The Sandoval Signpost (Web edition) is pleased
as punch (diet punch that is) to bring you the humor
and insightful human observations of Daniel Will Harris,
author of My
Wife and Times. —Ed].
By Daniel Will Harris
I have my father's laugh but my mother's sense
of humor. My mother's temperament and my father's temper.
My father's mouth, with my mother's taste.
I think about all this because my birthday is just a week
away, and that always reminds me of where I came from, and
where I hope I'm headed.
See, I think of genetics as "scientific Karma."
We are who we are when we're born—a concoction of the
family that came before us, and hopefully a little more than
just the sum of their parts. While we all make decisions that
define our future, we always make them based on who we were
I mean no disrespect to my parents, both of whom are fine
examples of the human genome, but I do sometimes wonder whether
it was such a good idea for them to mix their genes. I sometimes
feel that before they made me they broke the mold.
I shouldn't complain, because if it wasn't for them I wouldn't
be sitting here typing this, nor would I have ever discovered
the joy of texts. Or trees. Or chocolate for that matter.
And I certainly can't blame them if their genes were a little
like oil and Jello—good ingredients on their own, but
a questionable recipe when combined. This could explain why
I've been called "an acquired-taste." (I just know
they're both going to e-mail me and demand to know which one
is Oil and which is Jello, but it's just a metaphor!)
This could also explain why I am a Gemini. My wife has suggested
that Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde were Geminis, but I just ignore
her. Or I throw things. While I inherited many fine traits,
there are times when my Gemini-like nature makes me feel like
Siamese twins who each want to go different directions.
So when my birthday comes around, I ask myself, "What
am I going to do about me?" I know that sounds kind of
selfish but I can't change anyone else, so I might as well
try to improve myself.
(To balance out any selfishness, I ask people to donate in
my name rather than sending me gifts—this applies to
everyone except close friends and family, who I tell exactly
what I want, just as I've been doing since I was five—it
eliminates those "Oh, wonderful—argyle socks!"
disappointments. As I've said, this year I want a big solar
So I'm going to forgive myself for not being all those things
I'm not, like tall or thin or able to leap tall buildings
in a single bound. And I'm going work on learning to accept
myself for who I've always been—I might as well—I
haven't fundamentally changed since I was five—what
makes me think I'm going to change radically now?
(Once again, my wife chimes in to say I sometimes still act
like I'm five, and she's right. What she doesn't say is that
she acts like she's 16, which isn't necessarily that much
In the end, we're all kind of like the John Malkovich in
"Being John Malkovich." We have countless little
pieces of our ancestors inside us, trying to tell us what
In the ever-present battle between Nature and Nurture, I
always bet on Nature. While parents want to believe that they
can somehow prune their children into little topiary shapes
of their choosing, in reality, kids are who they are, and
parents just need to avoid snipping their little buds off
before they can bloom.
While it may be hard to change yourself, it's easy to change
your web site. You can make it into who you want to be. I
finally feel that it's time to give my own site a face lift,
and I'll let you know who I turn out to be when my site grows
P.S. My wife wishes to state for the record that the above
quotes are what I, the emotional-five-year-old heard, rather
than what she, the 16-year-old, really said. Nya nya nya .
. . blah blah blah.)