Nadworny: The Mel Gene

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Commentator and digital strategist Rich Nadworny is aware that
teaching your children is never easy, but lately he’s been wondering
what makes us do or teach our kids certain things.

(Nadworny)  A recent study at
Harvard uncovered some exciting news: they found DNA
that controlled behavior in mice. In the experiments, scientists looked at
several kinds of burrowing mice, including one species that always created an
escape route when digging a nest. They interbred different species and were
then able to isolate the DNA that
corresponded with the escape hatch diggers, identifying for the first time a
direct link between genes and behavior.

They’ve only done this in mice, mind you. We’re still pretty
far from human studies that show how genes may control our behavior. In the
meantime, we parents are left with indoctrinating our kids the old fashioned
way. My latest project involves making sure that my kids appreciate Mel Brooks
as much as I do.

I started by showing them Young Frankenstein. They seemed to
like that a lot, so I picked up the pace. In short order I made them watch the Broadway
version of The Producers, Blazing Saddles and old episodes of Get Smart.

The experiment worked so well that my youngest went around
belting out "Springtime for Hitler" for two solid weeks. We had to remind him
not to sing it in school, since it might cause trouble. But when my kids
started randomly throwing out quotes like "Mongo just pawn in game of life" my
chest swelled with pride.

To be honest, I grew up this way. My dad loved the old TV
program "My Show of Shows" so we grew up watching The Dick van Dyke show by
Carl Reiner, Get Smart and we listened to all of the 2000-Year-Old Man records
with Brooks ad-libbing with Reiner. I remember going to Young Frankenstein and
Blazing Saddles with my dad, sitting next to him as he laughed and laughed. On
the way home he’d explain all the old movie references. His indoctrination
worked; my siblings and I grew up loving Mel Brooks.

Yet as I’m explaining this, I’m starting to realize that
maybe I didn’t really have a choice, introducing this to my kids. Could it be
that I simply have the Mel Gene? Maybe I do it not because I love it, but
because my DNA is forcing me to do it? If
so, it’s conceivable that my family inherited this Mel Gene from my dad. I’m
not sure if this would count as a new mutation or some older one, maybe some
odd humor gene passed on for thousands of years to laugh in the face of human

I think those researchers in Harvard need to get to the
bottom of this fast. I’m sure this is information people would want on and for genetic birth choices. In the meantime, we’ll be watching
"Silent Movie" soon, either because we want to – or have to.

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