-strapped Craigslist loiterer in order to coax a laugh from a loved one, you must put down this column immediately and go cross “sense of humor” off your list of personal assets.)

“It isn’t my business what you choose to use it for,” wrote a seller in Los Angeles. “And I am not responsible for the outcome of it’s [sic] use.” (I added the [sic] because of her improper punctuation, but I rather like the way it fits into that sentence, too.)

I wrote to this woman — who hadn’t had any takers yet — and asked what she thought someone might do with such an item. “Tricking a guy into marriage would be the number one reason I could think of,” she replied, insisting she had no qualms about contributing to such a nefarious plan. “Hey, their reasoning isn’t my problem. Can’t be mad at the supplier.”

And I’m not mad. I’m just … sort of sad, really. Because having been a pregnant woman myself once or twice, I know that when you have a human growing inside of you, you can’t help but hope for a future that’s safe and sane and sensible. You can’t help but visualize and even try, in small but inspiring ways, to contribute to a world where people relate to one another with dignity and empathy and courtesy.

So naturally, it’s disappointing to discover that the mothers of tomorrow’s leaders are busy laying the foundation for a future fueled by midstream samples.

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