“Nick!!!” she yelled up at me.
“What?!?” I yelled back down.
“You need to come listen to this, right NOW!” came the response to my delaying tactic.
I slid the keyboard back and sighed as I stood up from the desk, it was just a dumb video game anyway. I glanced over to the webcam still open and linking our home with my mother-in-law’s remodeled garage. “I’ll be right back,” I said to no one in particular.
I tromped down the stairs two at a time, swinging my body around the landing halfway down and practically crashing into the couch opposite the bottom of the stairway. In the kitchen stood my [now ex] wife, trying to negotiate with my daughter the terms and conditions of Sarah’s surrender to the unwanted task of eating her lunch.
“Do you know what she said to me?” Heather asked. “She doesn’t want cheese on it. You tell your father why you don’t want cheese on it!” I could now see the smile hidden in the corner’s of Heather’s mouth. This wasn’t an argument, this was a joke; probably at my expense.
Sarah looked at me defiantly, but it was her mother that she was determined to foil. Heather saw the look in Sarah’s eyes and turned to face me. “She said she doesn’t like MELTED cheese. I blame you!” at this point Heather was openly grinning, and I got the joke.
Years ago, my little brother had developed some unusual food preferences. The most baffling was a staunch rejection of melted cheese. Not based on the taste of cheese, but rather, some unusual opposition to the sensation of melted cheese. If the meted cheese was sufficiently mixed in with other textures, he was fine; if not then he would simply refuse.
Now, to be fair, he’d LONG since outgrown this particular aversion…so much so that either of the times that Sarah met him, I’m quite sure that he’d never mentioned it, even in passing. So this wasn’t environmental, this…this was inherited. And that was the joke. Clearly, this was something wrong on MY side of the family. Some broken bit of genetics passed on through me to our daughter.
Having lost one child to genetic defects, Heather and I had a certain shared dark humor in making “genetics” jokes. How this trait or that trait was “my fault” or “her family’s genes.” In fact, “those are your bad genes” had become something of a running joke; which only made the following few moments so much funnier…
Right before Heather could say it, with the words on the tip of her tongue, Sarah burst out in distress. “No! I don’t want to have bad pants!”
There was a pause, a sort of processing delay that registered on each of our faces.
…my bad genes…
Yep, leave it to a three year old in a high-chair wearing a pair of jeans from Gymoboree and worried about fashion already. Those are my “bad pants” right there.
I don’t think we stopped laughing for an hour. It was the prototypical “inside joke”…so inside it was genetic.
It’s a pun that lives on for me. I love my family. I love my history. I love where we came from, and I have a lot of faith in what’s on our horizon. I’m proud of my bad pants. I love my bad pants.
I want to tell the world about the pants that I come from.
If you read that sentence and thought about family and friends and stories about the things you love in your life, then you’re in the right place.
If you read that sentence and snickered a little bit because it sounded a bit dirty…you’re also probably in the right place.
I’m going to write about the people that came before me, the people that I grew up with, and the people that still shape my life today. Somtimes these people have been inspiring. Somtimes, well, we’re all human. But we’re good at funny…and sorta dirty in that unintentional-but-really-hilarious-when-you-think-about-it-later sort of way.