Left on the Savannah ©

 A story by Malati Marlene Shinazy

Several years ago BOBB’s publisher and truly loving sister, shinazy (whose last name I stole at birth), stated the obvious:

“We would have left you on the savannah.”

She was referring to the fact that I was the one child my parents bore who:

  • Was nearsighted, so had to wear glasses starting at age six
  • Inherited my grandmother’s tendency to trip and fall over twigs, pebbles, and other slight raises in the terrain
  • Was smart but often distracted by paying attention to all of the stimuli around me
  • Had super flexible joints, so was constantly dislocating them
  • Cried whenever an adult gave me constructive criticism (any instruction, actually)

Yes, had I not been eaten by whatever carnivores lived 30,000 years ago, my family probably would have looked at this poor sample of a human — and, left me on the savannah…

“This one won’t live. If she does, she doesn’t have a chance to make it to reproductive age.”

  • She’ll fall over the cliff when she learns to walk
  • She’ll fall into the campfire when she learns to run
  • She’ll get lost because she doesn’t pay attention to where she is
  • She’ll be constantly injured and have to be carried around
  • She’ll endanger us all because she can’t take instructions

Yes, I am the myopic, frail, orthopedically challenged exception to the Hardy-Weinberg principal of genetic equilibrium:

Basic Definition: If mutations and migration don’t occur, of four children from the same parents, one will be genetically more similar to the mother, one genetically more similar to the father, two will be some mixture of both.

Thankfully, I wasn’t born 30,000 years ago.  I was born… well, later.

  • I fall over twigs, not cliffs
  • I fall on the sidewalk, not into the campfire
  • I have brilliant orthopedic surgeons
  • I have a navigation system in my car, so I can be constantly lost and still find my way
  • I have learned to take instruction and occasionally harsh criticism… I still cry easily, but also grow and improve

As I read what my dear sister, shinazy, writes about her marathon runs on each continent and her current training to climb Half Dome next month in Yosemite National Park… I can’t help but smile smugly and think:

Ha!  You and our other siblings may be super-smart athletes who can leap tall buildings in a single bound… but, ultimately, I won the big prize:

I was born a Baby Boomer, some time between 1946 and 1964.

And I was not left on the savannah!

 photo by shinazy (the very same shinazy mentioned in this story)


23 Responses to Left on the Savannah ©

  1. My sister and I have had this verbal exchange for so long it’s now part of our family’s lore. I bet there’s such a give-and-take in your family, too.

    ~ shinazy

  2. Thank you for this great story. It captured the awkwardness of childhood for many. I too would have been left on the savannah had I been born 30,000 years earlier. So happy to be a boomer!

    • Malati Marlene Shinazy

      We should start a club. Tag line: Be happy you are a Baby Boomer, 30,000 years ago, you would have been “Left on the Savannah.” – lol – mms

  3. Lifetime complaint from my sister: “How come I got the Jones body type and you and your brother got the O’Neill?”

    • Malati Marlene Shinazy

      In another era of Western history, or another part of the world today, would the Jone’s body type be preferred? Sometimes it’s just a matter of wrong place, wrong time. – 🙂 –mms

  4. Even 30,000 years ago, we humans were protective of our family members. Falling into fires and such would have been looked on as seeking a vision, so you would have grown up to be a shaman.

  5. Malati Marlene Shinazy

    These days, we call ourselves, junior shamans. There’s actually a lot of us. — mms

  6. With severe childhood asma I would also have been tossed aside…

    • Malati Marlene Shinazy

      I think it would have been pretty crowded out there… but we genetic misfits could just launch a party and have a good time. – mms

  7. So delighted to have been born into the same era with you MS, this time around, for the “REALLY” Big Show!! You are clearly one of the change agents that will birth our beautiful blue and brown marble planet Gaia into a new dimension – so thrilled to know you and be hanging in the same hood – the blessed Central Coast of CA!!

    • Malati Marlene Shinazy

      That’s right, the savannah is part of Mother Earth and not the Mall! – mms

  8. Jocelyn Swanson

    Well, I can say for myself that if civilization depended on me it wouldn’t have happened (well, maybe flowering arranging)! So I guess I would have been left on the savannah smelling the roses or whatever grows on the savannah.

  9. Malati Marlene Shinazy

    “Oh Savannah, don’t you cry for me …” — mms

  10. Jewell Beck

    Wow, a climb up to Half Dome, following training will be a piece of cake! Be sure to remember it with a share and tell trophy.

    • Jewell, For sure! I’m taking my camera and you will probably see some of the photos with other stories. Hey, maybe one of my own stories.
      ~ shinazy

  11. Jewell Beck

    And be very, very proud of your accomplishment fulfilled.

    • Malati Marlene Shinazy

      Jewell…that’s right…. Not only was I born now and allowed to live… I made it to the biological imperative of living to reproductive age, and having great “kids” who share my healthy genetic strands ( smile). – mms

  12. Bill Plummer

    I really enjoy the creativity exhibited in this snapshot. Really appreciate the time and effort it takes to write a short note rather than a long one. Each brings a smile and a few stray memories of comparable family stories, so please keep it up.

    • Bill,
      Thank you for the encouraging words. BOBB is a team effort: some folks behind the scene and others in public view. All have the same goal –> To bring forth a smile, a memory. I’m happy you enjoy reading our stories.
      ~ shinazy

  13. Malati Marlene Shinazy

    Thanks for your kind words,, Bill. Please return and continue to enjoy the stories of all the writers. – mms

  14. This essay celebrates difference as a part of this imprecise ideal called species evolution. For me, all the functions that we beta and gamma people (no reference to Aldous Huxley made, ex- or implicitly) provide to the alpha men and women alone justify our worth; add the hive-like web in which we serve each other makes me think that we are Godding.