Thursday, August 8, 2013

The DNA of Discoverers: Engineering Babies, part III


Great minds dress their children alike...

...even by accident. This particular day, being non-morning people,
mommy and abba did just that with no knowledge of what the other
parent did. It was pre-coffee.

Our shirts say "I (pizza slice decal, presumably 'love') pizza"

Which came first - the t-shirt or its truth?
Never were truer words ever emblazoned on a t-shirt
We were quiet. Too quiet. That alerted our parents that something must be wrong. Abba snuck in behind us.

This is what he saw: Both Lucas and I standing near the wall, heads cocked to the side, deep in contemplation. Electrical cord in one hand (I won't say who's), but two babies, as one, willing the prongs to align properly into the socket.

"What are you doing?" Abba's voice pierced the moment, ending our quest for a proper plug in.

Abba quickly shut down the operation. "But did you get a picture first?" Mommy asked. (Priorities.)

We can't help it. God made us this way. The curiosity of discoverers and engineers has imbued our DNA. Long has the Spirit of the Schiavi Brothers come to rest on Lucas and I. See, we take after GongGong and his younger brother Anthony. GongGong was an electrical engineer for decades and now runs a vast network of computers - two big hobbies of Lucas and mine. And Uncle Anthony was a chemist in the making, running experiments - preferably on his bed - with chemicals he requested that his brother sneak out of the school labs. Well, at that time, he didn't have to "sneak" chemicals out of labs because in those days experiments with chemicals were usually run on beds, not public spaces.

Uncle Anthony was blessed that his own children, John and David, had their own version of the Spirit of the Schiavi Brothers rest upon them. They certainly had their own tales of dissecting computers, downloading fatal viruses onto them, quoting key lines from cartoons even in church ("What's he got there - corn liquor?" Johnny asked of the priest during communion) and creating other public spectacles, sometimes with relatives from Italy present - a big faux pas in that culture (between tears: "Grandma, mommy choked me! It's not right to choke a little child!").

Then there is also Gianni, first cousin of GongGong and Anthony, who had his own share of engineering techniques like experimenting with vanishing ink for the first time ever on his mother's brand new white couch. Luckily the vanishing part of the name lived up to expectations, although it was a tense few minutes as Gianni waited out his fate with Zia Adele, his mother. He says he never prayed so hard in his life.

No matter what their eventual career choices, these relatives of mine liked to get into the nitty gritty of how things worked - and that usually meant to take those things apart. Or to light firecrackers indoors in a box next to your father's bed. Or set the curtains on fire. Or aim rubber-tipped cannons at freshly painted white walls in the house in order to assess one's aim.

Lucas and I still have much to aspire to!

Lucas apprenticed with a carpenter one day at the market

Actually he stalked him. Naturally.




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