As much as we all like to think of ourselves as wholly unique individuals, we’ve all got traits handed down from our parents. If they aren’t personality-based, they’re genetic — a certain expression, a verbal tic, the color of our eyes — there’s no escaping it. Maybe you could argue with a stop sign, just like your mom. Or sell a ketchup popsicle to a woman in white gloves, same as your pop.
It’s ironic, really, considering how many of us spend our teen years vowing, “I will never be like my mom or dad.”
With Mother’s Day behind us, and Father’s Day right around the corner, we polled our staff to see what traits trickled down the gene tree. The answers did not disappoint…
Walking through a grocery store or eating in a restaurant with my significant other, I will interrupt any and all conversation to belt out the words of the song that’s playing. If I know the words, all bets are off for a serious talk. My dad always did that and it drove me insane. Walking through the mall I’d be trying to tell him a story and he’d be five steps behind me wailing “She’s Gone” by Hall and Oats.
A Hermitical Disposition
When I was younger, I loved going out and doing things. Movie theaters on opening night, comic-book stores on Comic Book Day, and live music just about anywhere. You name the (non-sports) event, and there’s a good chance I was into it. Then, somewhere along the line, something changed. Today, I write this as a guy who has recently ignored 17 voicemails, 35 text messages, uncountable emails, and anyone who comes to my door that isn’t holding a pizza.
Thinking back, I remember early on in college I visited my father at his old farm in rural Nebraska. Sitting around the living room one day, a neighbor’s truck (“neighbor” meaning they lived one or two miles away) started making its way down his driveway. My dad dropped everything he was doing, told my stepmom to make up some story, any story, about why he was too busy to visit, and hid himself upstairs until he saw the neighbor leave.
It took a few years, but that acorn never really fell that far from the tree.
When the internet first came into being, my father immediately began wasting hours of his free time reading forum chats and other proto-Reddit websites. A technical writer by profession, he quickly converted this wasted time into paid time. Over 20 years later I’m doing the same, but instead of creating technical manuals, I’m writing about cat videos.
Well, I’m just like my father in that I’m a hard-headed, stubborn, dreamer. Also, we both ended up being alcoholics. So, there’s that (I’m dealing with it). And I’m like my mother in that I’m nothing like my mother. Seriously — I’m nothing like my mom, and she’s nothing like her mom. Hopefully no one in my family reads this.
The “Mom” Of The Group
For starters, I’m my dad’s slightly shorter, bearded clone. So I got some good genes from the guy. My mom must have handed down her very unique personality to me during some kind of pregnancy osmosis type deal. I didn’t realize how much we had in common until I got to college and basically became the designated dad (or mom?) of my group of friends. I was always the one checking on everybody and getting the “I made it home” texts.
My dad and I have the same laugh. When we really get going, it becomes a wheezy, silent shake. Plus, we both think that Tommy Boy is the greatest comedy of this or any time.
My mom passed on her love of reading. No one likes to talk books or history with me quite like she does, so that’s been a real gift for our relationship.
I’m most like my parents in that I’ll hang onto stuff well past the point I should. “But it might be useful!” is my refrain. This is why I still have the little screwdriver that shipped with my TV for the sole purpose of attaching the base to the screen.
In my defense it’s a pretty good screwdriver. It’s got a rubber grip and everything!
So, how are you like your parents?