(This post is going to have an odd beginning. I hope you’ll stay with me because I do have a point, it just doesn’t happen until later!)
A couple of weeks ago I was getting my hair done. I drive over 45 minutes back to my hometown to get my hair done every five weeks. A little bizarre, I know, but it makes perfect sense. Men may not understand barber loyalty as well as women. Most women I know have had the same hairdresser for years. When I moved from said hometown to current address, I changed my general practitioner, got a new dentist, new mechanic, everything. But I refuse to change my hairdresser. First of all, I could never find someone who does what she does (cut and weave and brow wax) for the price she charges (too low mention!) and secondly, I don’t want to change. She knows me. She knows my hair grows faster behind my left ear (it’s true!) and that I need extra color every other month at the spot above my right eye where I get a little stripe of gray. Funny thing about Linda is she also cuts my mom’s hair. Because she cuts my mom’s hair, she also cuts my dad’s since he doesn’t like to do anything without my mom. Every other time she goes in, he grumbles and sits in the chair so Linda can cut his hair.
(Hang in there! My Point still coming!)
So, Linda does my hair, my parents’ hair and also my sister’s if she is ever in town at the time she needs her hair done. Because Linda is this close to my family and our hair, she knows that I have inherited the delightful trait from my parents of premature gray hair. My mom would be completely white without Linda, my dad is totally gray, and my 33 year-old head is in the not-so-early stages of suffering the same plight. In fact, I’ve been covering up gray with some form of color since age 16. Thanks Mom and Dad.
(Congratulations! You’ve made it to My Point!)
Have you ever noticed that when we have a particularly annoying trait or feature about ourselves we always laugh it off and say, “Thanks _____!”, filling in one or both of our parents’ names? Why do we do this? Do we actually believe that our parents are responsible to the point of blame for our physical appearance and personalities? Or do we do this to somehow excuse our own behaviors/shortcomings and therefore transferring the blame to someone who realistically, has no control whatsoever over said behavior/shortcoming?
When pondering this question, I get a picture of my parents dressed in white lab coats, hunched over a glowing petri dish in a lab with bubbling graduated cylinders all around. My mad scientist mom and dad hold pipettes and in hushed voices argue over my genetic makeup.
Mad Scientist Mom: Give her my eyes and your height!
Mad Scientist Dad: Do we give her the premature gray hair?
Mad Scientist Mom: No, we already gave her zero coordination!
Mad Scientist Dad: But we also gave her high intelligence.
Mad Scientist Mom: You’re right. The premature gray balances it out. Do it.
This scenario suggests that our parents are working together to balance out the genetic makeup. To create a child with equal parts of the two parents and equal parts of good and bad. It is fair. They want to create the best possible person with what they have to work with. I’m sure many of you with siblings know that this isn’t always how it works out. Ever heard “Yeah, she got the brains in the family!”? In my family it was always about skin. My dad’s olive, easily-tanned skin was coveted whereas my mom’s fair skin which burns in the shade was a curse. This is when I picture my parents as witches.
Mom has a pointy witch hat and a cape. They are bending over a bubbling cauldron and cackling wildly when deciding my genetic fate. Bats are flying around and a big pile of weird genetic traits are thrown into the brew soon to be their offspring.
Witch Mom: And now an eye of newt, so that her eyesight will be poor and she will run into things in broad daylight!
Witch Dad: Excellent! And one beaver tooth to ensure that her teeth be bucked and crooked.
Witch Mom: Perfect! A horse hoof should guarantee her bunions and don’t forget the pile of grass and cat hair!
Witch Dad: Of course - for the allergies! Last but not least, the hair of a nanny goat so she'll go prematurely gray.
Witch Mom: And now for the magic words!
Bibbity Babbity Bobbity Boo
Everything about you is inside this brew
Bobbity Babbity Bibbity Bee
You’ll talk about this in therapy!
Of course this isn’t the correct scenario because our parents love us and would never intentionally do something to put us into therapy. If we know even a little about genetics we know the real story which is there’s not a damn thing we can do about any of it.
Genetics is a roll of the dice. A crap shoot. A spin of the roulette wheel. Uh oh, I feel another vision coming on. Mom and Dad at a casino with a big bucket of nickels. Well, my parents did spend their honeymoon in Reno...
Gambler Mom: The wheel's spinning! All right! She got a good sense of humor!
Gambler Dad: I'm going to try again. Maybe she'll be charming and charismatic.
Gambler Mom: You got it! Wait to go, honey! Try just one more time! She could get a sparkling wit.
Gambler Dad: It's risky. Are you sure? Charming and charismatic is pretty fantastic.
Gambler Mom: What the heck! Go for it!
Gambler Dad: Okay, here goes. Oh crap. Sarcastic and goofy. Nice try. Let's go see how we do on hair.
Gambler Mom: Good idea. I'm feeling really lucky about hair!