When my son, Alexander, came along, Mendel did a 180. Pale, pale skin, light brown eyes (my eyes are green) and super-blond hair. He, too, hit the jackpot (if we had ever decided to move to the Alsace-Lorraine).
They grew up as tight a pair of siblings as you'd ever encounter. I assume they recognized their physical differences, but neither we nor they ever really talked about it. The only problem we ever had was when dumb-ass people in public would ask (in front of the kids), "Do they have the same parents?"
My answer generally involved a remark or two about the questioner's parents.
They are so close that, even as adults, they travel together. Last year, they went to New Zealand and Australia. The year before that, they took a couple weeks to travel through Scandinavia. The sad thing is that if locals had seen them in Copenhagen or Auckland or Sydney, they would've said, "Oh look, a couple Americans."
But here in their own country, America has become a vile garden of calculated bigotry and innate racism, irrigated by the spittle that leaks from Donald Trump's twisted mouth and tended to by his sycophants on the radio and TV and the internet. If my kids walked down the street in many parts of this country, Trump followers would say, "Oh look, there's a good American...and he's walking with an invader."
A few years ago, something happened to Darlene that we used to joke about in a half-hearted manner. As an Ivy League-educated civil engineer (with, like, 18 sets of initials after her professional name), she was invited to attend the centennial celebration of the completion of the Panama Canal. She had a good time visiting the canal, but when she flew back into the United States (in Houston), ICE put her through 12 kinds of Hell. She was taken out of line and searched. Her luggage was tossed. She was taken into a room and asked all kinds of questions. When it was over, she was offered neither an explanation nor an apology. Alexander said, "Next time, take me with you and that won't happen."
That's not so funny anymore.
What's also not funny are the words that are coming out of the haters' mouths these days. They used to be provocative and challenging. Then they because vapid and vile. Now they're turning deadly. People are dying because the president of the United States is laughing at the suggestion that dark-skinned people who are trying to enter the United States should be shot. It's not funny; it's un-American.
And it's not just him. There are professional talkers who are less self-absorbed and less stupid than Donald Trump who could nudge the discussion back on track without losing their heavy-breathing audience, but they choose not to. For example, every time there's a mass shooting (or two), the most repugnant man of the face of the Earth, Sean Hannity, screws up his vape-face and whines about how it's a knee-jerk reaction that Democrats always bring up gun control after a mass shooting. I would like Mr. Hannity to remove his nose from between Donald Trump's butt cheeks and answer a question for me. When exactly are we supposed to talk about gun control?
It's simply human nature to think about trying to figure out how we, as a society, got to a point where teenagers can own weapons that will allow them to kill dozens of people in a matter of a couple minutes. Of course, there have been guns and gun violence in the United States for as long as there has been a USA. But 200 years ago, people had blunderbusses that took an hour to load, only fired sometimes, and were deadly only if fired at a range of a couple feet.
The weapons used in these mass shootings have one purpose. They're not for target practice or hunting. They exist only to kill large numbers of people.
So, Sean, when are we supposed to discuss trying to get rid of them, as democratic Australia did not that long ago and equally democratic New Zealand is in the process of doing? You'd probably prefer that we wait for that day in which there are no gun deaths in America, because that day is never going to come.
It's no better on the radio. Today, the morning clown echoed Fox TV by claiming that white supremacy is a hoax. Really?! Does that mean that Heather Heyer is still alive? The president and his talkers have gone too far and now people are dying because of it. And the talkers think that they haven't gone nearly far enough.
It's scary out here and it's going to get worse. It almost makes me wish that my daughter's skin wasn't so dark.