Tuesday, April 15, 2008

A Shocking Experience

This month's topic for the Carnival of Genealogy asks participants to talk about traits handed down to us from our ancestors.

What traits run in your family? Which of them did you inherit? Do you have your mother's blue eyes? Your grandfather's stubbornness? Your aunt's skill with knitting needles? Is there a talent for music in your family? Or do you come from a long line of teachers? Have you ever looked at an old photo and recognized your nose on another family member's face?

I could tell you all about my sometimes morbid sense of humor. Or about my light brown hair, that as a child I swore meant I was adopted since everyone in my immediate family had dark, dark brown hair. I could muse about where my temper comes from, or where my tendency to overanalyze things originated. I could ponder which of my traits were shared by those who came before me. I do this quite often anyway, you know. So today I'm not going to tell you about all of that. Today I'm going to tell you a little story.

You see, I have a little problem that is big-time annoying. And often painful. If you ever saw me getting out of my car you'd have an idea of what this problem might be. Or at least when it manifests itself. When I get out of my car, I hesitate to touch the car door to close it. I make several silly-looking attempts to put my hand on the door before I actually do. Sometimes, I even hesitate to put the key in the door.

It's the same thing when I turn a light on or off. And when I go to open the sliding patio door. Or attempt to touch another human being. Like the song says, " it starts in my toes then I crinkle my nose ..." (from the song, The Bubbly Song by Colbie Caillat). I cringe when I have to touch nearly anything. Even if there is wood around.

What is this little problem? Well, I have this annoying tendency to get static shocks when I touch anything. I'm not talking about a little "zap" here and there. I'm talking about a ZAP nearly everywhere -- sometimes I even see little blue and gold streaks. Touching wood before touching anything metal or containing metal does not work. Shoot, I even touch the wall and get a shock from the metal framework behind it. Believe it or not, I have even shorted out THREE computer mice by touching the blasted things. Yes, you read that right. I've touched the mouse, gotten a shock, and the mouse stopped working. THREE times this has happened. Rebooting doesn't help, unplugging the mouse doesn't help. Only replacing the mouse helps.

I keep a can of Static Guard in my car and at home. I have Scotch Guarded the new fabric chair I just bought (the heck with good back support, what was I thinking?) as well as the carpets in the house. I have even asked the doctor if this could be something physiological or nutritional. She looked at me as if I was from outer space. I have switched from dryer softener sheets to liquid fabric softener, and this has helped. It has not solved the problem, but it has helped. I should buy stock in the skin moisturizing companies; I use so much of it I keep them in business. I live for the monsoon season, though not for the spectacular lightening that people in Arizona just love (I am actually quite frightened of it), but for the fact that we actually have moisture in the air and that prevents the shocks.

So why am I posting this in a COG article about traits? A few months ago I was talking to the wife of my father's first cousin and she said "You know, Tom has that exact same problem".

So just which of my ancestors can T om and I blame for this electrifying trait?