Sunday, June 18, 2006

It's All Relative

Today's picture shows a couple of glasses of Picon Bière (beer with a shot of Picon pastis) on a table at the famed Café de Flore in Paris. FFP is not much of a beer drinker but does like this concoction. Beer drinking was something my dad and I shared for years. He doesn't drink much now in a nod to his nine-decades-old liver.

Are we our genes or our experiences? A little of both? On Father's Day, we take the parental units out for brunch. From these people we get our genes. But our experiences reach out in different directions...other people we've encountered, places we've gone, things we've read and seen. FFP's parents have not left the state, I don't think. Except maybe his dad crossed the border to Mexico once, long ago. Maybe. My dad has visited all fifty states of the U.S.A. And Russia, England, Ireland, Wales, Scotland, Germany, Austria, Belgium and Iceland. Still his experiences are different than mine. In spite of thirty years in a technical trade, I'm not always at ease with techonology. But our parents are really at odds with it. Only my (late) mother would try a computer and her struggles revealed the gap of generations. FFP's parents' phone is out of order and we leave a cell phone over there and they seem uneasy about using it. Our dads worked with their hands, though, and understand tools and things that baffle us since we spent our lives in professional jobs.

Still I often observe some of my actions and see my dad's influence...whether his genes or just his influence. And sometimes those actions, the one that seem most like Dad, seem the most beyond my conscious control. Lately, there have been newspaper accounts about genes maybe being responsible for traits like risk-taking. I think that's probably true. I certainly think certain forms of shyness are genetic. Or that's just my excuse. Everyone needs excuses. Even relative ones.

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