Last one in the gene pool is a rotten egg

By Chuck Sigars | May 02, 2012

I’m going to write a few sentences about my cooking abilities, but I want to emphasize that this is for analogy purposes only. Don’t take notes; there’s absolutely nothing to learn here.

I can cook, though, by which I mean that if you want an omelet, I’m your man. Need a chicken roasted? I can do that. Same thing with pasta al dente, a variety of homemade soups, and grilled cheese sandwiches.

I know what you’re thinking. This actually sounds like a description of a father with small children. That’s where I learned it, as it turns out.

My point, though, is that while I CAN cook, I’m not A cook. I have no special skills, aptitude, or interest. I can slap something together and usually it’s edible (check expiration dates! Trust me!), but that’s as far as I go.

Now for the analogy. I can also sing, and you can complete this all by yourself, I have faith in you.

I sang some in high school, because I liked to be on stage and some plays had singing roles. Occasionally I’d grab my guitar and sing something, usually a famous song performed by someone who’s singing skills were on par with my cooking.

Or, to use another analogy, I can sing a little. How far would you ride with a guy who said he could “drive a little”? Maybe around the block. So you’re getting the picture.

And even now, once a week I sing in my wife’s choir. This allows me to be social, to stay engaged, to share some time with my spouse, and to wear whatever I want underneath the choir robe. It’s not a chore.

Recently, though, it was decided that I’d sing a short number from a famous musical as part of a fundraiser, vocalizing for a good cause. This was actually one of those part-talk/part-sing songs, almost a patter song, so I wasn’t worried, but I practiced a little. I had a recorded accompaniment so I sang along, then recorded that and listened to myself.

I played it for my wife, and we both acknowledged a couple of errors and bad notes, and then I noticed something.

“I think I sound too old for this character,” I said, and my wife nodded.

“I wasn’t going to say anything,” she continued, “considering the way you’ve been lately.”

You thought I was writing about singing. Silly readers.

For a guy who is rapidly approaching his 54th birthday, I consider myself extremely well adjusted in terms of aging, by which I mean I’m accomplished at lying to myself. I avoid pick-up games of any sport, I try to hang out with people older than I am, I’ve developed the art of looking at mirrors sideways and only quickly, and I almost never, ever allow myself in the vicinity of a camera.

I obviously don’t look 25 years old, but then again maybe I do. It’s almost an art form.

But after attending a recent reunion, pictures starting popping up online, and what shreds of delusion I still retain started to tremble and then fall off.

This culminated in two, not one but two, comments on a recent picture posted on Facebook from the reunion. I thought it was an OK picture, not goofy, not embarrassing, not showing that huge bald spot I have on the back of my head.

And yet these two thoughtful commenters, one a family member and the other a family friend, mentioned that I have developed a startling resemblance to my grandfather.

Let’s be fair. They didn’t say, “You remember when Grandpa had a stroke and was in the rehab center and really sick and then he died? You look like that.” But of course that’s what I was thinking.

Hey, I enjoy seeing family resemblances, but mostly in other people. I want to look unique, as if I were dropped on this planet, an accidental delivery from a totally different gene pool, which frankly would explain a lot.

Reality. The fact is, when my grandfather was 54 I was 12; by personal family parameters, I’m overdue for the next generation.

And I’m overdue about facing facts, not to mention mirrors. I may share an age with Madonna, Alec Baldwin, Prince and Kevin Bacon, but then again have you seen Madonna lately? Particularly the back of her head?

So even though no grandchildren are yet on the horizon, my day is coming and apparently I already have the look. Which I’m cool with, really. Just none of those silly nicknames please, no Pee-Paw or Poo-Pappy for me. They can call me Grandpa or Grandfather or Dude. Mr. Chuck will be fine, too.

And I will cherish and love them, and make them grilled cheese sandwiches, and sing until they ask me to stop. I’m too young to be this old, I keep telling myself, but it turns out I’m just about right.

And Alec Baldwin has put on some weight lately, have you noticed? Me too.

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