My intention was to post a version of this yesterday, but I got so caught up pontificating on genetics and breeding and predicting the traits of my nonexistent children, that by the time I was done with the post it was freaking ridiculous. After I read it, I thought, well aren’t I blowing smoke up my own ass? Maybe if I had pictorial evidence of that, I would have considered posting it anyway. But I don’t.
So I scrapped it and started over. Let me begin by saying this post came about after a combination of things; a friend sent me an article from Science Daily about the Neanderthal demise, the text message my father sent me when I asked him to test my phone to see if I could receive texts, and the text message I received from my husband after I specifically told him not to text me.
Smartassery – it’s a genetic thing.
It’s very interesting to discover what you inherit from each parent. I have so, so many traits that come from my dad’s side of the family, and it seems the older I get, the more they show. Most of them I love (my grandma’s coloring). A couple others, not so much (problems with blood sugar, suck-o). I also got the smartassery gene from my dad’s side of family.
But let’s take a step back and look at my dad’s colossal smartassedness. The man is clever and quick. And bless the heart of so many food servers over the years that bore the brunt of his sass. When I was a kid, I dreaded going out to eat with my dad, especially if there was a wait to be seated. There was no telling what on earth he would say to the hostess. We were lucky if he said Rufus McFly. Once he gave the name Vernel, and when the hostess called him, he grabbed my sister and I and introduced as Verbina and Vernessa Odessa (that was me), and he nodded towards my mother and said her name was Vernilla (who, by the way, was frequently immune to his clowning around). The hostess didn’t give a damn, she just wanted to seat us and get back to her job. But I was mortified, and I’m sure I spent at least ten minutes giving my dad the silent treatment. In fact, to this day, a full 22 years after that particular incident, my father still refers to me as Vernessa Odessa. Frequently. Actually, my dad called me a couple hours ago. I asked him to give some smartass examples and for what might have been the first time ever, he couldn’t think of anything (actually that’s not true, but he insisted none of them were appropriate to print, which means they were really good).
I don’t think my sister ever went through the stage of being embarrassed, which made it all the worse for me because she would join in, and then they would gang up on me. A simple trip to the grocery store with the two of them was the equivalent of having the dream where you show up to school naked. You are deeply embarrassed, and there is nowhere to hide (because they would chase me down, both with their fingers up their noses, calling my name just in case one of my school friends were around).
Flash forward a couple decades, and I cackle like the biggest hen in the house over my dad’s antics. I’m not twelve anymore, and therefore I don’t give a rat’s ass about what the hostess, or whoever, thinks. My step-grandmother, who is 80, will hightail it into a restaurant to make sure she gives the name before he does, and that makes both of us laugh all the more.
I wouldn’t characterize my mom as a smartass. Her sass would better be described as snark. So the smartass gene definitely came from my dad, and I carry one copy of it.
So, it should come as no surprise that a) I married a major smartass, and b) my dad and husband get along splendidly.
Smartassedness oozes from my husband. Before we started dating, he used to come into the bar I worked at and spend hours. Most of the time his, um, witticisms, were directed at other people. But occasionally he zinged something in my direction. So, I told him to stop that shit. It’s fine to do it to other people, but don’t do it to me. So he stopped. Until we had been dating a few weeks, and then I came to understand it was deeply imbedded in his character and I was going to have to get used to it. Obviously I did. The nice thing about a super smartass is that they can usually take as much as they dish out.
And that brings me to why my unborn children will come out of the womb spouting inappropriate jokes.
Somewhere one of you is saying, “But Vesta, that’s a personality trait, not something you’re born with!”
Whoever you are, you are wrong. It’s a gene. A dominant one.