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Trick Question

Being against evil doesn't make you good.


Jack Pot has dementia. He can no longer remember new conversations and events, but at least he still recognizes his son.

That would be great news... if Trixie were still her father's son.

~ for Mom, who needn't remember for my love ~

This story is part of the Pride and Positivity event, which encourages readers to donate to any of the following charities:

(This can be read as a sequel to The Third Pony, but stands on its own.)

Chapters (1)
Comments ( 55 )

What's the point of talking to somepony who won't remember what you say?

What's the point of talking to anypony? Everypony is much worse at remembering what you said than it's common to think.

Well, that was some emotional turbulence. Ended... about as well as it could have, I think? Sorry, I'm not sure how to better describe things, or what to really say here; I hope that this story is good for people, though, including you.

Also, at least one thing I can say with more detail:
"That's the third time this week."
I wasn't expecting to find humor in the mix of emotions in a story with that description, but I found that line made if anything funnier by the contrast with its context, I think.

Oh give me a break. I feel like any story that says a character from the show was “trans” the whole time is just an insult to that character. I’m fine with any original Tran characters but labeling any existing ones? Come on. That’s my 2 cents

We serve fan fiction here sir. Stories being able to diverge from canon, heavily at times, is kind of the point. Feel free to dislike it but don't be surprised by it, there are thousands of stories on the site that diverge more wildly than this or that recontextualize huge sections of canon to fit their own purposes. It's standard practice.

I've been on Fimfiction for many years and have written dozens of stories on highly controversial topics, yet I've never seen anypony complain about this sort of thing with anything other than a character being transgender.

It's weird, especially since nopony is forcing y'all to read the story.

Yeah, I debated whether I should leave that in because the humor was so non-sequitur to the mood I thought it might feel out of place. But it's such a Starlight thing to say I couldn't help myself.

Spectacle noisily cleared her throat. "Dear, I think she's trying to say that the present moment is what matters."

Oh you, Trixie. :trixieshiftleft: both of you :trixieshiftright:

In one of the final times I conversed with my mother, she identified my father as her father and I’d become her brother, a vary early variant because she didn’t say anything bad, and they’d held a lot of animosity towards each other since 1945. Within eighteen months of that conversation, she’d progressed through the everyone’s an imposter and people are stealing my money phases, ending up rather vegetative. Even then, it took almost two years for her body to catch up with her mind. The hardest part of this disease, especially for daily caregivers, is to avoid letting the last phases taint all the other memories you have of the person.

Humor plays an important part in relieving and thus resetting tension. I had a bit of a laugh at Trixie’s leap to nihilism (because I didn’t expect that!) and it helped make the line quoted above more poignant.

IAmApe #8 · Jul 16th, 2021 · · 31 ·

Transsexuality is in fashion right now. When the fad is over, the harm done will remain. There's nothing "weird" about having a problem with that, especially when it's put onto a character someone likes.

It's called being transgender. It isn't "in fashion" or a "fad" or a "harm". Every major medical organization recognizes it, and I trust millions of doctors and a mountain of research over the views of random people who haven't educated themselves on the science behind it.

Like most trans people, I've been trans my entire life. I transitioned almost two decades ago. If you think we transgender people are simply going to disappear like pogs or Beanie Babies, I'm afraid you will be disappointed for the rest of your life.

IAmApe #10 · Jul 16th, 2021 · · 29 ·

I didn't say anyone would disappear. The harm done will remain. The people harmed by this fad will have to live with that harm, because it cannot be undone. Doctors and pharmaceutical manufacturers are profiting from hurting people. That profit will also continue beyond the fad, because the lifelong harm being done also creates a demand for lifelong medical care.

i'm sad to see that some transphobes are already coming out of the woodwork to leave comments. sorry you have to deal with people like that :(

this was a wonderful read. it really does feel like we're watching a family moment, with how naturally all of these characters interact with each other.

" Who you were, Trixie. You are not a 'what'," said Starlight, a stern look in her eyes. "If he couldn't handle you being transgender, that isn't your fault. Some things don't have to be anypony's fault."

this line especially. godbless starlight. it makes me happy seeing this all playing out so, naturally, i guess? trixie is already accepted for who she is, by the people she loves. and that just makes me smile :) she truly deserves it.

idk if any of that made sense but oop !!! i just had to leave a comment. thanks for the trans ponies, and a wonderful dialogue about supporting family :heart:

I've worked in both medicine (medical microbio) and psychology (clinical and psychometric testing). Pharmaceutical companies do not make bank on hormone therapy because those drugs are ancient and generics are readily available. Doctors get zero incentives for handling transgender patients one way versus another, and there are only a handful of surgeons who do the surgery so it isn't an industry. You literally have no idea what you're talking about, and you seem to think you're an expert.

The American Medical Association knows a lot more about this than ultracrepidarians with Dunning-Kruger syndrome, and none of this explains why you would call trans people harmful on a pony story you're not interested in. You have issues with gender identity, and that's fine, but it really is odd to make a public statement like that.

I don't want to drag this out, though. There are plenty of stories on Fimfiction you can go enjoy that don't have LGBT themes that make you feel uncomfortable. I really hope you can find something you enjoy reading today.

IAmApe #13 · Jul 16th, 2021 · · 26 ·


ultracrepidarians with Dunning-Kruger syndrome

Is that your diagnosis, Doctor?

Hormones are not the only drugs transsexuals commonly take. And even if all the drugs someone takes are available in generic form, generic drugs are also manufactured at a profit by pharmaceutical companies.

Transsexuality is harmful. Transsexuals are being harmed in ways that cannot be undone.


Doctors get zero incentives for handling transgender patients one way versus another, and there are only a handful of surgeons who do the surgery so it isn't an industry. You literally have no idea what you're talking about, and you seem to think you're an expert.

Maybe not those medications specifically, but they do receive kickbacks and financial incentives for prescribing certain other medications, even if the patient isn't really in need of them. That's one of the reasons the opioid crisis in the US has gotten so bad. It's stuff like that, that gives folks reasons to be suspicious.

Though I'm not trans myself, seeing transphobia and general LGBT hate on display so often in the comments sections on this site makes it hard to use sometimes. I remember when I was like 15 my only experience with enby people was some bad faith videos and people calling them posers. Then I met someone online, and almost one year later, I found out they were nonbinary. Because miraculously, their gender had somehow never come up in conversation for all that time, and I just used they as a default. So I was left with two paths, either "this person is normal and their gender identity doesn't make them any worse a person" or "this person is the worst poser in the world." I went with the former lol. That experience showed me two things, just how harmful rhetoric can be, and that you need to meet and understand someone before you judge them, because labels aren't the core of a person. I dunno if standing on my soapbox in this comment section is just a waste of everybody's time, but I'd implore any users or lurkers "on the fence" or whatever about lgbt issues who might see this to talk with some lgbt people about stuff your both interested in, and take a cultural anthropology class. That sounds weird but the class I took really gets you to see humans in a new light, and it did tackle lgbt people across different cultures

Man, dementia really sucks. Seems like your know your way around it though, did someone you love have it?


I remember when I was like 15 my only experience with enby people was some bad faith videos and people calling them posers. Then I met someone online, and almost one year later, I found out they were nonbinary. Because miraculously, their gender had somehow never come up in conversation for all that time, and I just used they as a default. So I was left with two paths, either "this person is normal and their gender identity doesn't make them any worse a person" or "this person is the worst poser in the world." I went with the former lol.

Honestly, if a lot of the P&P stories were done with that setup, where we get to know about the character first and their status is treated as a minor aspect of their character instead of it being their defining aspect, then the stories might be getting a better reception. I'd much rather read about a character who just happens to be transgender, than a transgender character, if that makes any sense.

I agree completely in the more general case. The pharmaceutical industry is a corrupt mess. (I've worked with two separate psychologists who have used activism at pharma trips to subvert an attempt to approve a crap drug.)

My mother has it right now, and she's still mostly with us. I also have several hundred hours of psychometric testing under my belt and have worked at an Alzheimer center in two different roles in the past. That was a long time ago, though.

This was really painful. And painfully real. Thank you for sharing this.

I think it worked. :)

As usual the transphobes are coming out. Every time I think society has started to advance I’m reminded that people like this still exist.

My opinion on dealing with them? Ignore them. No one continues to talk when they get no response.

Anyways, this was a terrific and moving story, particularly in leas than 2k words! Nice job.

You mean less than 5k words, I assume?

The downvotes don't matter, but it's annoying that I can't fairly judge how well my story has been received with the unusual ratioing happening to some of the trans stories in the P&P event.

Oh, and I'm glad you found something in the story to enjoy. :twilightsmile:

Yeah, I've seen authors do this before. They want to handle (LGBT thing) as a topic, but the story just sort of ends up being a telly author tract where the character is used to represent a concept. It's well-intentioned, but a story needs more than a message—even if your stories are nearly always message-oriented, as mine are. The message has to come indirectly from what the reader pieces together from the events of the story. It's really just 'show don't tell' at a global level.

I was going to say something, but I can't remember what it was. :trollestia:

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Thanks, everypony. I'm glad you were able to enjoy my* story. :pinkiesad2:

* = I mean this in two ways, natch

Well, I suppose this a good example of the opposite of priviledge. Take a situation that's torturous for anyone, and add an extra layer of unbearable.

I expected there to be some debate about Trixie's solution - I'm sorry the discourse has been at a somewhat cruder level.

Meanwhile, certain politicians do massively profit from drumming up anti-LGBT sentiments for easy votes by bigots.

You know... I... this is only loosely related, by during my school years, we had something called a social internship. A few weeks internship, but it had to be in a "social" environment. Christian school, you see, but they actually took this 'helping people' seriously. Anyways, I worked at a nursing home. There was one woman there who had dementia, she tended to sit in a corner until she wanted to walk to another corner, but she wouldn't do it without someone holding her hand because she was scared otherwise. I spent hours walking with her from one corner to the next. Some of the nurses told me not to indulge her... but, why? She wanted to walk someplace else. All I had to do was hold her hand, it calmed her down, she seemed so happy, and it didn't hurt me, so why the heck not? Just, a little piece of contentment from human contact. I couldn't do much else, but I could do THAT.

Sorry. I'm tearing up... anyways, very engaging story, Trick Question. Sorry for all the close-minded people, too.

If more authors understood that, Marvel and DC wouldn't be in the mess they currently are.

For a while now I've had an idea of my own for handling/addressing the topic, but I honestly don't know if my attempt would be all that well received. First, I don't know if I have the actual talent necessary to pull it off. And second, it's less "This is who I am and you'll love me for it!" and more along the lines of "Can you help me?" told from the perspective of a central character trying to sort out a lot of uncomfortable thoughts and topics, with a lot of things left ambiguous for the readers to draw their own conclusions, ranging from what condition the character actually has, to the implication that neither side of the discussion is right or even can be right as they're losing focus on the people themselves.

If handled improperly, it gets to be too much like political/social commentary, rather than being the tale of an individual who needs help, wants help, and is trying to find some semblance of peace and comfort in their lives.

My general advice would be, if you don't know somepony very well in whatever group you're portraying, ask around for somepony in that group to review what you're writing and give you more information.

What a wonderful story.

Dimentia really hits close to home for me. I saw my grandfather slowly fade over the course of years from an active, gregarious man into an unmoving, nonverbal figure in a bed. I was a kid, and I couldn't articulate why it was so difficult to visit. God, I still remember the smell of the nursing home.

It scares me. And when Trixie jumps straight to nihilism, I get that. It's hard not to think that way when you're staring at a death measured in decades rather than moments.

I think you captured the mess of all this perfectly. It hurts so see the sacrifice Trixie has to make for her father, but there's no way to deal with all of this without hurting somehow.

One of the great things about storytelling is its capacity for taking experiences that were painful and turning them, when done well, into things that more than just the one who had the original experiences can learn from and/or be entertained by.

That's a very sweet story. Thanks for sharing it. :twilightsmile:

That's why I'm here, pretty much. :pinkiecrazy:


Learned a new word!

Well, thank you for it. :)

From the bottom of my transgender heart, thank you :3 This story is heartbreaking but wonderful and oh gosh I wanna hug Trixie so bad now

Sadly, in this day and age, it applies to almost everypony. Inundated with information at our fingertips, everypony thinks they're an expert in everything, and only when the limits of their knowledge become apparent do they go running to Google and Wikipedia in an attempt to learn what they're bloviating about—only absorbing the specific facts that agree with whatever random opinion they started with, of course. See also Dunning-Kruger.

I remember a Twitter thread where Nate Silver asked something stupid about the coronavirus, and a guy replied with an answer, and then another guy replied authoritatively saying it was obvious that the first guy was wrong. It turned out the first guy was an epidemiologist who heads up a large and respected laboratory on viruses, but the certainty of his detractor is his own knowledge was pretty much a synecdoche for Twitter as a whole.

Thank you for this story!

only when the limits of their knowledge become apparent do they go running to Google and Wikipedia in an attempt to learn what they're bloviating about

It's pretty much a functional necessity in an information-based society where people are expected to sink or swim on merit. I've gotten (and kept) jobs by BSing my way into them with superficial knowledge, then desperately reading piles of books at night. I'm far from the only one. It's hard to imagine things working any differently.

I'm not saying that modern research isn't an invaluable skill (it's something Jewel looks for when he interviews people, actually). I'm referring to the act of styling oneself as an expert in a subject simply because one has an uninformed opinion that one is irrationally certain is correct, leading to after-the-fact confirmation-biased media searches. This is especially common with politics, because you can always find arguments that support what you want to believe, though those arguments are often faulty.

For an obvious example, religious opponents of the theory of evolution almost invariably do not understand some of the most basic concepts of the theory (e.g., thinking abiogenesis is the same theory as evolution simply because their beliefs disagree with both, and it's their beliefs that they're actually arguing for). This lack of knowledge is because they aren't actually interested in the theory. They're only interested in convincing others that it is incorrect, so they learn only as much as is necessary to see apparent holes they can poke at. This leads to the adoption of already-discredited arguments filled with logical and factual errors, and often a continued inability to see this even after it is pointed out because understanding the errors would require learning more about a theory they don't want to seriously consider.

Trans people have been around for generations. People just ignored them. Take a hike, TERF

The idea of transsexuality is modern, and the idea of "trans people" as a group identity is very recent. The surgical methods used on transsexuals were developed in the 20th century. Hormone replacement therapies (which have beneficial uses but are misused to harm transsexuals) were also developed in the 20th century.

surprise, i guess? people only started paying attention to them recently? and a few centuries ago people thought autistic kids were changelings. What is your point?

I appreciate the support, but please don't engage trolls on the story thread.

My point is that transsexuality is a modern phenomenon.
Nowadays, autistic kids get told they're the wrong sex and given drugs that do severe harm to their bodies.

Transgender identity and autism are not the same thing, and no, autism is not diagnosed as transgender identity.

Sorry, I'm at my limit. You refuse to stop spreading medical misinformation on my stories. I have no choice but to block at this point.

Comment posted by Super Trampoline deleted Dec 23rd, 2021

Let's not do this, especially when somepony has been blocked.

But mooooommmm, dunking on transphobes is fun!

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