My Dad – A Colour Blind Tall Guy With A Pointy Ear

Genetically speaking your biological parents play a pretty darn important role in making you who you are. Of course if it turns out they are crappy parents or for whatever reason they don’t raise you that’s where you start thinking about the whole nature versus nurture thing. But the genetics is what interests me today.

X and Y chromosomes are one of the things that really got me interested in biology way back when I thought being a doctor might be fun. At the most basic level they determine your gender.

Hopefully the education systems across the world haven’t failed too badly and we all know that girls have XX and guys have XY. So your gender is determined by whether you get an X or a Y from your father. Simple as that. I once had a male biology teacher proclaim in class that the Y chromosome was simply a faulty X chromosome and thus men were simply broken women. And whether or not that’s true it’s probably just as well because populations would dwindle rapidly without some blokes around.

If I’m being perfectly honest it’s been a really long time since I did any kind of biology study though. And that means my knowledge is probably full of holes. But I do know is that every biological factor about you is determined by a random draw of your parents genetics. What colour eyes you have, hair colour, straight hair or curly hair, skin tone, nose shape, ear size, how good your eyesight is, finger length, foot size, knobbly knees, the list goes on. To look at you are a puzzle pieced together from two separate puzzles. Which is no mean feat (mean being the word for average rather than cruel).

My father has a funny point on one of his ears and he’s passed it along to all of his sons. He’s also a tall guy, so naturally he’s now got a tall family. What he has failed to pass along, thankfully, is his colour blindness. He struggles to see red, particularly on a green background. He once loudly proclaimed he was tired of the green walls in the lounge and would like to repaint them. The walls were pastel pink and the fact that he then painted them green entertained us greatly…

His children were saved the minor inconvenience of colour blindness by the fact that our mother supplied a good X chromosome. It counteracted that fault he was supplying, which rather adds weight to my biology teachers argument.

However with all this biology going on there’s one thing that no amount of perfectly healthy chromosomes from my mother can fix. And that’s learned traits. Your appearance is determined by your biological parents and your personality I would argue is determined by those that raise you, whether that’s your parents or not. Some people would no doubt disagree because it’s hard to say how much is nature and how much is nurture. But I doubt very much I was born with a habit of never finishing a damn thing.

It’s a running joke in my family that my father, who rather enjoys a bit of Do It Yourself home improvement, never finishes a project. He redid my bedroom and never quite finished doing the stencil work for the wall painting. He built a tree house but never quite finished the interior. He built himself a little stone tower, we’re still not sure on why for that one but he says it’s going to be a pub one day… He redid K Hansen’s room and never got around to putting the handle back on the window. He built himself a bathroom but hasn’t gotten around to putting a toilet roll holder in yet. Projects never quite get finished.

This is learned behaviour that I apparently have latched on to. His inability to finish things is incredibly infuriating after a while so I do my best to complete projects. But I currently have three incompleted digital paintings, one book under way, an unfinished hand painted storage box, about six sandbox computer games that are 90% completed but not quite 100% and a car with a missing rear windscreen wiper…

I do not finish projects either. If I could have just gotten my mother’s perfectionism maybe we’d be getting somewhere but I don’t so that’s a spot of bother. I think what I need is an assistant to complete all my ideas. I have lots of nice ideas but never quite enough get up a go to complete them.

S. Hansen



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