Breeding: The Unromantic Word for Falling in Love and Starting a Family

And the strong (obnoxious, boring, weird, weak, normal, overachieving, nerdy, cool, self-destructive, righteous, intelligent…) survive.

I am fascinated by Animal Planet. It’s impossible not to learn something cool after watching even 15 minutes of that channel. A few weeks ago I saw a special about the mating rituals of rams. The female ram stays at the top of a rocky mountain and all of her “gentleman callers” begin the climb from the bottom. Each of them attempts to be the first to get to the top of the mountain while fighting off (sometimes to death) the other pursuers. Whichever ram proves he is the best protector and provider during this process and proves himself best to care for the she-ram. All in the name of mating. The she-ram will be taken care of by the best possible male and breed with the strongest and healthiest.

From a romantic perspective, we humans fall in love and spend the rest of our lives with the one person we can’t imagine living without, eventually having children with them as an extension of that love. But from a scientific and psychological perspective, we subconsciously choose the person who is most like ourselves yet with enough necessary opposing complimentary traits for a healthy and balanced relationship. I used to have a hard time understanding how women who find themselves in an abusive relationship finally leave it, only to end up with another abusive man. Or how the rudest, most obnoxious jerk of a guy can end up marrying a woman who seems completely normal.

I get it now, though. The match to an abuser is an enabler. The match to a chaotic person is often a someone who needs to control chaos or be controlled by it. Then they have babies and pass along those same extreme virtues to them and the cycle repeats.

Similarly the same thing happens for the rest of us, who are not abusers, enablers, or drama kings and queens. Without realizing it we find, meet, fall in love with, and start a family with the person who is best qualified to pass on our shared attitudes, values, interests, and weird quirks. I married the woman who was best qualified to make it through the tough times and big decisions with me, as well as be the best companion to just simply hang out with when nothing is really going on. Even though it’s strangely unAmerican, we’re not big sports fans. Sometimes I like to remind my wife how lucky she is that she never has to worry about me wanting to watch “the big game” while something is on TV that she wants to see. And we share a fanatical Kosher diet which sets us apart when we order at restaurants: To the waiter at Macaroni Grille, “Do the meatballs here have pork in them?” But we’re cool with it and wouldn’t have it any other way.

Certified "Not Kosher" by KSA

I’ve given a couple of examples of shared quirks between my wife and I, and believe me, there are plenty more. Obviously, every couple has their own quirks within their shared culture between the two of them and they also eventually pass along to their children. Looking past all romantic elements, we humans subconsciously now how to breed our own kind.  We don’t want to see our own version of reality and normalcy become extinct.  So in essence, that’s where babies come really from:

Our strengths, our weaknesses, our quirks.  And the cycle repeats.

For the more sensitive and romantic version of “breeding”, check out my “dad from day one” series.  (I deemed this particular post too much of a black sheep for it, so I made it a spin-off instead.)


The Token Bad Guy: Osama bin Laden is Dead

From Ben Linus to bin Laden, evil has a name.

Now that President Obama announced that Osama bin Laden is officially dead, it makes me think about how there always how to be a “bad guy”, both locally and world-wide.

In Judd Apatow’s Jewish comedy (a franchise he has specialized in for the past decade, based on a strategic formula including Seth Rogen and/or Paul Rudd, a good dose of bromance, a classic soft rock soundtrack, mostly ad-lib dialogue, a heavy and almost dark dramatic element somewhere in the plot line, a running time of at least 2 hours and 15 minutes, an unpredictable ending but no “twist”, and constant references to reproductive organs) Funny People, there is a scene where Adam Sandler’s character is babysitting his ex-girlfriend’s two young daughters. As they play, one of the girls takes him captive like he’s a dragon, while the other has come to rescue him. He looks up at them and says to each one, “Are YOU the good guy or are YOU the good guy?”

While in cartoons and children’s own made-up playtime storylines the antagonist often takes pride in knowingly being evil, in real life the Bad Guy usually doesn’t realize that he’s the Bad Guy. It amazes me that there always has to be a handful of countries in the world that serve as a current Bad Country. It’s been England (watch the movie The Patriot about the Revolutionary War). It’s been Germany (the Nazi’s). It’s been Russia (watch Rocky IV) and still kinda is.

Why can’t the evil leader of a country think to himself: “Oh no! I’m ‘that guy’. I’m the bad person that’s causing problems with the rest of the world. I need to start with the man in the mirror and change my ways”. From what I’ve read about Adolph Hitler, in his own mind he simply was carrying out an ultimate version of Charles Darwin’s concept of “survival of the fittest”. He was only advancing what he saw as in the inevitable. He wasn’t a sadistic tyrant, not the way he saw it. He didn’t see himself as the Bad Guy.

From each holy war ever fought in history, down to the elementary school bully, the true villain is doing what is right according to his own view. The Bad Guy is dead wrong, yes. But he doesn’t see it that way.  While obviously I don’t have the potential to become a radical tyrannical leader of threatening foreign country, I still can find myself in a similar scenario as North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il, by simply being the Bad Guy on a much lesser scale in everyday situations and not realizing it. If only Bad Guys always realized they’re the Bad Guy… well, it might help a little.

“We’re never gonna win the world, we’re never gonna stop the war. We’re never gonna beat this if belief is what we’re fighting for.” -John Mayer (“Belief”)

*Some bad guys, like this one, may or may not repent of their evil ways in the end.

America’s Got Talent But That Doesn’t Mean They All Have Fans: Why Getting Rich and Famous Like Lady Gaga and Justin Bieber is Just So Darn Tough!

The first thing I randomly thought of when I woke up this morning was who else shares my birthday with me.  There’s Adolph Hitler (b. April 20, 1889).  And Joey Lawrence (b. April 20, 1976).  And then I (b. April 20, 1981) realized that Joey Lawrence is one of those washed out actors I keep forgetting about.  I’m sure if he had the chance, he would love to be back acting in the spotlight.  But the best he could do was to sign up for Dancing with the Stars a few years ago.

Because despite his ability to act and his good looks, America isn’t buying his product anymore.  Like Pauly Shore and Alyssa Milano, they will always have a place in our hearts.  The place labeled “early 1990’s”.

To a degree, almost everyone can sing decently, at least.  But having an amazing voice like Adam Lambert or Taylor Hicks means nothing if people don’t actually buy their music.  Or even buzz about their music on Twitter.

And that is the Survival of the Fittest of the entertainment industry:

“You can sing?  You can dance?  So can I.  So can everybody.  So what?”

 

Without that personal connection with fans, without that “Gotta Have It” trait an entertainer needs, their talent is as forgettable as any failed TV show that Christian Slater or Jerry O’Connell or Jay Mohr has tried to pull off.  Likeable guys, just not enough of that connection with the audience.  What they don’t have, wondergirl Lady Gaga is full of.

Some people are born with it, others are not.  Will Smith has it.  He can pull off being an action star by fighting aliens in Independence Day and he can play a cool, charming gentlemen in the romantic comedy Hitch.

Why do so many people feel they can connect with Will Smith and Lady Gaga?  I don’t know.  And if I did, or if anyone did, that secret would be utilized by everyone struggled to be noticed.

Heck, even Paris Hilton has talent and knows how to use it.  Though it’s easy to say she can’t act, or they she’s fake, there’s no denying that she knows how to play one part very well: the part of a rich American heiress.

She knows how to look like a movie star, speak like she’s from Connecticut, and at the same time she knows how to foolishly party like any young “in the moment” actress in Hollywood.  And as long as people say they are annoyed by Paris Hilton, she’s doing a good job.  The day she is taken seriously is the day her career is over.

 

Of course, sports stars are a little bit of a different story.  Arizona Cardinals running back Tim Hightower’s athletic career isn’t based on his ability to connect with fans.  It’s based on his physical ability to perform.

But even then, there is that professional golfer whom I’m way tired of hearing about.  And his disconnection with his fans definitely caused a distraction in his career.

But when an actor or singer does the same thing, if anything, it may even help their career.  It’s not uncommon for them for have multiple failed marriages.  It’s almost expected.

Funny how we hold different people to different standards like that.  I’m so glad I’m not famous.