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Inheritance (standard:Creative non-fiction, 615 words)
Author: John SheirerAdded: Jul 25 2003Views/Reads: 2508/0Story vote: 0.00 (0 votes)
You never know what you might inherit from your father.

My dad was quite fond of repeating himself. I remember this happening
from the time I was very little, so he couldn't have been any older 
than forty-five when it started. 

A typical example might happen at dinner. Dad would ask us, "How was
school today?" and we'd answer that it was fine. Perhaps someone might 
relate an interesting story from the school day. Then, not ten minutes 
later, Dad would break a quiet moment of chewing and swallowing with 
another question like, "Was school good today?" We'd roll our eyes just 
a little answer him as if this were the first time we'd ever heard the 
question in our lives because we knew Dad would always deny he'd asked 
it before. 

I'm ashamed to admit that I seem to have inherited this little tendency
for repetition. Back when I was married, my wife would get upset with 
me for "not listening" because I might ask her the same question more 
than once during a one-hour time span. And I've gotten quite a few 
blank stares and puzzled looks from classes when I tell them for the 
second or even the third time some basic piece of information. I 
usually just pretend that I know I'm repeating myself—that the 
information is so important I needed to say it again. But I'm sure the 
students are more perceptive than my ex-wife. They seem to realize that 
I have Sheirer-pattern repetition disorder. 

My dad was usually pretty laid-back, a trait I've also inherited from
him. But he sometimes sported a strange sense of humor. One of his 
favorite gags was popping his false teeth out at me. The first time he 
did it when I was about five, I was terrified. I had no idea some 
adults had dentures. My teeth didn't pop out, so it upset me greatly 
that Dad's did. He got quite a laugh out of that one for many times to 
come, and I'd still be startled by it every time. 

He also enjoyed cracking his nose. He'd put each hand on either side of
his nose, fiddle with it for a few seconds (claiming he had to set the 
bones up just right), then wrench it quickly to one side, making a 
grinding snap so loud I could feel it in the pit of my stomach. I can't 
remember exactly when, but Dad eventually taught me the secret to the 
trick. He actually made the sound by snapping his thumbnail on his 
front teeth while he twisted his nose. His hands hid the whole 
operation, and it looked very realistic. 

I seem to have inherited Dad's off-center sense of humor as well. I
crack my nose for hundreds of people each year. Most of them are a 
captive audience in my classes, and I love hearing them groan just like 
I did when I first saw Dad do it. Of course, I eventually let them in 
on the secret as well, passing on Dad's comic legacy. 

Dad would definitely have enjoyed how I could bend my right-hand pinkie
finger into creative shapes for entertainment purposes. Unfortunately, 
this trick was no sham. The finger had been dislocated so many times 
playing basketball that the tendons and ligaments no longer held it in 
place. It hurt like crazy to bend it around like that, but I had a 
great time alternately delighting and grossing out everyone I knew with 
my pinkie tricks. Now I can't even do it anymore, thanks to the three 
screws implanted to fuse the joint into one position. But at least I 
have a good surgery scar to keep people groaning. 

By the way, Dad also repeated himself a lot.


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