Labor Day weekend featured wedding bells for Zembla, or, more accurately, wedding bells near Zembla. Yes, one of my many cousins tied the knot on Sunday, and my hundreds of relatives descended on Palo Alto for the occasion.
An unnamed former NFL quarterback was part of the wedding party, which was quite exciting. One of my aunts was quite unimpressed. "Who's got a ball?" she repeatedly asked during the reception. "Let's go outside and see what he's got." The rumors that she made the choke sign as he walked down the aisle are as yet unsubstantiated.
I felt closer to my family than ever, recognizing how much I loved them all, but, more importantly, how much of what I think is my own personality and tastes is really just deeply embedded in my DNA. For example:
Standing at the generous open bar next to two of my aunts, I ordered my standard summer drink, a gin and tonic. Immediately I realized that both aunts are also drinking gin and tonics, as was nearly every blood relative in sight. Since it was Labor Day, I began musing about the imminent end of gin and tonic season. "Of course," said Aunt #1. "You have to switch drinks once the weather gets colder." I was shocked, given that I thought I came up with the habit of season beverage switching on my own. We even agreed on the correct autumnal beverage: Jack and coke.
That's not all. Certain addictions run through my family, besides the booze. There's definitely a nurture factor to these things, but I also firmly believe that a Keane child stolen at birth by wolves and raised in the forest as part of the pack until adulthood would return to regular human society and immediately begin chewing blue gum, doing crossword puzzles, and drinking Diet Coke fanatically. Maybe the wolf-boy would opt for regular Coke or the Jumble, but that's about the furthest that the apple would fall from the family tree.
Personally, every day I become more of a clone of my father, Dennis. At the wedding, I was told by multiple horrified guests that my "dancing" was disturbingly similar to his. Since I had already been thinking of my continued Dennimorphosis, I noted the incident on a Post-it stashed in my pocket, only to recall that earlier in the weekend that Dennis himself had written notes to himself on scraps of paper and Post-its he kept in his own pockets.
It only gets worse (or, I guess better - you could become a lot worse than Dennis). On Saturday night, I tried to open the vent on a hot barbecue lid with my bare hands, barely avoiding a severe burn. While I was telling Mom about my stupid actions, I was interrupted by a yelp from outside, as Dennis made the exact same mistake. Later, at a gas station, I locked the driver's door when I got out to pump gas, even though there were people sitting inside the car. As I unlocked the door, my younger sister shook her head sadly, and mouthed "DEN-NIS".
So maybe my personality is much less unique than previously thought. Still, I find it comforting to know I can nerd out about Tolkien with Dennis anytime, that I can shamelessly steal funny voices from my mother and aunts, and that even when it's 3 in the morning and I'm drinking Budweiser out of cans next to a hotel pool, my cousins will agree with me that there's no better way to deal with the empties than constructing an Egyptian-style beeramid. I have some tentative blueprints on the back of an Arco receipt I shoved in my pocket, if you want to see.