The Random Comic Strip

The Random Comic Strip

Words to live by...

"How beautiful it is to do nothing, and to rest afterward."

[Spanish Proverb]

Ius luxuriae publice datum est

(The right to looseness has been officially given)

"Everyone carries a part of society on his shoulders," wrote Ludwig von Mises, "no one is relieved of his share of responsibility by others. And no one can find a safe way for himself if society is sweeping towards destruction. Therefore everyone, in his own interest, must thrust himself vigorously into the intellectual battle."

Apparently, the crossword puzzle that disappeared from the blog, came back.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Like Father But Not Son?

There's one interesting thing about aging, you can look at your biological parents and get a good idea of your future. That's it, otherwise there's nothing interesting about aging... you get older, you get weaker, eventually you die. It's a bit scary when it's laid out that way, though, isn't it?.

When I was wee lad, my father towered above me. He also towered above most people. He was 6'4" tall and, in the 50's, that was quite tall. The average height of a man in the 1950's was 5'8"... according to My mother had referred to him as "My Giant" on a number of occasions. She claimed to be 5'4" but I suspect she exaggerated a bit, perhaps an inch or two. I thought of them as "Mutt and Jeff".

We are all the products of our biological parents and their familial genetics. There is no escaping that. While that can be a problem (as in, "OMG! I have my mother's thighs!" to "You are as grumpy as Dad.") it also gives you a bit of insight into your possible future.

My friend Joe, for example, is aware of his genetic predisposition for circulatory problems. Of course, the light heart attack and the ensuing implantation of 8 stents over the years since has had something to do with that awareness also. At 76, however, Joe is active, relatively healthy (certainly in better shape than me), and a vegan (this last being a fairly recent change).

I recall, shortly after my father's death at 84, a phone conversation with my uncle Alex (my father's youngest brother) wherein we discussed the family "curse." Strokes had a tendency to wipe out the paternal line in their mid-60's. Alex's comment was that both he and my father had apparently beaten it (one other brother had died much earlier from a heart attack, and their sister had succumbed to
cirrhosis of the liver... both much younger than 65).

My father was the strong, silent, type. Rarely complaining, he worked hard and expected the same from us. In that sense, I am sure I was a disappointment to him. I complain a lot, too, as anyone who reads this blog can attest. I am not my father's son except in superficial ways.

I did not grow to be very tall (reaching 5'11") but I copied his thinness for much of my life.

My father worked until he was 77, the last 43 years mostly as a salesman. As I spent more time with him in his later years, I watched him deteriorate physically. He became weaker, lost his stamina, and shrunk somewhat in stature though he remained taller than I until his passing.

I did not inherit, it seems, that accursed gene which begat high blood pressure in our family's history and that eventually led to the traditional paternal mortality. Instead, I got my mother's propensity for low blood pressure... and the thinning hair gene.

But, still, as I watched my father's final years slip away I saw something of my own future in his increasing physical weakness and wobbly legs. And it gives me pause.

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