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Mon, March 25

Column: Love of cheese trumps dominant genes

Courtesy photo<br>Casey hopes his daughters won’t inherit his beard.

Courtesy photo<br>Casey hopes his daughters won’t inherit his beard.

As a father to four daughters, I often wonder about what my legacy to them will be. What little bit o' me will be passed on to them, and by extension, to future generations, until all alive will have this singular trait or quirk or characteristic that can be directly traced back to me?

Will it be my generosity? My sly sense of humor? My kindness to baby animals? Or, as it will almost certainly be, my overwhelming love of cheese?

It's hard to say, certainly, since I'm a lone wolf in a pack of... girls. Okay, that metaphor didn't pan out, but you catch my drift. I'm a dude. They aren't.

Don't get me wrong, I love my four daughters dearly. I can't imagine having sons. Of course, when number 4 daughter was about to make the scene, my wife and I traveled to Glendale to have an ultrasound done. I just knew that, after 3 daughters, this child simply HAD to be a boy.

I engaged in the gambler's fallacy. If you flip a coin 10 times, and get heads every time, you are convinced that the 11th time, it would be tails.

Of course, the odds of the coin toss coming up heads is still 50/50. In fact, it probably would be better to bet that the coin would come up heads again, not because of probability, but because you're probably dealing with a double-headed coin.

My wife and I were both shocked - shocked! - that another girl was on the way. Four girls. Four-fifths of a basketball team. And they would be my minions.

So, I couldn't teach my girls how to shave (and I will not be passing along my "luscious facial hair). I also didn't have to escort them to the bathroom, either.

But it's always so interesting to see the ways that your kids take after you, things that you would never think would be genetic. What will be my legacy?

For example, my youngest daughter, Charlie, loves scary things. During a recent trip to Ikea in Phoenix, we let each child pick out a stuffed animal. My oldest chose an enormous heart. My second two children chose puppies. And my youngest? What did she choose among this panoply of stuffed toys? What most spoke to her?

She chose a stuffed rat.

I loved spooky things as a child. When I was 6, I tried to rechristen our dog and cat "Dracula and the Wolfman." It didn't take, of course.

But it isn't as if I foist scary things upon my children. Granted, they have stumbled into the living room during some rather inopportune times, when their daddy just so happened to be watching a scene from a movie in which a rather fetid zombie has decided to eat the brains of a poor, squealing victim.

My other daughters don't like scary things, though. Not in the slightest (beyond Monster High dolls, of course, which are just fashion-centered enough to overcome the fact that the dolls are, in fact, hideous, flesh-craving monsters.

My oldest, Isabelle, has my sense of humor. But it seems to be a very, very dry form of my sense of humor. It's brilliant, actually. Sure, all parents think their kid is brilliant, but my daughter's brilliance is not just in science and math and the other academic pursuits. It's in her ability to drop an Oscar-Wilde-esque bon mot into conversations. Usually at my expense, I agree, but still, I can appreciate a well-timed, well-crafted insult.

My second-oldest, Annie, is entirely like me in her love of pop culture. She loves music and movies and TV and will endlessly please and irritate me with her knowledge of those things. Her current favorite of all things is Katy Perry, and I've heard the song "Baby, You're a Firework" so often that I no longer care that Katy thinks that I am, indeed, a colorful combustible. Okay, I care a little.

And my third-oldest, Jessie, is entirely like me because... you know what? I don't see any similarities. In fact, I want to be more like her. She's the happiest, smilingest, laughingest kid in the world. It's impossible to faze that kid. Her joy is contagious. So, with Jessie, I hope she leaves me a legacy instead.

Still, I like to think that I leave something to the generations that follow with my daughters. As Roman poet Marcus Annaeus Lucanus once said, "Some men by ancestry are only the shadow of a mighty name." Wow. Way to be a downer, Mark. Maybe it's different with girls.


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