A site of satirical musings, commentary and/or rhetorical criticism of the world at large.

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Location: Southeastern, Pennsylvania, United States

Friday, June 19, 2009

#@%&! Genes

Submitted for your approval: a typical middle-aged couple living in southeastern Pennsylvania. They are employed full time, pay taxes and bills on time, and live with their two cat kids. No human children.

The male is short and overweight. He exercises almost every day when the pain in his hip permits it. He eats a balanced diet from all four food groups. The man began his daily regimen of exercise about 15 years ago. During most of this time, his fitness activity included anywhere from 25 to 45 minutes on a stationary bicycle. During the summer months, he takes advantage of using his neighbor's pool and swims ten laps around the pool's perimeter, weather permitting.

He is a non-smoker, and drinks occasionally. Sometimes this means one beer per weekend, and maybe a glass of wine or two, or a mixed drink interspersed during the week. In the amount of time he has pursued his “healthier” lifestyle, he has endured three heart procedures — two catherizations, an angioplasty, and a bypass with a valve replacement. He has to take medications to control his blood pressure and cholesterol.

The spouse is also short, and even more overweight than the man. Non-smoker, yet she is an asthma sufferer. Drinks on occasion, like her husband, but refrains from drinking beer. Exercise — almost never. A 20 year cancer survivor and, save for an outpatient procedure in 1992, she has had no major hospital stays.

Her diet is not the ideal one touted by the food pyramid. Meat and bread, okay. Soup for winter lunches, yogurt for the summer mid-day meal. She’ll eat some fruits, but vegetables...forget it. She’ll eat carrot sticks once in a great while, but otherwise she’s never met a vegetable that she likes. She supplements this diet with a lot of junk.

Now the kicker: her cholesterol is perfect! Unaided by medications or dietary supplements!

I’ve thought about the unfairness of all this for a while. I eat a more balance diet than my wife, and yet I have to work harder to stay healthy! Naturally, I don’t believe there is only one cause for all this. Environment is definitely one, and my inability to say “no” to a Chinese buffet is another. This leaves me with one contribution to my lifestyle: my own faulty set of genes.

Yes, that microscopic set of traits that is stamped indelibly into the very fibers of our being. I envy Anne Marie’s set and I loathe mine. It makes me want to go back in time to that moment when the mud puppy which would eventually evolve into the Gunther ancestor crawled onto land for the first time. It is at this point I would grab whatever was handy — a stick, a tree branch, or a rock — and bash its brains out before it could procreate and spread its defective genes into the pool of human evolution.

I picture myself laughing manically at this point and screaming, "Ha, ha, ha! You have bad genes! Back, back I say!”, and I would watch its blood and very life force spill and flow back into the primordial ooze.

I realize that this seems like a violent scene, but hey, I can credit the same thought process that created this strange vision to my genes as well. Genes! Can’t live with them, can’t live without them.


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