Did she re­ally say her dot­ing dad is lack­ing in both in­tel­li­gence and skin tone

Wicklow People (West Edition) - - OPINION - with David Medcalf med­der­s­me­[email protected]

ALITTLE learn­ing can be dan­ger­ous... Young Perse­phone came home from bi­ol­ogy class ready to ap­ply universal sci­en­tific truth to in­di­vid­ual per­sonal cir­cum­stance. Or maybe she had been watch­ing ‘Big Bang The­ory’. What­ever the in­spi­ra­tion, she was prompted to de­clare that she has con­sis­tently been en­dowed with all the de­sir­able char­ac­ter­is­tics in the divvy­ing up of in­her­ited traits. For­tu­nately her brother was not around to hear an as­ser­tion clearly aimed at putting Perse­phone a notch above Eldrick in gen­eral es­ti­ma­tion.

She af­fected to be­lieve that this favourable share-out of the ge­netic good­ies was unar­guably ob­vi­ous to any right think­ing ob­server. Sure, doesn’t she have her mother’s freck­les, her fa­ther’s tall­ness of stature, her mother ‘s stel­lar IQ and her fa­ther’s free­dom from al­ler­gies?

This line of thought was de­liv­ered out of the blue at the din­ner ta­ble over the re­mains of some finely cooked plaice served with peas and roast pota­toes.

I was too dis­tracted by the mer­its of a par­tic­u­larly fine French chardon­nay which ac­com­pa­nied our fine food while Hermione was at­tempt­ing to ex­tract a fish bone caught be­tween two of her porce­lain-like teeth. As a re­sult, the du­bi­ous dec­la­ra­tion of su­pe­ri­or­ity went un­chal­lenged at the time.Only af­ter­wards did we reg­is­ter what had been stated with such ca­sual con­fi­dence.

‘Am I imag­in­ing things, Med­ders, or did Perse­phone just call me squat and sneezy?’

‘I’m not so sure about that, dar­ling, but she may have in­di­cated that her dot­ing dad is lack­ing in both in­tel­li­gence and skin tone.’

Our daugh­ter is be­yond doubt a mix of us both. It is per­fectly plau­si­ble to sup­pose she has her mother’s cute nose, her fa­ther’s rounded but­tocks, her mother’s scin­til­lat­ingly blue eyes, her fa­ther’s dis­like of Scan­di­na­vian meat-balls. But it is down­right mis­chievous of her to claim that she has the win­ning hand across the board ahead of her sib­ling in the ge­netic lot­tery.

I de­cided to com­pile a lit­tle list which I put to Perse­phone the next time we brought The Pooch for a walk, sug­gest­ing that her brother may ac­tu­ally hold an edge in some de­part­ments,

One. How about the Fall-Asleep-in-the-Car Gene? Eldrick has pre­cious abil­ity to while away the miles by drop­ping off into light slum­ber on long jour­neys. Thus he con­trives to ar­rive at the des­ti­na­tion re­freshed and ready to go.

Two. How about the In­vis­i­ble Gene? closely as­so­ci­ated with the Se­lec­tive-Deaf­ness Gene. He is some­how never to be seen when­ever it is time to tidy up at the end of a meal, for in­stance. No one ever sees him leave. No one is ever quite sure where he has gone but it al­ways seems to be too much bother to find out and in­sist he does his share of the work. It re­ally is a most en­vi­able gift.

Three. How about the Fort­nite Gene? In a pre­vi­ous gen­er­a­tion this might have been re­ferred to as the Pac-Man Gene or maybe in long by-gone times as the Soli­taire Gene, de­not­ing a ten­dency to pass the time ab­sorbed with trivial amuse­ments.

Perse­phone was not en­tirely con­vinced and she had a con­trary list of her own, cit­ing a string of qual­i­ties ev­i­dent in her brother which she is glad to have avoided.

One. The No-Con­science Gene: ‘You do re­alise that he steals my socks and never apol­o­gises. And no bar of chocolate is safe while he’s around.’

Two. The Bo­hemian Gene: ‘This one must be a mu­tant, but Eldrick is se­ri­ously think­ing of throw­ing away his Sham­rock Rovers her­itage and switch­ing al­le­giance to Bohs.’

Three. The Believ­ing-Rap-is-Mu­sic Gene: ‘I can sing Julie An­drews’ great­est hits but your son thinks Stormsy has divine pow­ers.’

Four. The I-Don’t-Read Gene: ‘And he’s proud of it. The hea­then. Just think of all the won­ders he is cut­ting him­self off from by re­fus­ing to open a book.’

There may have been more but I was no longer lis­ten­ing, too busy think­ing that I must con­tact our solic­i­tor and ar­range to have Eldrick dis­in­her­ited. The Bo­hemian Gene, in­deed.

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