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Friday, August 23, 2013

Congenital Jet Lag

Here is a Normaphoto of vegetables from her garden. They are in a bowl made long ago in China. Norma uses China instead of Portuguese ceramics because she is not related to bowls handed down from my side of the family. That's ok, I guess. Heirloom tomatoes are best displayed in one's own heirlooms. I believe there is a law about it in France or Portugal. But we are here to discuss my Great Grampa. I write my second story:

In the 1840s, Great Grampa had to go see his school counselor:

"Olá Chico, do you know why I have called you in?"

"Yes, Senhor Conselheiro. It's about my career-aptitude test result, isn't it?"

"Smart fella! Yes, it's in this folder. I have seen its content and cannot explain it."

"But sir, there are only three careers in Portugal, convict, farmer and sailor. What else could there be?

"Look for yourself, Chico. Probably a computer glitch."

"But it's the 1840s. Computers are over a century away!

"That's a glitch."

"Sir, it says I am to be a sailor AND a farmer...in America! It also says, 'Watch out for jet lag.' What is jet lag?"

"Bate o inferno fora de mim. But consider the compass: it points north on land and sea or any direction in an iron cage. Good luck, Chico. Your future awaits!"

So, being a gentle sort, Great Grampa signed onto a whaling ship that supplied pets to people with really big fishbowls. It was a fad that never quite caught on, and created an emergency at sea --a financial one. The captain ordered that all hands abandon ship and go join the Gold Rush. It looked like this:
Great Grampa had never seen gold and couldn't imagine what color it might be, so he was reluctant to test his ability to prospect it. He headed up the delta into the valley to raise vegetables for the booming populace of miners booming in boomtowns, and was by all  accounts happy about it. Then his hearing went funny. Great Grampa thought maybe all the booming hurt his ears and he should get help.  Otologists were rarer than computers back then, so he got married and asked his wife what was wrong with him. She got out the globe:

"Look," she said. "Here you are in the old country."

"Yes, an upstanding young man."

"Of course, Chico, but then you came to America. Notice anything?"

"Meu Deus! I am standing sideways!"

"That's right. It has affected your inner ear, made you lazy and uncoordinated. Stand sideways long enough and your body hasn't the least idea what time it is or what it ought to be doing!"

"What does one call this calamity?"

"Jet lag."

"I have heard of this! There is no cure?"

"Not yet. Like computers, jets are far in the future and generations will come and go before the problem is identified, even longer 'til remedies are found."

"Oh, I have condemned our descendents to great suffering."

"No, they'll just be night-owls who can't really think until noon."

"Will they hate me for this?"

"No Chico, they'll be thankful you didn't jump ship in China." 

13 comments:

  1. Loud smiles - and thank you. Great Grampa made the right decision about growing vegetables in exchange for gold rather than grubbing in the ground for probably very little.

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  2. Norma's Chinese bowl of garden veggies is very nice - - but your Portuguese bowl of colorful (colorized?) family history is even more delightful.

    I laughed out loud when you said that there are only three careers in Portugal: convict, farmer, sailor.

    That brought me to the sobering fact that there are only two "careers" in Hungary: criminal and gypsy. My relatives can attest to the fact.....

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  3. Geo, you must be so much fun at parties. I wish we were neighbors.

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  4. E.C.-- Thank you for commenting. Yes, Chico (Portuguese nickname for Francisco) grew veggies and did fine. The Gold Rush mixed up the world's peoples pretty well.

    Jon-- Most kind. But I may have exaggerated some historical points and embellished others. All dialogue, however, is absolutely accurate.

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  5. Arleen-- I garrulate here but have been described as "Gary Cooper" quiet at parties. I would love to be your neighbor!

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  6. Happy they didn't jump ship in China...LOL. You tell the greatest stories. :)

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  7. Michelle-- Thank you. Yes, then my whole genealogy would be upside down!

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  8. Ancestral bowls of tomatoes and history. What an interesting start to my day. The 1840's were much more advanced than I ever realized lol.

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  9. Interesting excerpts from your Great Grandpa's memoirs haha. And I concur with Elephant's Child...he definitely made the right decision to avoid the madness of the Rush.

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  10. Dangit! I was wondering what happened to that pet whale I ordered in 1840.

    I do love Normaphotos.

    Very funny and clever post — as always!

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  11. Sounds like gardening must be in your genes. (The ability to tell a terrific tale, too!)

    Norma's veggies look super.

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  12. Nice idea.

    Just be grateful that Gramps didn't make it down here to NZ, or his head would probably have exploded from hanging upside down for too long.

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  13. Fun-loving tale....and so true about the night owls! LoL

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