I have to say, I am continually amazed by what things seem to be handled down via DNA. I’m not talking about hair color or the shape of one’s mouth or even musical ability. I’m thinking here of more intangible things, odd personality quirks that have to be encoded somewhere in our genetic make-up, as they are as individual to families as fingerprints are to each person.
My siblings and I share an identical sense of humor which are equal parts snark, pathos, irreverence and good ol’ fashioned slapstick. Don’t even tell me that it was the socialization of our family dynamics and not genetics because our brand of humor comes straight from my mother. My Dad made up half of that parental unit and he never understood it at all. More than once I remember the four of us, kids and mother, clutching our sides with laughter, unable to contain our hysterics, while my Dad looked on, bemused. It’s genetics, people.
My eldest son and I have started to jog together which, might I say, is the most fun I have ever had exercising in my life. It’s also extremely illuminating about which parts of his genetic soup I’m responsible for. He’s extremely long-limbed (his dad) tall (his dad) and graceful (definitely his dad.) However, he is quietly, fiercely competitive which is totally lacking in my husband’s personality. I’m the one who damn near kills herself every time someone pushing a stroller jogs past running faster than me. Immediately I speed up. I don’t care how hot the weather, how tired I am or how far I’ve already gone, because they’ve just passed me PUSHING A STROLLER. The gauntlet has been thrown. I don’t care if the person pushing it is 22 years old, wearing an Iron man Kona participant tee-shirt and has what seems to be a body fat percentage hovering around 8%, they are PUSHING A STROLLER and I am NOT a Big. Fat. Wuss.
Except that I totally am. Never one to let reality get in the way of my psychosis, I will run faster for as long as I can, until the person and their stroller are just a tiny blip waaaay far ahead on the horizon. A tiny, stupid blip. The first time my 11 year-old son and I went out, he was clearly mortified at the thought of running as slowly as his elderly mother and despite my warnings ran determinedly ahead of me. 20 minutes later, he was doubled over, waving me away and gasping, “It’s okay. It’s only bile.”
Also, I believe that I mentioned how crabby I was when I started running? How I would hurl insults and curt remarks to my husband when he tried to engage me? I was giving clearly excellent advice to my son about his running form when he yelled, “Can we PLEASE not talk about running WHILE WE’RE RUNNING??!!” I’m smiling now, just thinking about it. Ah, the grumpy apple doesn’t fall far from the crabby tree, now, does it?
Sadly, I’ve also learned certain areas where a dose of my DNA might have proven superior, but alas, it is not to be. Here I’m thinking about music. I was trying to help him put together a play list for our runs, but he keeps rejecting my impeccable suggestions. When I mentioned that he should definitely add The Vines “Ride” to his list he said;
“No offense mom, but they’re not really my style…plus that guy looks like there’s something wrong with him.”
Oh, excuse me, DAD. Geez, you put a little eyeliner on a male singer and suddenly his totally perfect, altogether danceable alt rock isn’t acceptable? Whatever, man. Luckily, my eldest daughter has my quirky music gene, as evidenced by her birthday request for the complete Stan Freeberg collection. Which reminds me:
June the harpist and Sam the trombonist went out to a discotheque. Sam’s car wouldn’t lock but Sam knew the owner so they locked their instruments in his office. Having too much to drink, they went back to rehearsal without their instruments. June told the conductor, “I left my harp in Sam’s friend’s disco.”
See? My sister would think that was funny…