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And you’ve got your father’s eyes; lovely bold eyes

I was talking to Dad today. Dad gave blood today, see.

Dad believes very highly in giving blood. He does it on the exact day he’s allowed to every…whatever it is, three months or something? I don’t know. I’m not allowed to give blood. Because I have mad cow disease, remember? (If you read that – well, the formatting is terrible. I just don’t have time to go back in and fix it. Due to circumstances beyond my control, I am sleepy and need to go to bed, like, immediately. Pardon my rudeness.)

So he was telling me this WHOLE DETAILED STORY. And you guys. YOU GUYS. Listen, it was so like reading one of my blog posts or listening to myself talk. And I was just seriously in tears of laughter.

“So I went to give blood, because it was TIME, and the first lady asked me a whole bunch of questions, and then they sent over this OTHER lady. And she was trying to be my FRIEND. I didn’t want to be friends. I just wanted to give BLOOD. Because that’s what a person DOES. Unless they have MAD COW DISEASE. Because they lived in ENGLAND for like half a YEAR and a person couldn’t even TALK to them because of the TIME difference. So the lady first asked me a bunch of questions and she kept laughing but the answers weren’t even FUNNY. And then she told me to lie down on the table and then she told me my veins looked better when I was on the table. Do you think she was flirting with me? Because she was old and kind of strange-looking. Then she asked if I was allergic to iodine. WHO IS ALLERGIC TO IODINE? Only maybe people in the CIRCUS. So then she said ‘you have to let me rub this on your arm for thirty full seconds.’ That seems excessive. I’ve been giving blood since I was old enough to. I KNOW ABOUT IODINE. Also, did you know when you get old, your blood doesn’t flow as quickly as it used to? I don’t even win awards for the fastest blood anymore. I think my blood is the kind of blood a person has right before they’re about to die. So then she said, ‘are you ready for a little poke?’ NO ONE SHOULD SAY THAT. Don’t TELL someone they’re going to get a poke. DON’T DO THAT. Then she said, ‘ok, you have VERY THICK SKIN!’ and POKED ME SO SO HARD. My feet FLEW OFF THE TABLE. And she said, ‘did I hurt you ha ha?’ and I think that needle was very dull because I have EXCELLENT skin. Then when it was done she said she was sorry she hurt me and I said, ‘I am very tough. You didn’t hurt me. You SURPRISED me, that’s all. Where’s my coupon for free ice cream.” AND THEY DIDN’T HAVE ANY MORE COUPONS. They gave me a coupon for a free oil change at that place where they screwed over your mother that time and we don’t go there because they’re dead to us so I will burn it in the stove. There’s a story for you, now I’m going to go have some cheese. Your mother bought me CHEESE today. CHEESE, Amy!”

This made me think about genetics. And also learned behavior. Nature vs. nurture, if you will. (And also how nice it would be if someone bought me some cheese.)

*Homer Simpson drool*

The things we get from our parents – well, we get lots of things. I have my dad’s eyes and my mom’s face and my mom’s widow’s peak and my dad’s cleft chin and my dad’s feet and my mom’s smile and am built from the waist up like my mom’s side of the family and from the waist down like my dad’s side of the family. So I’m kind of like a Build-a-Bear. A weirdly-shaped Build-a-Bear. (Don’t even ask me where my unruly hair came from. I have no idea who to blame for this nonsense.)

Oh, I want to be this Build a Bear, LOOK HOW FANCY.

But then we start acquiring other traits once we get old enough to learn things. And that’s where it starts getting really interesting. Because we can’t do much about the genetic stuff. I mean, well, I suppose we COULD, if we wanted to spend money on plastic surgery (or, on a smaller scale, hair dye, or something.) But we CAN do something about the learned traits. Or we can do nothing and allow them to become part of us, if we want.

Oh, I like this. Andreas, what do we think of this?

I somehow got very little from my mom (which, as I’ve mentioned, is ironic, as she was my primary caregiver growing up.) I got my work ethic from her, I think (although Dad has a pretty kickass work ethic, too. They’re both pretty worky.) She’s more accepting of the “other” (“other” what, Amy? Other anything. Beliefs, races, etc. Dad’s…more…slow to…um. Be accepting. He does not like things that are different. DIFFERENCE IS SCARY!) I’m kind of trying to think of what else is Mom-influenced and I’m at a loss. Mom and I kind of run in different circles.

Now, I’m not talking about what we LEARN from our parents. Like crocheting or cooking how to change a wiper blade or something. Not things that we’re taught on purpose. I’m talking about things we see and imitate, either consciously or subconsciously.

I might not have gotten much from Mom. Dad, however? Dad and I are sympatico.

We might not agree* (*completely disagree to the point of screaming at one another) on things like politics and women’s issues, but you know how some people are all “ZOMG I AM TURNING INTO MY MOTHER?” Yeah. I’m turning into my Dad. (NO NOT IN A WEIRD WAY. I’m not growing chest hair or something. Wait, am I? No. No, I’m not.)

I like the slippers. Dad TOTALLY has slippers. He says he wants to be buried with them.

Dad is insanely loyal. Dad has a very small group of very close friends for whom he would do just about anything (and has, and would continue to.) Dad’s people’s enemies are his enemies – heaven help you if you cross one of Dad’s friends, because you bought yourself TWO enemies, bub. Dad is sarcastic just about always, except when he’s being sappy. Dad wants a lot of attention but also he wants you to leave him alone. Dad tells these long, convoluted stories (see above.) Dad doesn’t believe in telling people things – not unless they’re for sure. NO COUNTING CHICKENS FOR DAD. (And honestly just about ever. He’s horrified I tell strangers things online. UTTERLY HORRIFIED. Every once and a while I’ll find out something about him and I’ll be all, “WTH? Dad? Why were we not telling me this for like, my whole life?” He’ll shrug and say “Didn’t think you needed to know.”) Dad has very little time for pompous blowhards. (And often makes faces at them behind their backs. Not that I’d ever do that.) (I always do that.) Dad refuses to give people compliments when they’re making that face. You know that face, right? That, “I just got a haircut DON’T I LOOK PRETTY TELL ME TELL ME!” face. Dad will give compliments – but only when they’re genuine and unsolicited. (I refuse to give false compliments. If you hear/see me complimenting something, or you? It’s genuine. Because false compliments are like ashes in my mouth. I hate them so much. They make my soul feel dirty.) Dad is a performer – not onstage, so much, but at parties and in social gatherings and such. He’s the one everyone wants to talk to and he’s the one that’s the life of the party. Thing is? He hates parties and social gatherings and it’s all a front. He comes home exhausted because he’s been acting all night. Dad doesn’t talk to kids like they’re adults with brain injuries – he talks to them like they’re little people. (Watching him and The Nephew is such a joyous thing, I can’t even describe.) If someone he loved once betrays his trust (and it’s an utter and complete trust, the trust we give to our people), they are dead to him. DEAD. (I’ve seen this happen. It’s uncomfortable and it’s not pretty. The other day, one of my friends said, “Oh, Amy’s the best friend ever – but don’t cross her. She’ll kill you with her eyes if she hates you.” I WILL, TOO. Don’t even tempt me. I use mind-bullets. So, yeah, the dead-to-me thing? I do that. I do that, too. And people know. And it PETRIFIES them, apparently. I should probably feel worse about this, and I don’t know that the person saying it meant it as a compliment, but mostly my first thought was, “well, that person shouldn’t have pissed me off. Also, I AM the best friend ever. I’d want me for a friend.”)

You know how you don’t mess with a mama bear? I won’t flat-out TELL you I get all teeth and claws if you think you can mess with my people…but you can draw your own conclusions.

These may not all be NORMAL things, but they’re all things I grew up observing – and I picked them all up. They’re all mine now.

This tickles him to no end. “Oh, I do that!” he’ll say when I act a certain way or do a certain thing. It just utterly delights him. He can’t for the life of him figure out how he’s partially responsible, DNA-wise, for a bleeding-heart liberal feminist who wants to live in a big city and loves theater (he blames the government, of course), but he loves that despite these “flaws,” something of his stuck.

“Of course you don’t give people compliments if they want them that badly,” he’ll say. “That’s just begging. You don’t give to beggars. That just encourages them.”

Or:

“Of course people are dead to you. Listen, if you are friends with someone and they’re your friend, that’s like an unwritten contract. And you don’t break that contract. That’s not something we do. But if that friend does? Well. They’re dead. DEAD. Sometimes they apologize, and I guess you can decide whether or not you want to forgive them. But some things are unforgivable. So they should just not bother, because who talks to dead people? Only people who see ghosts like that douche on that ghost hunter show you’re always trying to get me to watch.”

So when people debate nature vs. nurture and such, here’s my thought.

You pick up things from the people that raise you. Then you can decide what you keep and what you don’t. Maybe it’s that you keep more things from the people you admire? If that’s the case, well, yeah, that works. I admire my dad. I admire him a lot. Most little girls want to be their moms when they grow up; I always wanted to be my dad. (Only with boobs. I wanted to be a lady-version of my dad. Like when Bugs Bunny wore the lady-clothes, I guess.)

I jettisoned (almost immediately) the religion and the political ideology and the small-town-ideals. They didn’t fit in my backpack. And you have to carry that backpack with you through your whole life. You really have to make sure you have enough room for everything.

But I kept a lot more than I threw away in that backpack.

And when I look in the mirror, I might see my mom’s face (mostly) looking back at me, but I see my dad’s twinkle in my eye. And my brain works like his. And I love my friends to the point I’d jump in front of herds of stampeding water buffalo for them, and I tell The Nephew long words like “antiquated” and he laughs and laughs and repeats it which makes my heart sing and if anyone messes with my people I go all Sharks and Jets in my head (and sometimes more – I’m all give peace a chance unless you dare hurt my loved ones, and that is a fact, so probably don’t try it) and I play my personal shit very, very close to the vest. (Yes, I write about stuff on here. The things I DON’T tell you, though. Whoo, boy.)

I’m a lady of a billion weird contradictions. Wouldn’t have it any other way.

So I guess, if you like the blog, even though he’d never admit it and probably wants nothing to do with it?

You’ve got to thank Amy’s Dad.

He’s the original storyteller.

Even though he’s apparently on the way out. Because he’s got slow old-man blood.

(Title from The Story’s lovely “So Much Mine,” which sometimes I listen to and it always makes me melancholy. When I was younger it made me think of myself. Now I’m old and it makes me think of The Nephew. And it’s the CIRCLE of LIFEEEEEEE!)

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About lucysfootball

I'm not the girl with the most cake. Someday. SOMEDAY. View all posts by lucysfootball

34 responses to “And you’ve got your father’s eyes; lovely bold eyes

  • sj

    Thank you, Amy’s Dad! Thank you for my Rosie, who I may not have known all that long, but is a friend I’ve always had I just didn’t know her yet. <3

    Like

  • elaineaxten

    i think you need to acquire the series ‘miranda’ by whatever means necessary. i’ll wait…

    Like

  • blogginglily

    I feel like your dad’s paragraphs would be shorter. I’m not saying the STORY, necessarily, I’m saying the paragraphs.

    I don’t give blood anymore. The blood people used to come to work and take my blood away in a van, but one day while they were sucking my blood out my arm in the big warm sack that hangs by the chair, I started feeling all woozy…and loopy…and a little nauseous, and they stopped sucking my blood out of me and instead gave me apple juice and a cookie or something and made me lay back in their reclining chair for a half hour until I felt better.

    And I felt like Lestat must have felt when Marius made him a vampire, except I didn’t develop any superhuman abilities (like the kind you get for hypermetabolizing).

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  • becomingcliche

    I can’t give blood, either. It makes me sad sometimes because my husband is too afraid of needles to do it.

    I am totally turning into my mom. Completely.

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  • Kris Rudin (@krisrudin)

    Thanks, Amy’s Dad, for the good stories and for passing on the story-telling gene/talent to Amy! :-)

    As for mom v. dad inheritance – I, too, look more like my mom, but act more like my dad. Mom was a total worrier and was REALLY into saving money. Dad? Mr. Lasseiz-faire about everything, especially money. I’m TOTALLY that way. I also like fast cars & driving winding roads, and I’m a killer map-reader/navigator. Interesting, because I admired my mom a TON – she had a BS in chemistry (earned in the 40’s!!) and worked in a medical lab. I wanted to be a scientist, because of her. But, I think, personality-wise, I’m definitely more like dad, which seems odd.

    Also? I can’t give blood, either. TEENY-TINY veins can’t produce blood fast enough. This was a huge downer for me during my starving college days when I wanted to be a plasma donor for the $$ and they rejected me! ;-)

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  • Andreas Heinakroon

    I wanted to comment on this yesterday, because I’ve got SO MANY THINGS to say, but family life and sleep got in the way. And now I’m all hungry for breakfast. Starving, in fact.

    I will comment though. Rely on that. In due time.

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  • Andreas Heinakroon

    Ok, this is now due time. Now, where to start? Ah, yes: the nature/nuture of human development graph. It seems to state that evolution will determine our genetic setup, which – together with our experience make up the current individual. This could be true, if by current individual (organism) we mean the psychological individual and not the physical. The combined experience and genetic setup would then – together with the current situation – trigger our behaviour. Which is also correct. This behaviour would then affect the evolution of the organism. Well, that is sort of true. Our behaviour will affect the evolution, but it´s more complex than that. But on the whole I could go with this representation of human behaviour/character development.

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  • Andreas Heinakroon

    Me and Fiancée have had the same nature/nuture discussion for almost 20 years now. She recons it’s mainly genetics and I that it’s mostly learned behaviour. Over the years the arguments have mellowed somewhat, and we’ve conceded that it’s probably a mixture of the two. Nowadays we mostly argue about to what extent a trait is either genetic or learned.

    But back to your post: the traits that you claim are learned I would probably say are inherited – at least in part. Watching Baby Girl growing up (and now also Baby Boy), I see numerous character traits appearing very early on in their development – way before I would expect them to be able to pick up on their parents’ behaviour. (And yes, I know: I’m switching sides to favouring genetics. The irony is not lost on me.)

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    • lucysfootball

      You have known Fiancée for 20 years? Whoa, Andreas, that is a very long time! I had no idea! I am so impressed! I’m trying to think who I’ve known for 20 years. Two friends, I think, and that’s it. Well, and obviously my family members, but that hardly counts.

      You’re probably right – The Nephew does some things that are probably more genetic than learned. There’s no way that kid was that stubborn just from watching the adults in his life. That’s straight from his DNA. (Poor kid. He never stood a chance. BOTH sides of his family are the most stubborn! Although it gets him in trouble, it’s kind of a joy to watch a very small child just dig in his heels and say “NO NO NO!” with such conviction, I have to admit.)

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  • Andreas Heinakroon

    The backpack reference – is that from Up in the air? You know, with George Clooney? That’s a really good film. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1193138/

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    • lucysfootball

      Not consciously, but apparently my subconscious brain remembered it from when I watched that and stole it! You have a much better memory than I do.

      I loved that movie. Both Vera Farmiga and George Clooney were wonderful.

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  • Heather

    I am the spitting image of my mom–both physically and personality-wise. It is uncanny sometimes. And my mom is becoming more and more like her mom. I’m pretty happy with all of this. :)

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    • lucysfootball

      I’m a lot like my dad’s whole side of the family. When we all get together, we have the best time. We’re so much alike. Genetics make a lot of sense when you hang with the Amy’s Dad side of the family, that’s for sure.

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  • Mer

    Thank you, Amy’s dad for her beautiful, fierce loyalty!

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