Tag Archives: Babies

Gros Michel & The Anaconda

Did you know? All bananas are clones.

Not all. But the ones we (you & me) buy at the supermarket are overwhelmingly clones, produced via cuttings of the most desirable progenitors; therefore (re)produced clonally.

Gros Micheal. That is the variety that dominates, that we consume, that we eat for breakfast. Which we have as snacks during our busy, hectic days.

But this is hardly new knowledge. These are just facts.

It’s just…the fact that the bananas we consume are genetically identical seems absurd, doesn’t it? Absolutely preposterous. That’s why a banana tastes like a banana tastes like a banana. It’s why a banana never not fits in a Banana GuardTM. Haven’t you noticed that?

It never not fits.

***

But not all copies are not always created equal. Lacking males (or perhaps it’s better to say “bereft of suitable males”) some reptiles, for example, have been known to spontaneously self-replicate, a process known as parthenogenesis (derived from the Greek meaning “virgin birth”).

However, genetic material can get shifted during parthenogenesis, shuffled like a deck of cards, thereby producing imperfect copies of the progenitor.

Not so for Anna the Anaconda, current denizen of Boston’s New England Aquarium and mother of 18 identical babies – identical to each other and to herself and born without Anna ever having contact with a male of her species.

Anna, in essence, gave birth to herself: 18 babies worth. Only two survived. Still, that seems so much better (i.e. simpler, easier) and frankly more impressive than, for instance, being your own grandfather; no paradoxes there. No needless complications. Just the question of creation itself. Only the mystery of it, going forward, as we hurtle through time.

The same cannot be said for our Gros Micheal.

But then, it’s hard to complicate a banana.

***

Anna is also a palindrome, derived from the Greek meaning “again” and “way or direction.”

“Running back again.”

Never odd or even.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Filed under Animals, Food, Nature, THE FUTURE, THE PAST, Time, Words

Jiggety-Jig

I am always a little apprehensive about “coming home” to my parents’ house – a place where I am a little more than a guest, a little less than a resident.

But even now, as I try to figure out Life in The Big City, I come home and it only takes a beat before we get back into the rhythm of Things.

Many times.

Every time.

 

One time…

“Hi, Mom.”

“Ah, you are home.  Who drove you?”

“Kris did.”

“Ah.  Where is Lou-wee?”

“I left him with Stephen.”

“Stephen’s not coming?”

“Nope.”

“Who’s watching Lou-wee?”

“Stephen!”

Really??  He know how?”

“Yes.”

“You sure?”

“YES.”

[beat]

“Ah.  OK!  You like owls.”

“I guess.  Yeah.”

“I went shopping with your Aunts.  In Toronto.  I got you keychain.”

As long as I don't stare directly at it in the sun, I even get to keep them eyes.

It, um, matches my eyes.

“It’s…nice.”

“It’s an owl.”

“Uh-huh.”

“Put keys on it.”

“I will, Mom.”

“Do it now.”

“I’ll do it in a bit.”

“I want to see your keys on it.  I don’t like wasting money.  Do it now.”

“FINE.”

Truth is, I can really only handle the responsibility of the one key.

Do I really only have the one key?

“Why you like owls so much, anyway?”

 

Another time…

“Hi, Dad!”

“Ah, you home!  Hm.  No Lou-wee?”

“Not this time.”

“Hm.”

“Hey! What are you making?”

[beat]

“Noodles and soup.  Ha, ha!  NOODLE SOUP.”

“That’s a big pot you have.  It’s a vat!”

“Lots of family, lots of soup.”

“Cool.”

“Before you leave again, I make springrolls!  Unless your mom says no.  Then I make MANY MANY SPRINGROLLS.  Ha, ha!  OH!  You remember Mom’s cousin?  Your aunt?  The one that used to live with us?”

“Yeah.”

“Remember?  At the old house?”

“Yes…”

“She died!  We go to funeral this weekend.”

“She…wha…”

“SOUP’S DONE!”

 

And then there was the time…

“Ngọc!  When did you get home?”

“Last night.  It was late, so I just went to bed.”

“Ah. Who drove you?”

“I took the bus.”

“You didn’t take Lou-wee?”

“I left him with Stephen.  Dogs aren’t allowed on the bus, Mom.”

“Not even you pay extra?”

“Nope.”

Really??

“Yes.”

“You sure?”

“YES.”

[beat]

“Ah.  OK!  Here.  Bash this coconut for me.

“Um.  Sure.  How?”

“You know,  just like you’d bash a fish.”

“Oh-kaaaaaay…”

bash

                      … bash….                              …bash…

                                               …bash…                 …bash…

             .…bash…

“What is ant-polly-gee?  You done study that yet?  You have job?  When you get married?  You getting too old not to have babies. You pay too much for apartment, why not use money for mortgage instead?  I need you write letter for me and phone these people and pick up these things.  Next time, try pay extra. How you spell R-E-C-I-E-P-T?  Your dad made too much soup last time!  Can you vacuum downstairs before you leave and go to business school?”

“I DID NOT MAKE TOO MUCH SOUP!”

“SPRINGROLLS EVERYWHERE!”

[audible sighs heard over coconut bashing][1]

 

You can, indeed, go home again.  It is a small comfort surrounded by very big inconveniences.

And swimming in noodle soup.

Hey. I didn't say it was bad soup.

When consolation is delicious!

 


 

[1] “Sigh..BASH…sigh…BASH-BASH-BASH!!!”

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Filed under Family

Babies, Not Babies

I have a fondness for babies the way most people have a fondness for damp cabbage.

Don’t misunderstand me in a burst of self-indulgent judgement or transposed indignation.

It’s not that I don’t like babies.

My perception of babies is merely different from that of other people.

I was once on a 20+ hour flight full of these. It was so horrific, I'm sure there's a part of me that's still there.

In conclusion, M-E-H.

But I believe I have found the PERFECT solution.

I have begun associating “babies” with the most positive thing that comes to my mind when the thought of babies arises: “not babies”.

Logic therefore dictates that they only way for me to enjoy your baby is to transform it to not baby.  Ergo, not babies are babies are not babies babies.

I’m having my cake and eating it too.

And it’s your baby.

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Filed under Children