Bee in My Bonny

bjain2.jpg12-year-old Bonny Jain, an 8th-grade student from Illinois, recently won the 2006 National Geographic Bee and an accompanying $25,000 scholarship. Throughout the contest, he correctly answered all but one of the very difficult global geography questions asked by Alex Trebek, of Jeopardy! fame.

Bonny aspires to attend MIT. He speaks, reads and writes Hindi fluently. He’s currently studying German and Spanish. For Bonny, I’m sure, “studying” a language connotes a much more comprehensive endeavor than what I consider “studying” a language. (I would like a burrito, s’il vous plait. Que? Yo no speako Spanisho. The only Spanisho I know is “burrito”, “chimichanga”, “Macarena”, “Shakira”, “Salma Hayek”, “cantalupos gigantes”. And “s’il vous plait”.)

In addition to having just won the National Geographic Bee, Bonny also recently took the SAT (again, he’s in EIGHTH GRADE). He scored 800 in math, 790 in writing, and 720 in critical reading for a 2,310 composite score out of a possible total of 2,400 points (800 points per section). I have a feeling MIT will be saving a spot for him. Maybe even this year.

NGB.gifBelow are five questions from this year’s competition. This contest was not in multiple choice format: The contestants had to come up with the answers independently, without any hints or clues.

Bangweulu is an area of extensive swamps formed largely by the flooding of the Chambeshi River in which African country?
(to see the answer, click here, hold down your mouse button, and move the cursor down over the white space below)


Name the small island at the north end of the East China Sea that is a province of South Korea.
(to see the answer, click here, hold down your mouse button, and move the cursor down over the white space below)


In 1995, the government of Niger signed a peace agreement with rebel forces belonging to which traditional group in the Sahara region?
(to see the answer, click here, hold down your mouse button, and move the cursor down over the white space below)


Majestic views of Mount Everest can be seen from a town in northeast India that is the capital of a district of the same name. Name this town.
(to see the answer, click here, hold down your mouse button, and move the cursor down over the white space below)


Name the last remaining independent Polynesian kingdom.
(to see the answer, click here, hold down your mouse button, and move the cursor down over the white space below)


Listed below are the names and home states of the little geniuses who competed in this year’s National Geographic Bee, in seating order.

Neeraj Sirdeshmukh – New Hampshire
Suneil Iyer – Kansas
Yeshwanth Kandimalla – Georgia
Paige DePolo – Nevada
Autumn Hughes – Colorado
Mathew Vengalil – Michigan
Krishnan Chandra – Massachusetts
Drew Coffin – Iowa
Kelsey Schilperoort – Arizona
Bonny Jain – Illinois

The following is a snapshot of the population of the United States, as per the 2000 Census:


Similar to other unexplained racial phenomena found in the United States such as ice hockey (white), basketball (black), NASCAR (hick, a subsegment of “white”), and gold Rolexes (Chinese, a cross-segment of “good at math” and “bad at driving”), the National Geographic Bee’s distribution by ethnicity bears no resemblance whatsoever to the general population distrubution of the United States:


Guess which kids were the first four contestants to answer wrong and be eliminated. Amazing, I know: All four “Not Indian” kids were the first to be eliminated.


Bonny competed in last year’s National Geographic Bee as well. At the start of this year’s competition, Trebek asked Bonny about his fourth place finish in the 2005 contest. Bonny replied with confidence: Since the first, second and third place finishers are not allowed to return, he preferred to finish fourth if he couldn’t finish first.

I guess it all worked out.

tags :: : : :

What the F#@k is Towel Day?!

hgg.jpgEverywhere I go in the Blogosphere this week, I keep hearing about how yesterday, May 25, was Towel Day. Naturally I Googled it, and discovered that Towel Day is a tribute to Douglas Adams, author of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.

But given Towel Day’s surprisingly widespread support by bloggers of all stripes and not just sciphiles, they should have named it “Yet Another Excuse for Nerds to Invite More Ass Kickings by Meatheads Named Biff”. Or something like that. (talk like Christian Slater imitating Jack Nicholson in Heathers for the following…it’ll be funnier) Just kidding, bros! It’s all good! I got my own nerd flag right here!

Man, am I the world’s loserest nerd. I have never read Hitchhiker’s, nor any other Douglas Adams book. So please please nerds more nerdy than I, please don’t pelt me with slide rules! They hurt! And if you must, hurl some pocket protectors my way. They don’t hurt as much as slide rules, and I can always imprint a fuzzy Jesus silhouette on them and sell them to superstitious Catholic hackers on eBay.

BFish2.jpgNot to be outdone, here is where I out-nerd the nerds more nerdy than I. I Googled further and found another Hitchhiker’s nerdifact: the Babel Fish, which is a fish that translates any form of language for your comprehension when you stick it in your ear. A-ha! It all comes together! That’s why AltaVista named their web translation utility BabelFish!

So to get back into the good graces of the towel-wearing, Hitchhikers-reading crowd (which apparently includes a disturbingly large number of mommybloggers), I have translated some of my all-time favorite passages which I just wrote this very minute into French and then back into English, using the Babel Fish translator:

Original Sucky Masterpiece:
People who wear towels to work need to have their heads checked.
Peuplez qui les serviettes d’usage pour travailler le besoin d’avoir leurs têtes ont vérifié.
Populate which them towels of use to work the need to have their heads checked.

Original Sucky Masterpiece:
Not even I am a big enough nerd to wear a towel to work.
Non égal je suis un assez grand ballot pour porter une serviette pour travailler.
Nonequal I am a rather large bundle to carry a towel to work.

Original Sucky Masterpiece:
Have a happy Memorial Day weekend my blogging friends. Be careful with those towels near the grill, because one hundred fifty thread count steak tastes like shit.
Ayez un week-end heureux de jour commémoratif mes amis blogging. Faites attention avec ces serviettes près du gril, parce que cent biftecks de compte de cinquante fils goûtent comme la merde.
Have one happy weekend of commemorative day my friends blogging. Pay attention with these towels close to the grill, because hundred beefsteaks of account of fifty wire taste like the shit.

That last translated translation sounds a lot like the crazy Lebanese guy who’s always cursing at me when I walk by his cardboard box home: “What it is arue you to doing! You to stealing from me the things! The F#%K to you, and the F#$K to your the mother too!”

OK, enough fun for one day. I’d better go exercise now, since BabelFish says that I am a rather large bundle with nonequal.

tags :: : : : :

Promoting World Peace

I am much too timid in real life to insult stupid people. Thank goodness for the blogosphere, where I can do it using [square brackets]. Especially if it’s to teach geography or promote world peace. Because it just feels so rewarding.

This was from several years ago. I’m back in California now.

Moving Co Sales Lady: So, you’re moving to Singapore?

Jack: Yes, and I need you to tell me how much it’ll cost to send all my stuff there. [And what's with the mustache on your face. I thought they sell something that melts that stuff. Please consider using it so your upper lip doesn't look like a bright red broom after you eat a Popsicle.]

Moving Co Sales Lady: Singapore…is that, in, like, Africa?

Jack: No. It’s an island-nation towards the bottom of Southeast Asia, right on the equator. [That would be the north/south midpoint on the globe. We'll skip the lesson on lattitude and longitude for now, and stick to one- and two-syllable words.]
Not near Africa. [Please buy a globe and study it. And please seriously consider not having children.]

Moving Co Sales Lady: Oh, yes. I should have figured, since you’re Asian.

Jack: (trying hard to ignore last comment because, again, I’m timid). Since you’re asking, [Even though you didn't ask, but I'll tell you anyway in the hope of furthering world peace.] Singapore has the highest standard of living in Southeast Asia and a very advanced mass transit system. Everybody there speaks 3 or more languages, because learning English and Mandarin in addition to their native Hokkien or Malay is mandatory in their schools. They operate the world’s busiest shipping port. [This is a sincere attempt to reach out and tell you about an interesting place you may want to visit someday. I hope you paid attention instead of getting bored with your eyes glazed over.]

Moving Co Sales Lady: (eyes glazed over, returning to attention) Tell me which items you are going to send, so I can write up an estimate for you.

Jack: Well, pretty much everything here in my apartment. Except for the electrical items, of course. [And please don't touch anything I own. I know that your touching my stuff is unlikely to cause my future children to flunk geography, but I'm not taking any chances.]

Moving Co Sales Lady: (lower jaw touching floor, expression of horror on face) They don’t have electricity in Singapore?!

Jack: They do have electricity there. [See my short intro to Singapore from 2 seconds ago. They have a subway. It runs on electricity, not hamster wheel power. I guess my hopes for world peace are shot until natural selection phases out people like you.]
They just use a different voltage, so my alarm clock and toaster won’t work there. [You dumb pud. Here's ten bucks for the peach fuzz remover.]

tags :: : : : : :

How to Name a Chinese Restaurant

I’ve had a lot of friends ask recently, “Jack, how do Chinese restaurant owners pick a name for their establishment?” Actually, nobody’s ever asked me that (and most of my friends don’t use “establishment” in everyday conversation), but I just threw it out there as a way to enhance my weak storytelling skills. If I had stronger storytelling skills I would not have thrown it out there, and I certainly would not have admitted to making it up. I also would get back on topic real fast.

Because I am of Asian descent (see “Fob or Not?!?!“), I know these things. Here is how you pick a name for a new Chinese restaurant:

1) Pick a name from list A

  • Golden
  • Jade
  • Bamboo
  • Empress
  • Emperor’s
  • China
  • Panda
  • Hunan
  • Szechwan

It doesn’t matter what kind of food you plan to serve- you can randomly pick either Hunan or Szechwan because nobody in the U.S. knows the difference anyway.

2) Pick a name from list B

  • Dragon
  • Palace
  • Garden
  • Pavilion
  • Inn
  • Pagoda

3) Place A in front of B.

Congratulations. Now you have a name for your new Chinese restaurant.

tags :: : : : :

FOB or Not?!?!

FOB. ABC. No, I’m not singing a song that teaches kids to spell.

F-O-B! (pronounced “fob”, but usually with an exclamation, like “FOB!!!”) means Flresh-Off-Boat! A! B! C! means Amelican Bohn Chinese! Just a decade or two ago, Asian immigrants (FOB!) and their children (ABC! like me!), considered these labels to be badges of shame, connoting traits that just didn’t fit into the great American landscape:

FOB – Multi-variable length hair style accompanied by splotchy sideburns. Thin polyester jackets with two tone color schemes. White socks with sandals. Even worse- hiked up dark socks with sandals and shorts. Some funky, unsophisticated-sounding, non-European, definitely non-American chop suey accent.

ABC – Rice rockets (Japanese compact cars, for the uninitiated) with dark tinted front windows. High SAT math scores. (They just had to ruin the curve didn’t they?). Bad at sports. Socially awkward when outnumbered by WASPs.

Amazing how much can change in just a few decades. Most FOBs (at least from my parents’ generation) are a self-selecting group of earnest, enterprising, risk-taking individuals- how many of us would leave our homeland to pursue some nebulous, unquantifiable opportunity in a far away place where we don’t speak the language? As a result, many FOBs prospered. Don’t act all surprised. Just because they don’t speak English well doesn’t mean they’re bad at business. (pet peeve side note: if you are speaking to somebody who is not fluent in English, speak more slowly if you want them to actually understand you. Speaking louder does not help them understand you any better).

And FOBs’ ABC kids -with one foot in America and maybe a small toehold in some land across the Pacific (still gotta eat rice for 3 out of every 5 meals!)- actually scored ok on the SAT verbals. They played sports. Joined the debate team. Went to college (*ahem* University of Caucasians Lost among Asians). Became professionals. Lawyers. Doctors. Engineers. Internet tycoons. Intellectuals. Artists. Token Asian Guys on movie sets. A few semi-funny comedians. They wedged themselves into the great American landscape.

And America over time also began to reflect a slight yellow glow. White guys got yellow fever. They got married (one married my cousin. Go Rob!). They produced hybrid offspring (who apparently are “half white/half right”! haha courtesy of Jonathan Chin). Asian cuisines got fused into gourmet menus (by white chefs, but us Asians are more pragmatic than proud so we’ll take it anyway). Japanese cars set the new gold standard for reliability in the world’s largest automobile market. Jackie Chan made some hit movies in Engrish. Ang Lee won an Oscar. Everyone’s into yoga.

I don’t know if it’s cool to be a FOB or ABC. But any negative connotation with FOBiness has definitely been rapidly receding. Many value their FOB- and ABC-dom: It’s advantageous to have a rich multilingual, multicultural background when you inhabit a rapidly shrinking globe.

So whether you’re yellow, brown, black, red, white, or any other color (Barney:purple; Kermit:green…they’re American, aren’t they?!), let’s test your FOB-IQ! Since many FOBs these days are quite cosmopolitan, with respectable hairstyles, department store wardrobes and fluency in multiple languages, it may be more difficult than you think to figure out which of my friends below is FOB (born outside the U.S.).

For each of the pictures below, take your best guess…FOB or Not!!! The answers are in InvisoText.

(hold down your mouse button and scroll your over the white area to the right of each picture)

FOB or Not?!?!

Click your mouse here, hold down the mouse button and drag down over the white space below to see the answer.
Walter! He no FOB! He born in USA!!!

FOB or Not?!?!

Click your mouse here, hold down the mouse button and drag down over the white space below to see the answer.FOB!!! But Uma is married to a CA (Caucasian American) so she is undertaking a 7 step de-FOBbing program. She may even learn to bake one day. (Asians stir fry. They don’t bake).

FOB or Not?!?!

Click your mouse here, hold down the mouse button and drag down over the white space below to see the answer.
HE NO FOB!!! Not only is Bobby not a FOB, he’s half white!!!

FOB or Not?!?!

Click your mouse here, hold down the mouse button and drag down over the white space below to see the answer.
NOT FOB!!! Jon is ABC!!! But still a math major.

FOB or Not?!?!

Click your mouse here, hold down the mouse button and drag down over the white space below to see the answer.
Trick question!!! Lisa is not Asian (can you tell by the picture?), but she was born in South Africa- Honorary FOB! (Some would argue that affluent white immigrants are FOPs: Fresh Off the Plane! That is at least two classes above FOB if you are counting purely by mode of transportation.)

FOB or Not?!?!

Click your mouse here, hold down the mouse button and drag down over the white space below to see the answer.
Another trick question!!! Diana was born in Singapore, and currently lives in Singapore! NOT FOB!!! But if she lived in the U.S. she would be FOB!!!

FOB or Not?!?!

Click your mouse here, hold down the mouse button and drag down over the white space below to see the answer.
NOT FOB!!! Jenny is ABC, born in USA! She eats only hamburgers and speaks only English. She’s what’s called a banana (yellow on the outside, white on the inside. Hey, I just repeat this stuff…I don’t make it up).

FOB or Not?!?!

Click your mouse here, hold down the mouse button and drag down over the white space below to see the answer.
Super duper trick question!!! Clockwise from top left:
Shont: Half ABA! (American-Born-Armenian!)
Pat: FOB!!!
Katrina: All American! Not FOB, Not ABC, Not ABA!
Baby Olivia: Not FOB, Not ABC, 1/4 ABA! (“and damn pwoud ob it!” she adds).

FOB or Not?!?!

Click your mouse here, hold down the mouse button and drag down over the white space below to see the answer.
Phil! He’s of Korean descent, but despite the FOB-like hairstyle and unintentional half-’stache (so difficult to distinguish between “FOB”, “grunge” and “slob” appearance these days), Phil HE NOT FOB!!!

FOB or Not?!?!

Click your mouse here, hold down the mouse button and drag down over the white space below to see the answer.
Yet another trick question! (us ABCs are so tricky! Maybe it’s something we learned from our FOB parents!). Sandy hails from Canada, but lives in Cambridge, MA. He’s a FOC! (Fresh Out of the Car).

FOB or Not?!?!

Click your mouse here, hold down the mouse button and drag down over the white space below to see the answer.
Shirley! She’s NOT FOB! She’s an ABC! Can’t you tell? with a name like Shirley?!? That’s totally an ABC name.

FOB or Not?!?!

Click your mouse here, hold down the mouse button and drag down over the white space below to see the answer.
Tammy! Her brother is FOB! But she is ABC!!!

FOB or Not?!?!

Click your mouse here, hold down the mouse button and drag down over the white space below to see the answer.
Will! Born in Taiwan!!! FOB!!! Well, at least by the definition of FOB that I posited above. Will though would probably rather fight you to the death than allow you to call him a FOB! There are distinctions among foreign-born Americans, spanning varying degrees of FOBiness. Will mostly grew up in the U.S., so despite his pimped-out ride (FOB/ABC style), Will would argue that he and newly arrived FOBby FOBs don’t have too much in common!

So did you get any right? Is your FOB IQ sufficient?

Here is another test to gauge your FOB sensibilities. I am not providing answers to these- you will have to consult your own personal FOB or ABC friends for enlightenment:

When you go out for Chinese food, where do you go?
- PF Chang’s
- Sam Woo BBQ

What’s your favorite dish there?
- Chicken lettuce cups
- Boiled tripe

When you finish eating at a Korean restaurant and they give you a little cup of milky white liquid with little pellets on the bottom, what do you do with it?
- Rinse your fingers
- Drink it

When you order a rice dish at a Thai place, what utensils do you use? (Note: This may be a trick question. And if you are trying to game it, having guessed what I guessed you will guess, well then it may turn out to be a *trick-trick* question, where I have guessed what you guessed I guessed you would guess…)
- Chopsticks
- Fork and spoon

When you buy a new tv, what is the first thing you do to it?
- Remove the stickers
- Wrap the remote control in Saran Wrap

What floor, in a building, would you least want to be on?
- 4
- 13

What’s your opinion of durian?
- Tastes like heaven
- Smells like hell

When you go on vacation and arrive at your destination, what’s the first thing you look for?
- The spa
- Chinese food

In what order do you prioritize the following weekend activities:
- Eating
- Shopping
- Camping
- Eating
- Hiking
- Shopping
- Eating
- Reading
- Shopping
- Partying
- Eating
- Concerts
- Shopping
- Eating

tags :: : : : :

Maximizers and Satisfisers

Our friends Cung and Alice introduced us to this Maximizer/Satisfiser concept. I’ve since expanded on it so it’s probably unrecognizable to them at this point. Thank goodness for creative license. I guess one person’s creative license is another person’s bastardized brainchild.

Maximizers price shop. They compare. They check out floor samples. They do lots of research on the internet before making a purchase. They’re not necessarily cheap- they often like and want good stuff. They figure out what to buy based on the vectoring of such factors as features, quality, price, looks and cachet. I’m not quite sure how to graph that -there aren’t enough axes if your feeble mind, like mine, is unable to conceptualize beyond three dimensions- but you get the point. They always want it at the lowest possible price. Well, the lowest price from a reputable vendor that doesn’t sell their wares out of the trunk of an ’82 Buick. Sometimes the cost in time and effort exceeds the actual dollar savings or the added utility of getting the best features in an item, but they go through the exercise anyway. For some, finding the best deal becomes a bit of sport. It’s not like they always need to get the best deal for something- it’s just that they can’t sleep at night unless they know they did. Maximizers can also sometimes fall into the grip of analysis paralysis, in which case they just don’t buy anything for a while to give them time to consider even more details that range in importance from earth shattering (well, maybe not quite earth shattering but somewhat important) to insignificant. Maximizers I bet are often insomniacs (Me).

I bet a lot of “maximizers” hail from middle or upper-middle class backgrounds. Pat’s friend from med school, Justin (he is an Australian heterosexual guy who wears cosmetics- go figure), once told us about his summer selling shoes at a department store. The kids from lower income families would save up for a new pair of sneakers, and when they finally had enough money they would walk into the shoe department, point to the pair they want, and wear them out of the store with the tags still attached. Easy sale. The rich customers would go in, usually without much of a clue, ask the clerk which one or two styles they recommend, take a quick look, and make a choice pretty quickly. Price is not terribly important to them, and they just buy what seems to look good and feels comfortable. Again, easy sale.

The middle class customers, however (especially the educated, working professional types) would go into the store and examine every little aspect of each style they were considering, to the most minute detail. They would compare and contrast the material, the price, the stitching (memo to shoe shoppers: it doesn’t matter if it’s American or European, Nike or Addidas- they’re all manufactured in the same shoe factory in China by some lady who used to be a farmer but now lives in one of the factory dorms, eats in the factory cafeteria, sends her two kids to the factory school, and now spends 12 hours of her day stitching your Nike running shoes that you just discarded last week after you accidentally stepped in a big steaming pile of dog poo). Definitely not an easy sale.

Satisfisers are the store clerk’s wet dream. The rich shopper example from the shoe store is a classic satisfiser. They know what they want (“Honey…I stepped in some dog poo…I’m going to get a new pair of shoes!”). They drive to the mall to get it. They ask the clerk which one looks good. They might try one on to be sure the thing’s not a foot death-trap. They go “hmmm…I like the little bright red flap on the back of the shoe…let’s see…$250…sounds good!” Then they whip out the credit card, and are quickly on their way.

Satisfisers don’t do endless amounts of research. At most they’ll ask one of their maximizer friends what to get and where to get it. If their maximizer friend starts to expound too much on the pros and cons of the different choices, the satisfiser’s brain automatically switches to thinking about something totally different- this is a highly evolved defense mechanism designed to keep the satisfiser brain from being overloaded with seemingly useless details. Satisfisers I bet fall asleep before their heads hit the pillow (Pat).

Ok so I called myself an insomniac and classified myself a maximizer. That’s not entirely true. I often have trouble sleeping, but I am not really a maximizer. I am a cheapskate. Cheapskates are cheap for cheap’s sake. They revel in being cheap, and they don’t care too much about quality. They just want it to do the job, and most importantly they want it cheap.

If Neutrogena Shampoo is considered good and reasonably priced (Pat), the cheapskate buys Suave anyway because it’s cheap and besides, it’ll take at least 15 years of continued use before it makes you permanently bald (me). In those 15 years, the cheapskate would have saved $2,343.53 in inflation-adjusted dollars by using Suave instead of Neutrogena. If that’s not more valuable than personal scalp-follicle longevity, I don’t know what is.

Cheapskates don’t throw anything away, because that AC/DC adapter for the cheapskate’s now-damaged, discarded calculator may come in handy someday in the future. Who knows, maybe one day they’ll make an iPod that needs the same voltage, wattage and plug size as that Canon calculator from 1988. Or that broken cordless phone. The one with so much static buzzing that you can’t actually hear any discernible sounds, and on the other end the person talking to you thinks you’re calling from Alpha Centauri. That thing’s still in the linen closet, with the power adapter neatly taped to it. Just in case McGyver shows up with some bad guys on his tail and needs to construct a morse code communicator with the parts.

Mind you this is all relative. Some people can afford a luxury car but still drive a Civic. They are cheap. If they drive a Lexus, they are likely maximizers (lowest maintenance luxury car). If they drive a BMW, they are likely satisfisers (fun to drive, but they didn’t quite consider the high maintenance costs when they bought it). Some people can only afford a 1985 Civic but drive a brand new Acura. They are headed for personal bankruptcy at worst, or a lifetime of renting their home at best.

Ok so now you know what I am. Which one are you?

tags :: : : : : : :

Bad Boys and Ex-Wives

OK I never really gave this much thought previously (being a guy and all), but lately I’ve been hearing a lot of talk about how women perceive guys. I guess a lot of ladies like to date cool, irresponsible bad-boy types for boyfriends, and then when they are ready to settle down they go for husband types, who are not so “exciting”, not always the best looking, but very responsible and have actual careers. none of this “i’m a screenwriter, but i’ve never been paid to write scripts so i wait tables on the side…you know, to make ends meet.” yep- i bet you’ll be “makin’ ends meet” till you’re old and wrinkled pal (ok my secret is revealed, now you all know which camp i identify with as if that were ever in doubt haha).

so i won’t go on some tirade about how i’m not into shallow girls who perpetuate this whole pattern of behavior and make life for us nerdy guys even more miserable than it would have to be until we turn 30. because for a lot of women, the tables get turned later in life. because the inverse (REverse? some math guy help me out here) of [boyfriend type > husband type] is [first wife type > second wife type]. always funny how second wife type is often the same age as first wife type when first wife first got married.

of course those of you who know me know that i was fortunate enough to skip all of this, b/c pat stuck w/ me when i was young (but never cool…poor pat) and through all the years that i got older and even more bad looking (because unlike paul lu, i can’t admit i’m a pretty good looking guy!!! hahah! see favorite quotes). since she skipped the whole [boyfriend type] phase, it’s only fair that i stick to the [first wife] phase even after midlife (maybe i’ll just go buy a sports car instead when i get to that point).

tags :: : : :


(it’s pronounced “muh – khhai – um – khha – lhhem!!!!”). It’s when the Arab guy (played by a very funny but definitely not Arab Eugene *Levy*) tells his wife to be quiet in Father of the Bride 2. hahaha Funniest scene ever. I try to use it on Pat every once in a while but she just gets angry and punches me.

tags :: : : :


So in a recent article of newsweek or time, this guy (let’s presume he was adopted b/c i don’t remember that part of the article) grew up thinking that he was at least partially african-american. he spent time re-connecting with that part of his identity. then he took a dna test and found out that he’s part native american, part cambodian, and not even partially african american.

an old college friend was told by his parents -in his late 20s- that he was adopted, and that his birth parents are actually his aunt and uncle. talk about events that can shatter your whole world.

there may be a lot of things that we don’t know as inidividuals, but one thing you think you can count on is knowing who you are. so your whole life you think that knowing oneself is probably the only thing you can be completely sure of. it doesn’t take any faith. it’s completely empirical. and you’ve had verification of it with every waking breath you take.

so what happens when that perception gets shattered after having been defined so concretely over so many decades? does it make you question *everything* about yourself? does it change the way you behave? does it change the people you let into your life, and how you interact with them? does it change the way they interact with you? so does newsmag guy spend the remainder of his life connecting with a whole new set of lost roots? does he foresake the connections and sense of identity he developed when he thought he was partially african american? is who we are defined by the genes that are embedded in our cells when we are conceived, or is it mostly the result of the sum of our experiences?

tags :: : : :