Sue gently held John’s hand as he nervously scratched the back of his neck. The two of them had been sitting in a bright, sterile room for what seemed like an eternity waiting for Doctor Raymond to discuss the analysis of the baby growing in Sue’s belly. With her free hand, Sue almost continuously stroked at her five months pregnant belly, daydreaming of the years to come with Michael, or maybe it would be Richard, or Nathan. She still had no idea what to name her baby boy.
Finally, Doctor Raymond calmly walked into the room with a stern look on his face. Analysis of the unborn had come so far in the previous few decades. John could hardly fathom what it must have been like when his grandparents had children, having no idea what they would be like. It seemed like having a child was like playing a casino game; all you could do was roll the dice and hope for the best. When John’s grandmother was pregnant, she had no way of knowing if she might be about to give birth to a serial killer, an alcoholic, a lunatic, or any sort of garden-variety useless eater.
Finally, a time had come when an accurate test could predict if the child Sue was carrying might be a drag on society. It was just like in the classic science fiction movies, but it was all for real! Sue and John literally lived in someone else’s imagined future. How exciting!
Sue and John would receive a detailed report electronically, but in the meantime, Doctor Raymond stoically placed a folder full of papers on the table in front of them. “I have good news”, he said with a stiff upper lip. All indications are that your child will not grow into a criminal or a lunatic or suffer from any sort of developmental disorder.
“You don’t seem very excited”, John replied. “The look on your face tells me that there is something I need to know.”
Doctor Raymond lowered his head slightly. “Well, actually, I didn’t want to tell you this, but I can tell that there is no keeping secrets from a man like you who spent years serving our Fatherland in the Elite Forces. Your son will grow into a man totally unlike either one of you.”
Sue raised her eyebrow. “How… what are you talking about, Doctor?”
“I’m not even supposed to tell you this, but given your stature and connections, you may already have some clue. Our hospital has been participating in cutting-edge research where we hope to be able to predict a baby’s future in much more detail very soon. We ran our experimental analysis on your child. This being brand new, we can’t promise that it’s completely accurate, but we have great confidence in our developing ability to tell you what your child’s personality will be like. The ramifications of this research are so far-reaching that the Biological Sciences Committee may never allow it to be disclosed to the general public. A person with your background can be trusted to use this technology wisely, but can you even begin to think of the ramifications if every Tom, Dick, and Harry had access to this sort of technology?”
“Forget about the Biological Sciences Committee! What do you know about our child?” John impatiently queried.
“John, when you enlisted in service of our Fatherland, you took a large battery of tests to determine how you could most effectively serve. One of those tests was the Myers-Briggs Personality Inventory: an old test, but a very well time-tested one. Your medical records indicate that you are an ESTJ, also known as a ‘Commander’.”
Sue seemed as if she had mentally left the room from boredom of all this talk about secret research and whatever. She was just excited that she would be a Mommy soon, but John’s eyes lit up. “You can’t possibly mean… We thought it was impossible… It’s can’t really be that…”
“Yes it is, John. We are 99% confident that your child is will be an INFP, also known as an ‘Idealist’ or a ‘Healer’; basically, the complete opposite of you in all four dichotomies. I thought you might be excited. We certainly are, and this is just the beginning. By the time your child is old enough to have children of his own, we may very well be able to map a man’s destiny even in utero! Just imagine the possibilities!”
“It’s been so long since I’ve studied anything about Myers-Briggs. Please tell me about what my child might be like.”, John asked. Sue suddenly snapped to attention at the suggestion that she was about to learn about Michael or Nathan or whatever his name might be.
“Well, it’s like this… Michael, that was the name you’re thinking of, right? Michael is likely to be internally focused with a very rich and complex inner life. He may prefer intuition over rational thinking. And his intuition, it’s a bit hard to say… his intuition is likely to be based on sifting every fact that enters his mind thru his value system.”
“Value system?” John interjected.
“Um, yes. You see, INFPs tend to be very principled and idealistic, often abandoning things that others would prioritize in order to follow the principles they ascribe to. Sometimes, they even come across as apathetic until they feel that their principles are being violated.”
“That’s good to know,” said John. “I will make certain to give Michael a proper education emphasizing the Three Pillars of Proper Thinking that undergird the Social Harmony so many take for granted. After working so hard in service of our country, I’ll make sure that my service continues thru Michael.”
Doctor Raymond continued. “That’s well and good, but the other thing that you must understand is that INFPs tend to be very deeply sentimental and empathetic people. Sometimes, they have to be careful not to take on other people’s struggles as their own.”
“That’s also good to know,” exclaimed John. “I’m so glad that by your research, Sue and I can help Michael avoid dangerous pitfalls as he travels the road of life. I definitely wouldn’t want Michael to be distracted from his service to our Fatherland by thinking all the time about what is happening to other people and how they feel. How disastrous that would be!”
“It isn’t so simple, John. INFPs tend to be very mindful of how other people feel. Combining this with their profound sense of empathy, they tend to hate being involved in conflict and when they must face conflict, they tend to seek out a solution that they feel is good for everyone involved.”
“Well Doctor, there’s got to be something I can do about that. How can Michael possibly thrive in the Elite Forces if he is preoccupied with mushy gushy feelings and all that rubbish? That sort of thinking and behavior might be acceptable from a preteen girl, but an adult man would need to grow out of it!”
“John, please don’t be so hard on Michael, who hasn’t even been born yet! Many successful people are INFPs. For instance, William Shakespeare, one of the greatest writers who ever lived was an INFP. Hayao Miyazaki was, too, and his films have moved me to tears.”
John interjected, “Raymond, you’d better not preoccupy yourself with these old-fashioned artists. Their quaint preoccupation with love, friendship, and imagination is totally out of line with Proper Thinking we need from our citizens today. The Central Development Committee is making plans to stamp out this nonsense because it does not serve our Fatherland in any way. We all have a purpose and a role to play and we must all accept it for the greater good if we are to survive as a nation.”
“John, that’s what I’m trying to get to. Michael has a critical purpose and a role to play, and with your guidance, Michael can find it. I would have to check my books again to tell you more particulars, but many of our school teachers are INFPs, and you know many of your fellow service-members are returning from the war with mental illness? Many of our professionals in this very hospital who provide valuable therapeutic counseling to them are INFPs. John, you need not worry. Michael is cut out to be of great service to the Fatherland, just not in the exact way that you have been, and that’s okay. Please relax.”
“Don’t tell me what is okay and don’t tell me to relax, you old oaf!”, John retorted. Sue’s face turned red as a beet as she tried to process everything she was hearing. John continued, “We have a long tradition of manly service to our Fatherland in our family going back all the way to its founding after the Great Calamity, and I’m not going to let some half-wit in a white coat tell me that I’m the last man in my bloodline who has the stones to splatter a savage’s intestines upon a rock!”
“Well, that’s the other thing, John. Michael is going to grow up to be his own man and he will have to find his purpose. With your dedication, I can’t imagine you would steer him in the wrong direction. And besides, the war with the savages won’t last forever, and then what of your manly service to our Fatherland? Besides, INFP men often come across as less masculine than their counterparts in other Myers-Briggs types.”
John’s lower lip slightly quivered and his face turned a beet-red color to match Sue’s. “I’m sorry, Doctor. You must understand that I wasn’t planning to hear all of this and I had no idea what I was going to hear today. The bottom line is that I’m not going to raise some hippy man-boy faggot. Now tell me that there is something we can do to make things right for Michael so that he can have the future he deserves.”
“I’m sorry, John. I know you’ve worked very hard and sacrificed so much for our Fatherland and our people. Your fellow citizens owe a greater debt to you than they will ever know.” Doctor Raymond sighed audibly. “You’re going to have to start all over.”
“Yes, I will call one of our surgeons to take care of this”, Doctor Raymond replied.
Sue cast her gaze down wistfully upon her belly. No one had asked what she wanted, but she knew it was useless to argue with John. “Please tell the surgeon to make sure that I stay comfortable during the procedure.”
Doctor Raymond smiled mechanically. “You won’t feel a thing.”