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Grouchiness: the genetical theorem

July 28th, 2010  |  by  |  Published in Uncategorized  |  1 Comment

Nature or nurture?

Nature or nurture?

I wanted to react briefly to Matt’s contribution to this week’s Tantrum on yelling in front of children.

Matt claims that he remembers only a single instance of serious argument between his parents when he was young, and that his memory  only comes to him, as if in a dream. This provokes several responses from me:

  1. sarcastic skepticism
  2. utter disbelief
  3. envy
  4. a desire to make jokes at his expense

Let me start with point number one: one argument! Come on, that simply isn’t possible. Once? Only once? Here’s why that doesn’t pass the sniff test, Mr. Gross: if there was only one, it wouldn’t come to you in some foggy haze of not-very-importantness—it would be seared into your psyche! Thus, we can conclude that Matt is lying. (I love blogs—my argument only has to convince me.)

Point two: basically the same as point one.

Point three: Given one and two, I’m not sure that there’s very much envy to cop to here, but if it were true, and his parents (and him and Jean) never fought, that would be nice … and a little boring. I grew up in a very loud household. My parents split up when I was young (it’s hereditary), and fighting was commonplace—but so was loud joking, pointless arguing, erudite debating, merciless teasing, and questionable criticizing. If Matt’s story is to be believed—and it’s not—I would bet he missed out on much of the more pleasurable aspects of a rough-and-tumble family life. In short, he grew up in “Leave It to Beaver” and I grew up in “Good Times.” Which would you rather have?

Point four: Should I really make fun of Matt simply because his childhood was boring? Is it his fault that he’s deluded about his memories of his past? Does he deserve this kind of treatment at the hands of his blog colleague and friend? Probably not, but I truly can’t do otherwise. It’s a family tradition!


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