Eric and I took his mother out to eat at a steakhouse in Borough Park tonight. It’s a kosher steakhouse, which we didn’t think much of until we arrived and it was clear that we were the only non-Jewish - indeed, the only black - people there. The hostess appeared surprised. The owner thanked us effusively at the end of our meal. We were like, you’re welcome. The steak was awesome.
In eighth grade, I was one of the few to spell yarmulke correctly and thus won a spot on the team competing in the spelling bee. It was a crisp fall day when we went. I knew how to spell every single word uttered in that auditorium that day, every word except my first: inauguration. I spelled it with an o instead of an au. My first word. I was furious and embarrassed.
I have never been stung by a bee. My father is deathly allergic to bees and I don’t know if allergies like that are genetic and sometimes, in the summer, I worry that today will be the day I discover that I, too, need immediate treatment when stung.
I briefly entertained thoughts of studying genetics in college because I so enjoyed creating Punnett squares in high school biology, and I found all the talk of inherited traits and recessive vs. dominant genes fascinating. I didn’t, though. I wasn’t good at math or science in college. Once I stopped trying to force myself into the pre-med track I’d planned to follow my entire life, I enrolled in classes like Shakespeare 101 and 60s and Postmodernism and thrived.
When I was a child I would sometimes hear adults say things like “You look so much like your mother; she must have strong genes” or “You have your dad’s nose, has to be genes” and while I understood that they were referring to inherited characteristics, my immature brain heard genes as jeans and for years I had the mental image of microscopic cells carrying things like hair color and chin shape floating around, wearing teeny tiny pairs of jeans.
- Mitochondria are the powerhouse of the cell.