A story by Malati Marlene Shinazy
“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)