DNA testing is the rage. People are discovering long lost relatives, famous ancestors, and occasionally dread diseases. As for me? Even without spit or cheek swab testing, here’s a list of five things I know conclusively are NOT in my DNA.
1. Can’t Scarf
There are two kinds of women in the world; those who can tie scarfs in ways that are clever, chic, and attractive; and those who cannot.
My niece, a world-renowned shoulder surgeon, can scarf, but I cannot. I don’t think her father, my brother, could scarf. So, the scarf gene definitely comes from her mother.
Through the years (decades), I have bought multiple books proclaiming they can teach women how to tie scarfs in clever, chic, and attractive ways. And in those books, I have folded over pages and pages of clever, chic, and attractive scarf styles I would like to wear. But though I have practiced and practiced, I have failed.
Yes, when I scarf, I look like I:
have a sore throat
am a mummy
am a dummy
My niece, the world-renowned surgeon, on the other hand, looks:
Like a world-renowned surgeon
2. Can’t Dance
No, I can’t dance. Don’t ask me. I look like a crane in pain.
Although I wasn’t born with two left feet, I cannot rumba, cha-cha-cha, rumba, samba, salsa, mambo, merengue, foxtrot, waltz, bunny hop, jitterbug, lindy hop, Charleston, frug, twist.
No, I cannot dance despite my mother logging many hours driving me to ballet and modern dance lessons in Stony Brook, Long Island, NY; Tucson, Az., and Las Vegas, Nv.
And alas, I cannot dance despite wanting desperately to look cool to boys on the dance floor during junior high school, high school, (not college), and the occasional appearance at a bar or disco during my adult dating days.
3. Can’t Do Most Sports
Popular sports I can’t play include, but are not limited to, basketball (bad aim), gymnastics (not limber enough), field and track (way too much running), volleyball (I might break my nails), marbles (again, I might break my nails), and swimming (which I actually love, but because of ear problems, I cannot put my head underwater).
Sports I excel at jacks, window shopping, and actual shopping.
4. Can’t bake. Can barely cook
This is a puzzler from a DNA perspective. I come from a direct line of great cooks and bakers. My mother made belly-busting great meals. My grandma was a baker supreme. Several of my first cousins from Europe became bakers in America and made eclairs with élan and napoleons even Napoléon Bonaparte would have loved.
Yet, if you’re a regular reader of Muddling through Middle Age, you know my baking attempts are laughable. If you’re married to me or born of me, you would simply describe my baking attempts as lamentable.
I didn’t have operatic ambitions, but from an early age, I dreamed of becoming a Broadway musical star. Alas, I couldn’t — and still cannot — carry a tune in a bucket or a ten-ton truck or even a C-130 Hercules four-engine turboprop military transport airplane.
In junior high school, I was elected president of the choir two years in a row. For a decade, I bragged about how “popular” I was among my singing peers. One day my best friend pulled me aside and told me to stop telling that story; people smirked each time I did.
“Why?” I asked chagrined.
“Because,” she explained none-too-kindly, “you had a terrible voice. You were kept busy doing administrative tasks like taking attendance instead of singing. It had nothing to do with popularity.”
And that was the death knell to any thought of a career in musical theater.
That and the whole “can’t dance” thing!
Done with DNA
Yes, it is true. I cannot scarf, dance, do sports, bake or sing. And truth be told that’s just the shortlist! I also cannot knit, sew or … Oh, well. Let just stop there.
But now that I’m middle-aged, here’s one thing I can do and that is — muster up enough courage and confidence to admit my shortcomings and carry on. In my youth, I used to suffer and sweat because of my limitations and failings, but no longer … or at least not so much.
And that, my middle-age muddlers, that ability to accept myself, shortcomings and all, is a gift.
So, who needs DNA testing to know who you really are? In my case, it’s as plain as my two left feet!