Good Genes

You never know what you're going to get, genetically speaking. Sometimes, it feels like you could as easily roll the dice and build your own person, Dungeons & Dragons style, as be born with your own particular characteristics.

(See? There are some advantages to being married to a geek - analogies you'd NEVER have come up with, otherwise!)

As I, and everyone around me, ages, I've noted we're all getting into that weird phase where we lament getting older and start talking about the bad stuff we've inherited - wide feet, poor eyesight, bad skin, baldness - whatever. Isn't it funny that so few of us attribute the good stuff to our genetic inheritance as well?

Take my mom, for instance. (That's her, in the picture.) She's a smoker. She's been one since she was 16, and while she's cut back and doesn't smoke in either her house or car (she sits on a stool in her garage when she "needs a break"), she still puffs a few every day. She also has absolutely no intention of quitting. (This was a deal she struck with her charming and exceptionally sexy primary care physician - if she would cut down to six cigarettes a day, he'd stop nagging her to quit.)

"When you get to be my age," she says sagely, "life is all about little pleasures. And I happen to love smoking."

The thing is, after rarely exercising, smoking for 50-plus years, and until recently (coincidentally at just about the same time that Dr. Sexypants came into the picture) refusing to invest actively in checkups and proactive healthcare, she's outlived almost everybody in her familial and social circles - and is vibrant and still going strong.

Not only that, she looks amazing, as the admiring gazes from grocery store geezers and my hopeful / envious friends will attest. All I gotta say is: Gimme some o' that.

But that's thing. The good stuff doesn't get doled out in an egalitarian fashion. One person gets it all. Another gets thumped with the Stick o' Health, the Club o' Smarts - and the Hot Poker o' Alcoholism. The next? Ugly Stick, Ugly Stick, Financial Wizard.

We may not get to choose - but we can sure as hell hope. As for me, I'm now at the point where good health is the number one most coveted trait I'm hoping to have inherited. I guess that shows some maturing on my part: 20 years ago, I would've said boobs.


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I am a writer and lazy artist who loves travel, architecture and design. Right now, I'm into photography. My fabulous husband (a.k.a. The Varmint) and I are also the principals of a San Diego-based creative agency - and new parents to the divine Baby Mak. Read More >