Thursday, August 8, 2013

Genetic Crapshoot

When I was a kid I overheard my parents talking about friends of theirs who were an objectively good-looking couple, but whose toddler daughter was decidedly homely. "What can you do?" Dad said, shrugging, "genetics are a crapshoot." Dad repeated this phrase throughout my childhood whenever we were faced with some aberration. For instance, Dad was big on telling bedtime stories about the presidents (I know, I know), and he told me that President John Adams's son, John Quincey Adams was also president. "Did he have any other children?" I asked. "Oh yes, but they didn't really accomplish anything. In fact, one of them died of alcoholism. Genetics are a crapshoot, honey." I was maybe six, but well on my way to being indoctrinated. Another time we were behind a car emblazoned withe with college stickers proclaiming: Harvard! Columbia! Princeton! University of West Virginia! Dad shook his head, "that, m' dear is clear evidence that genetics are a crapshoot."

As an aside, what do we think about the RIP stickers on back windshields? Is this just a southern thing? Here's an example:

As an aside to the aside, isn't it sad that kids today don't know Calvin from Calvin and Hobbes as a smart, funny cartoon character, but rather as a sadistic-looking kid who pisses on various things, i.e.:

And there are hundreds more. To paraphrase and misquote Field of Dreams, if you build it, cartoon Calvin will piss on it, no questions asked.

I was thinking about the whole genetics thing the other day when I saw this picture:

That's Jessica Alba and her two daughters. What? Yes. Genetics...crapshoot.

Also, Paula Patton and Robin Thicke's baby:

Seriously, how does this happen? Robin Thicke's Canadian genes must be quite powerful. Also, dazzle your friends with these facts: Robin Thicke's dad is, of course, Alan Thicke from Growing Pains. Robin's mom is Gloria Loring, who was on Days of Our Lives. Alan Thicke and Loring co-wrote the theme songs to Facts of Life and Diff'rent Strokes. Loring also sang the Facts of Life theme song. Don't some of the slightly awkward lyrics to Robin Thicke's Blurred Lines ("I want to hug you. What rhymes with hug you?") make more sense now that you know his parents wrote, "A man is born, he's a man of means. Then along come two, they've got nothing but their jeans?" Genetics are a crapshoot, except when it comes to lyricists.

Speaking of genetics, Canadian artist, Ulric Collette has done a whole series of portraits premised on family resemblances called, "Genetic Portraits." Below, the first picture shows two sisters, with half of each sister's face used to create one face. The second and third pictures are portraits of each girl and their mother. Kind of crazy, no?

There's also a cool video where a daughter morphs into her mother.

I think it's interesting to see families where all the kids look alike because none of mine really resemble each other. The Girl is kind of a combination of me and the K:

The Boy just looks like me:

And the Baby looks like a combination of my mother-in-law and someone I haven't met:

But who clearly loves to pose for pictures!

My parents both have blue eyes, Sister and I have blue eyes, and the Boy and the Girl have blue eyes. When the Baby was about six months old, Dad came to visit and looked at the Baby, "Gosh, she has the darkest blue eyes I've ever seen!" "Well," I said, "that's because they're brown." The K has brown eyes, and genetics, she is a crapshoot.


  1. Um - poor Jessica Alba baby. I would be pissed if I were her. Like poor Alexa Ray Joel who looks like Billy not Christy Brinkley. Well, she is a pretty adult, so that is nice.

    1. She's cute, she just doesn't resemble either Jessica Alba or Cash Warren. She looks like a little Irish baby. I hope Jessica knows to use sunblock on her! Re: Alexa Ray Joel, I agree. She is a pretty adult, but is the spitting image of her father.

  2. Oh and those sticker are CREEPY! like people with Angels in their family descriptions. Ack.

    1. I don't know about Angels in family descriptions! I just feel like there must be a better way to memorialize someone than on your car. I'd prefer a tattoo. Seriously.