Tuesday 9 December 2008


A lesson in genetics

In my family, there is something called the 'bothering gene'. This is a lighthearted reference to our proclivity to wind each other up and push each other's buttons. Don't worry, we don't unleash it on the general populace, just within the family. It is mostly innocuous but occasionally sinister, mostly when we were children and bothering was muddled by hormones and the unfettered enthusiasm of youth. The gene originated on my father's side of the family and this is the track it has traced through our families.

As you can see, none of us carriers have married other botherers, but it has passed on to most of our children. The unborn baby has not been determined yet, as I don't believe they have isolated the bothering gene yet for genetic testing. If they have, the HMOs are keeping it quiet.

So what are the symptoms of this bothering gene? For one, an extraordinary talent in finding the things that annoy others. Secondly, the ability to creatively interpret this information into actual annoying behaviour. And lastly, steadfast dedication to the cause of bothering. Of course, all of this applies to the other botherers in my family. I am like the vampires in Twilight, I chose not to practice the dark art (although others might dispute this- see this post for example).

Jamie and Maia have recently discovered that I don't like my belly button messed with, and that sticking their little fingers in there makes me squeal. Consequently, they and have launched a campaign to do just that whenever the opportunity presents itself. They work with frightening synchronisation, one distracting, they other perpetrating.

Beyond that fact it just feels creepy, I think it originated with Evans family folklore. Alex Evans was my best friend growing up, and I remember being told by either her or her grandmother that if you messed around with your belly button and untwisted it that your arms and legs would fall off. I was also told that if I fell really hard on my bum-bone that spaghetti would fall out, but I'm not too worried about that one.

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