Not really. A little bit - on Twitter, some people have replied that something like that has happened to them.
Behavioral biologists call what happened to me "extra paternal parenting." EPP for short.
It happens 2% of the time. Which I imagine people think "Oh, this must happen 15% of the time!" I think people feel this must happen all the time. I think that at the point where something is an epidemic is around 2% - one in fifty people. But truthfully, it is considered rare. 2% is a constant throughout history and throughout cultures, because it's considered really risky for women to have extramarital sex. It's a risky behavior. That's why when women do this, they keep it a secret. There have been a few other stories - there was another story like this that I believe TIME magazine ran it, and the writer Danny Schapiro, this kind of thing happened to her. But the song "ALIVE" by Pearl Jam is about this.
In terms of somebody waiting 50 years to talk about this - Eddie Vedder was younger when he found out. How does it go?
Son, she said
Have I got a little story for you
What you thought was your daddy
Was nothin' but a
While you were sittin'
Home alone at age thirteen
Your real daddy was dyin'
Sorry you didn't see him
But I'm glad we talked...
Everybody thinks of it as such a rock anthem. Nobody thought about it as being about anything else at all besides the feeling of being alive.
I forget who pointed it out to me, that that's what that song is about. It was a while ago.
But I think it's not just the story. There's more to it than that. I think what's important is that I've been made whole by it.
It's important that the stories we tell aren't just thrill-seeking. You want to live in a moral universe. Because we really don't live in a moral universe right now, we're living in the "season of scam."
The boogey man of feminism is that being a mother and being a father are very different things. I think it's improved. I think it's getting better. But they say that in the best of circumstances that mothers are telling fathers what tasks they need to do, that mothers make "to-do" lists...It's that essential thing that it takes men nine seconds to do what it takes women nine months to do. It's never going to be the same for men. This is the thing. The one thing you can do is just insist. It's different to be a mother than to be a father. In my experience, fathers don't care the way mothers care. I had two fathers who didn't care nearly as much as my mother cared. I think we've told men that they have to care as much, and there are men who realize that's how it goes, but it's never going to be the same.
It's so difficult to be alive. As soon as you accept that, that life is very hard - people who are expecting it to be easy are in big trouble! It's ALL difficult.