Huy Le on Pregnancy, Life Insurance, and Law & Order

Hilarious blogger Huy Le returns:

On Mortality, Existence, Life Insurance, and Ketchup Maggots

When women get pregnant, their partners often have sympathy symptoms. I have gained several pounds and am stricken by occasional mood swings, which can be challenging on the people around me: “I love you guys so much. Get out of my face!” Work has suffered a little because I’ve been distracted (“You guys are such great coworkers. Get out of my office!”)

For the past few weeks, we have been trying not to be like those people who have kids and only talk about their kids, who become extremely boring to their kidless friends. Don’t worry, just because we’re expecting a baby now does not mean that that is all we think about.

We also think about death.

Having our genes continue onward can do a lot to alleviate existential frustration caused by the temporal nature of our being. It also, however, makes it very clear that we could kick the bucket at any moment. So we sat down with a financial counselor to talk about life insurance. Tim is hired by Jameelah’s school district to provide advice to all the staff. We had talked to him earlier about retirement, which was very confusing: “So you want to divide your savings into a Roth IRA, a 403b, and a necrotized IRA. Then, when you turn 64 and a half and the Higgs Boson aligns with Jupiter’s orbit, you can withdraw your money for retirement without penalty.” Luckily for our mental health, we don’t have much money to worry about. If we retire right now, we might be able to live for three months in Mexico before having to work again.

Life insurance is a lot easier to understand, but it is harder to accept because mortality, along with the allowable ratio of maggots in ketchup, is something most of us are in deniable about. “Congratulations on the little one!” Tim said as we sat down with him at a cafe. He pulled out a stack of papers. “For basically about 30 bucks a month for each of you, you get $500,000 in coverage. You can go higher or lower, but I recommend at least half a million.” Jameelah and I had no context for life insurance, except on Law and Order, when one spouse murders the other to get a ton of money.

Tim saw the quizzical looks on our faces. “Basically,” he said, “if one of you dies, you want to be able to cover the bills, the mortgage. It will be painful time for you, and not having to worry about whether you’ll lose your house may be helpful.”

Half a million is an unfathomable amount. “Seriously?” I asked, “gee, what would I do with half a million?” Jameelah glared at me. What, like she’s not thinking of it too.

“You could pay off your condo, put some money into a trust fund for your baby, maybe go on a trip to clear your mind. I know some people who say ‘If my spouse dies, I never want to work again,’ so they get multi-million dollar policies. You want enough to at least cover the basics like funeral expense and your mortgage.”

Immediately, I started thinking, “hm, maybe half a mil is not enough.” But then I thought about Law and Order. “I don’t want any amount that would incentivize spousicide,” I said, looking at Jameelah. She looked back at me, still glaring. “Yeah, definitely not a million.”

We signed the papers to start the process. In a weird way, it is reassuring. It made me feel mature and responsible. “What would happen to your family if something were to happen to you?” I recall one life insurance commercial saying. Now I knew the answer: Jameelah could pay off our condo, our kid would have two hundred grands saved for him for college, and they could go to Disneyland! That might help with the grieving process. I left feeling strangely reassured and hopeful.

“Great,” said Tim as we all got up to leave, “now, you should go and look into making a will, just in case you both die at the same time.”


PS: Thank you to the loyal readers who got Jagged Noodles voted as Favorite Pacific Northwest Blog in the International Examiner’s Reader’s Choice Awards. I love you guys. Get out!


  1. And pick out a guardian for your child(ren) in the even of dual-parent croakage. =3

    1. *event. Typing while slouching is dangerous.

  2. Jameelah and I had no context for life insurance, except on Law and Order, when one spouse murders the other to get a ton of money.


  3. "..along with the allowable ratio of maggots in ketchup, is something most of us are in deniable about." - What??!! Oh, my God! No! Will not believe it. Will not believe it. LOL!!

  4. I'm loving these posts! I can't wait till the baby comes and we get to read about the adorable antics :)

  5. What is the allowable ratio of maggots in ketchup then? :X

  6. Hi everyone. Thank you for such a warm welcome. I've been reading the other posts on the Narrative and have been enjoying the thoughtful discussions.

    Now to answer ChocolageOrchid and jnguyen's concerns about ketchup maggot, "the FDA allows up to 30 fly eggs per every 100 grams of tomato sauces, or up to two maggots per every 100 grams of tomato juice." (Source: http://tinyurl.com/636582u)

    Pondering mortality is depressing, but it might just beat thinking about how many maggots most of us are consuming.


    1. It's about time we heard from you!

      Of all the questions to swing by and answer....

  7. It probably sounds strange, Huy, but the benefits of life insurance and savings were drilled into me from birth. My poor mother was considered a fool in my hometown for "wasting" so much of her money on insurance. It is considered something "white folks do." Thankfully, Mr. H's very first priority when we arrived in Japan was to purchase a huge life insurance policy in addition to the group insurance that came through his job.

    As LeoPrincess pointed out, deciding on guardianship for your children is a must in the event the two of you are tragically taken from this life sooner rather than later. Don't just sign legal documents, also record a living will expressing your wishes. Include additional guardians, if necessary.


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