Back in my day, there wasn’t such a thing as a spoiler.
Well, unless you went to see The Cannonball Run before everyone else and could tell your friends how Dean Martin and Sammy Davis Jr. place in the race. So that was me, age 9, in the middle of a Greeley, Colo., movie theater, with mind blown.
Before mind blown was even a thing.
I was watching The Empire Strikes Back – Episode V, for you dinkledorphs who insist upon that – when one of life my life-altering utterances occurred right there on the big screen. [It was hokier than I remember. See it here]. When Leia tells Han that Luke is her brother.
My reaction? “Say what??” and not in an inside voice.
Han’s expression matched mine when the Rockies made it to the World Series that one time. Or when I looked in the pizza box after the girls had eaten and there was still a slice. A corner one. Of the deep dish pepperoni pizza. Wild fortune, I tell you.
Go Ask Daddy is a weekly feature in which I answer five random questions my kids have asked me. Currently, the list numbers more than 300, and I use random.org to select questions for the week.
1. Why can’t you marry your brother or sister?
You just can’t, even in a long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away.
There’s tremendous social pressure against it, first off. (Animals do it all the time, well, not marry, but you know … but we don’t, and perhaps that’s a reason we’re at the top of the food chain.)
Social pressure is influential. It keeps people from picking their nose in public or wearing Ray Rice jerseys.
A cursory examination of the Old Testament gives evidence that Cain perhaps married his sister. Consanguineous kids, meaning, those for whom mom and pop are related more closely than second cousins, still occur.
Some cultures see such close marrying as a societal safety measure.
A sibling will have nearly identical DNA as you. What does that mean? If there’s a disease chromosome in your DNA, it’s likely the same in your sibling. On your own, you’d have a 50% chance of passing that on to your kids.
Marrying a random person outside your family brings a lower chance at nearly identical DNA. If they don’t carry it too, chances you’ll pass the disease on are .5%. Siblings with a common genetic defect have a 25% chance.
Each consanguineous pairing after that increases the odds exponentially. That’s a lot of science and stuff.
2. Who was the oldest football player?
If I played in the NFL today, let’s just say I’d be taking aim at the record. Geez. The late George Blanda played long enough for his sideburns to come in style, go out, and come back again.
George Blanda lasted 26 seasons, taking the field on Jan. 4, 1976, at age 48. Tony Hawk, Marilyn Manson, and Celine Dion are 48. I don’t think any of them could nail a field goal right now. [See highlights of Blanda’s Houston Oilers days here.]
Blanda played quarterback for Bear Bryant at Kentucky. He was a clutch quarterback and kicker for the Chicago Bears, Houston Oilers, and Oakland Raiders. Kicker Morten Andersen played until age 47, still automatic as he approached geriatric.
Also, the rumor that both were groomsmen for Cain is probably false.
3. Is Queen Amidala in The Phantom Menace played by the same girl who played Elizabeth Swann in Pirates of the Caribbean?
Wow. So, I thought I’d launch into tributes to Kiera Knightley and Natalie Portman.
Instead, I discovered that Kiera actually was in both films. She played the role of Sabé, Queen Amidala’s handmaiden in The Phantom Menace (Episode I, for you dinkledorphs). Grace, she was 12, your age, at the time.
Even Kiera’s mom had trouble telling the difference between Kiera and Natalie Portman.
Natalie played the role of Padmé Amidala, who became a princess, queen then senator. Anti-war and pro-rebellion, she’s my favorite liberal of all time. And speaking of family ties, she married Anakin Skywalker (secretly) and is Luke’s and Leia’s mama.
That makes her Han Solo’s mother-in-law (“Han, do you have to fly the Millennium Falcon so fast? There are meteors out here!” and Kylo Ren’s grandma.
4. When was another time you used the F word?
Besides when I figured out Kiera Knightley actually was in Star Wars?
I’m not a perfect dad. Far from it. I do try and keep my cursing slip ups to the acceptable PG-13 range, which is almost acceptable, given my youngest is 12. That assortment of blue language begins in the mild (damn) and falls short of the profane (you know, the F word.)
I first heard my dad use it when he hit his thumb with a hammer. It brought the word legitimacy because the only place I’d heard it was at school and on HBO. This was a grown up putting it in the dialog of life. Woah.
(And yes, I’m stalling.)
You’re asking for just one other instance I used it, other than the slip up in front of you that day? (I wasn’t even angry, just careless.)
During our game Thursday (under my breath), in traffic Thursday, in a Slack conversation at work, when I stubbed my toe going for a midnight snack Wednesday, when I couldn’t find my wallet/keys/Ninja Turtles watch, or when I got a particularly kickass apple fritter.
You get the picture.
5. Why are tomatoes sometimes white?
Let’s first envision the types of tomatoes we’re proud to place on our plates.
They’re red and they’re juicy. Meaty, I say, although it’s the opposite of meat. You know what I’m talking about. It’s the kind of tomato you can put on your burger (or turkey burger, for me, this month), and you get tomato taste through and through, not just on the fringes.
Some tomatoes, like heirloom varieties, have a thick white core, which isn’t so delicious. Fast food restaurants like to find the ugliest, whitest tomatoes off the tomato truck to place in their premade, overpriced salads, which led to this question in the first place.
This is why dad avoids fast-food salads, children. It’s almost enough to make me say more bad words.