Tuesday, July 26, 2005

The Perils of Heredity

We get a lot of unwanted baggage from our parents. Most of it manifests itself in subtle ways; hair color, build, food preferences… But others are more serious and easily recognized by non-family members; a pointy nose, no arms, a wild temper or that nagging guilt over voting democrat.

But I’ve been pretty lucky. I’ll take the nose, build and guilt over other things that heredity could have thrown at me any day. Other things like horrible physical deformity.

After all, we can’t choose our parents. And we don’t choose to gain weight primarily around the middle.

Now, before I go any further, I’m not saying that we should ban certain people from breeding. That would fly in the face of our fundamental inalienable human rights, wouldn’t it? If we started prohibiting people with disabilities to reproduce, no matter what the reason or severity of their deficiency and likelihood that it’ll be passed on to their offspring, then it would only be a matter of time before we stop letting people breed simply because their asses are too flat.

Not that there aren’t already too many assless kids in this world, mind you.

But I do believe that certain people should give more…consideration…to their future child’s well-being before they spawn an unholy monster-child from their loins.

For those of you who don’t know, this is Jack “President” of the Jack in the Box restaurant franchise and star of many hamburger-hawking commercials.

I was watching the latest Jack in the Box restaurant commercial on television the other day. It showed Jack’s son (who I can only assume, because of his father's upward-mobility and vanity, is named Jack Jr.) involved in a spelling bee along with his classmates.

Now, Jack Junior has the same physical…”uniqueness”…as his millionaire daddy. He’s a horrifying mutant combination of ball and boy.

Back to the spelling bee.

The word is “ciabatta.” A special type of Italian bread. Luckily for Jack Jr., his father has just rolled out a new sandwich that happens to be made on ciabatta bread. If Jr. got the word wrong, no doubt he would be harshly reprimanded by his father, possibly disowned.

But Jack Jr. doesn’t get the word wrong. In fact, he gets it so right that he puts in a little flair, spelling it “C-I-A-B-A-double T-A…Ciabatta!” And then flashes a self-aggrandizing peace-sign that would make any arrogant half ball/half man-father happy.

But something struck me about Jack Jr. and his classmates. The other kids in the class seem to be a bit…well…stupid.

Ciabatta is pronounced with a “ch” sound at the beginning. All of the other kids spell the word wrong, but not one of them chooses to misspell it in the most logical way, with a “c-h.”

And then I came to a heartbreaking realization.

Jack Junior is in the “special” class.

He’s smart sure, he’s personable and he even has a healthy ego, given the circumstances. But it seems that the school officials weren’t willing to put Jr. in with the rest of the school, no matter how much money Jackie’s father has. It would be too much of a distraction for the other “normal” kids.

And I have to agree. It would be awkward to have Jack Jr. in my 5th grade class. I would spend all day staring at his gigantic head and thinking about hamburgers.

It’s nice to see that Jack Sr. understands. He supports his son no matter what. He’s a proud ball-daddy.

I wonder if Jack’s in-laws are as supportive. Jack’s wife is a hot blond lady. She is “normal.” I can only assume that her parents are also normal, since this particular genetic anomaly seems to be a dominant trait for anyone who carries it.

Did Jack’s wife’s parents want her to marry Jack? Were they at all concerned about their future grandchildren? Did they spend sleepless nights agonizing over the best way to voice their concerns about Jack’s “condition” to their obviously love-struck daughter?

Who knows?

These are the things I think about.

I need a job.

Fun Fact: I have a problem with Oklahoma. The “sooner” state. There was a high school senior girl on the news this morning with Spina Bifida. She is from Oklahoma and more than anything wants to go to Oklahoma University, so Matt Lauer surprised her with a scholarship.

Great. OU students are also called “sooners.”

So what is a sooner and why do I have a problem with Oklahoma?

A sooner was a person who snuck ahead of other settlers in the land rush of 1889, staked claims to great land without competition and through an opportunistic disregard for the land run rules, cheated many other people out of a fair chance to claim prime property.

So why is Oklahoma so proud of the sooners? Because they’re jerks, that’s why. Why are they the “Sooner State?”

Because they refuse to call themselves the “Bunch of Dirty Cheaters State.”

Which they are.

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