Wednesday, August 01, 2012

With livestock, sometimes breeders practice what's known as single trait breeding. This is where you breed for one trait without paying any attention to others. For example, if you were breeding for high milk production, crooked faces, weak leg structure, misaligned jaws and backs that won't hold up over a long life would all be ignored (allowed to persist, not culled out of the breeding program) as long as the animal produced a LOT of milk. Strange things happen when you select for only one or two traits, because sometimes those traits are tied into others, which get unexpectedly reinforced.

I think that's how my family ended up with me, because there are a number of others like me. We are the by-products of a breeding program for brains and success, because eccentricity was seen as a possible indicator of intelligence. That's just my theory...

I'm not the only embarrassment in the family, and it hurts to see my reflection in the others, struggling to hide their deficits, bearing up bravely, not speaking about those struggles, trying as hard as they can to be good enough, to save face and be successful. These are the ones who don't get gloated about and preened over. These are the ones who are hardly mentioned.

I watch my dad. He works so hard. He tries so hard. He's so......self conscious and defensive about his social status. The man is building a yacht, for Christ's sake. If building that thing is a dream he's always had and will make him truly happy, then good. But....I sort of question whether this is the case. He was the eldest, and a son besides. He was the one who was supposed to carry the family mantle (black bag?) and be a doctor. He's certainly intelligent enough to do so, but he loved music. And, he had me. I don't know what to think of these things...but I do often feel guilty for making it impossible for him to go to medical school.

People ask me why I'm so sorry all the time, they say that I don't have to apologize for my existence. But frequently, that is exactly the case; I am sorry that I exist and make a pain of myself to the people I love most, that I don't seem to be able to help doing this, that I cause so much trouble just by being here and taking up space.

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