I usually dump my blog on my family for my first set of critical reviews. Last night’s reaction was less than stellar. They looked at me with a look like, “You didn’t just post that all over the web?” Then they said something like, “You didn’t just post that all over the web?” Other comments like, “That was weird!” and “I will never get a date now” told me that the whole family was all behind me on this venture.
So where did we leave off kiddies? I think I was at the part where I won the race. One of my passions in live is SCUBA diving. When asked if I am a good swimmer, I brag about the part when I won a race against six million of my half siblings.
I was a single cell for just a second. I find this fascinating. I might shed a few thousand cells each time I snap my fingers or comb my hair, but there was a time when this cell was all of me. In that cell the blueprint for much of my life was written. In strands of protein was the code for my hair color, my race, my curiosity, my gender, my medical profile, and much of what will become me. Scientists can dissect genes and sequence them and it is still this massive problem much like sorting out the pieces from an explosion in a puzzle factory. One tiny cell, and yet in my life, it was all I was.
I began to multiply and grow. I am still accomplishing this feat. A day or two later my mom signaled that it was time for cellular Sidney to move down the tunnel and spend a little bonding time with mom. I went over and attached myself to the wall and decided to hang out there for about nine months. I was safe, well-fed, and warm.
Outside the world was a much different place. Fifteen years earlier the world had learned how to play with a new toy that was capable of being the trump card in a war. Over the span of three days, we witnessed around 115,000 people vaporized or begin dying of radiation. Within a few years the major players in the world had this new toy, and we all lived with the threat of a finger on the mass launch button. 1961 was a year when diplomacy was breaking down, and the world players were giving each other the finger.
In 1960 China and Russia broke off relations as fellow Communist countries. Now there were two big unstable players on the side of the bad guys. In January, 1961 diplomatic talks with Cuba broke down. In April US backed forces invaded Cuba, a Communist country just 90 miles off an American shoreline. In August construction would begin on a wall in Germany that would establish the exact border or the iron curtain. Things were beginning to escalate in a small Asian country called Vietnam. Six days after I was born the Russians detonated a 50 megaton Hydrogen Bomb, the largest man-made explosion in human history. If you were an invading alien race you wouldn’t have landed the saucer in 1961. The people were just too barbaric.
My family lived and believed they were a part of the coming Apocalypse. Grandpa’s house had basement walls made of eighteen inch reinforced concrete. (It isn’t as strange as it sounds because he owned a concrete company within 200 feet of his house). Throughout most of my life my family could go about three months to a year without going to the grocery store. My dad, who loves children would stick his lip out and say to mom, “I don’t know if it is fair to bring kids into this world!” What cosmically bad timing for Cellular Sid to start his little journey.
Meanwhile back in the uterus, life was great. Things were developing at an alarming rate. Arms, legs, fingers, toes, manhood were popping out all over the place. Mom kept sending all kinds of good stuff down the pipe, and I was on my way. After a while I turned upside down, as I started to take up more space. Mom was the church organist, and I kept pushing her further and further from the keys. By late October things were really getting cramped. Mom and I both new that it was time for me to leave the safety of my little cocoon for parts unknown. Mom played the organ on Sunday, and then took the old wives tale advice to take a good dose of Castor oil and see if that would prime the pump.
I still remember the taste of that Castor oil coming down the pipe. I started rocking and rolling, and mom started clamping down and I knew I was on my way. The rest gets kind of vague in my memory. I am not sure exactly what happened after that point, but somehow I have always been afraid of getting sucked through a garden hose ever since.
Dad was in the waiting room pacing back and forth. During that day, that is how it was done. Mom wasn’t sure what was going on, other than the fact that the nurse kept giving her something that smells like starting fluid on a rag to give her something to do during the whole infant extraction process.
My world was changing fast. With one last colossal push, I left the comfort of floating weightlessly in a warm sack of water to a cold naked existence. The doctor slapped my feet, “Thanks doc!” I snorted out the stuff in my nose, and I began squalling. After what seemed like an eternity, they wrapped me up in a blanket and placed me in my mom’s arms, and she looked at me with the sweetest adoring smile. Suddenly the world wasn’t that bad of a place.