If I kept the receipt, can I return my genes?

May 12, 2011

I read this week where scientists have identified a ‘happiness gene’ that “makes people more likely to feel satisfied with their lives.”

And how does one acquire such a jolly gene, you might be asking. We’re born with it.

Just as, also according to the eggheads in the white smocks, some of us are born with a gene that predisposes us to obesity.

Add in the well-known fact that one inherits male pattern baldness and it becomes painfully obvious that something I first declared some four decades ago has now been proven true: It’s all my parents’ fault.

I’m fat, bald and miserable? Thanks, Mom and Dad. I DIDN’T ASK TO BE BORN, YOU KNOW!!

Now that Viking Woman and I have adult children of our own, I tend to look at my own parents in a different light. They are no longer the enemy they once were, what with their intense dislike of all that once defined me: the loud music, the long hair, the buckskin jacket. In fact, my parents long ago ceased to the ultimate force in my life and, instead, settled into a role that makes them more friend than foe.

Living away from my folks for the past 10 years has also given me a new perspective on how much we actually do inherit from our parents, sometimes without realizing it.

I helped set the breakfast table during one recent visit and smiled at the fact Dad likes to have three different cereals on the table, plus some bulk granola. And then, just this morning, I found myself mixing Honey Nut Cheerios and Sultana Brad Buds in the same bowl.

Mom sings to herself as she does the housework. So do I.

Mom also chats to inanimate objects. Not because she expects an answer, of course, but perhaps verbalizing something (“I must remember to read through this pile of newspapers tonight.”) works as a reminder.

I do the same. To the point where Viking Woman no longer responds when she hears my voice. She’s the anti-Pavlov’s dog in that she ignores my words unless I’m staring right at her. That’s because experience has taught her that my “I love you” could just as easily be directed at my iPad as at her.

Does this means, over the years, I’ve somehow evolved into my parents? Oh, God, I hope not.

Because that would mean I’d be appalled at the kids these days, what with their loud, crappy music, inappropriate clothing, disgusting language and over-revved cars.

Bald, overweight people couldn’t possibly be  that miserable. Could they?


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