Sandoval Signpost

 

An independent monthly newspaper serving the community since 1988
  My Wife and Times
 
Daniel Will Harris

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].

 

Scientific Karma?

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 born.

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 panel.)

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 more mature.)

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 to do.

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 up.

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.)


My Wife and Times Cover

 

If you would like to read more fabulous stories, you need Daniel Will Harris’s My Wife and Times. The 148 page book contains stories that are conveniently short, perfect for bedtime reading, or between airport friskings. Price: $15 postpaid and is available for purchase online at will-harris.com/schmoozeletter/or on Amazon.com.

 
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