Sunday, April 10, 2011

Who Gets Credit?

My wife and I have been arguing for the past week over the right to claim credit for the accomplishment of a grandchild whose activities have brought credit to the family in a way well beyond my dreams and aspirations. Those of us who are grandparents all know the drill very well; when a grandkid does something good, there is always a parent in the background someplace too willing to take credit for the thousands of hours and sacrifices they’ve made to help the young’uns move along through the roller coaster of life. Big deal! Real grandparents know that the parents in fact have nothing to do with a grandchild’s success and in fact the grandchild himself or herself has very little to do with the accomplishment. Let me explain in detail because the background is important. Just this week one of the most important scientific studies in history has been published documenting without question the role of heredity in success stories. I drink coffee every day. My wife does not drink coffee. To my knowledge none of my three daughters or sons-in-law drink as much coffee as I do. This published study has now established that liking coffee is heredity. I have eight grandchildren. Without knowledge of these recent scientific results, I independently note that two of the oldest of my grandchildlren like coffee. I don't know about Kari, the marathon runner, who may be too busy working two jobs and getting all A's at the University of Michigan to take the time to drink coffee, but I wouldn't be surprised if she liked coffee too. On a bike trip to Europe eight years ago, Jeff, the oldest developed an instant fondness for espresso. I like espresso, Jeff likes espresso. You can see where I am going here. But first, let me nail down the available scientific evidence for you in a way that will irrefutably demonstrate that this story is really all about me.
I also like White Castle hamburgers. Through systematic exposure to these small bite-size culinary treats over the lifetimes of my daughters it has become somewhat of a family tradition to gorge ourselves on White Castles over Thanksgiving weekend each year. This past week, my grandson Dan won a significant championship at the University of Michigan (along with two companions) when they downed thirty White Castles and a gallon of milk in seven minutes. I tell you, it is moments like this in the life of a grandparent that tears stream down my face in pride over knowing the role that I played in this singular accomplishment. Dan, by the way, also likes coffee. I rest my case.

Oh, and did I mention that Jeff won a Fulbright scholarship this week for a year in Ecuador?

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