Posted on | July 8, 2012 | 48 Comments
Reagan, 9, and Emerson, 11, with their Dad at the
Marine Corps Memorial in Arlington, Va.
FROM AN UNDISCLOSED LOCATION
Among the numerous hassles which convicted terrorist Brett Kimberlin imposed on my family with his “I-know-where-you-live” call to my wife’s employer was the necessity of disposing of our old refrigerator. This meant moving the refrigerator down a flight of stairs, loading it onto a pickup truck and then putting it in a dumpster.
Choosing the dumpster as the refrigerator’s final destination was our 19-year-old son Bob’s decision, about which my wife was skeptical.
“How are we going to lift the refrigerator that high?” Mrs. Other McCain asked, obviously doubtful about our ability to raise that heavy monstrosity far enough to clear the top of the nearly seven-foot-high dumpster, when the only available manpower was her, me, Bob and his 13-year-old brother Jefferson.
“Don’t worry — we can do it,” Bob said. “Trust me.”
A sanguine temperament in action is a marvelous thing to behold, and the question that puzzles social scientists is whether such things are a matter of nature or nuture. Are distinctive personal traits — as in this instance, my son’s confident “can-do” spirit when confronted with a seemingly impossible task – the result of environment and upbringing, or are they an expression of genetic heredity?
Both factors obviously matter to some extent, and I’m not a social scientist, so there’s no obligation for me to come up with a definitive answer as to the exact role played by genetics and environmental factors in determining personality. However, I was obligated to get rid of that refrigerator, and had confidence in Bob’s plan for getting that done, even though he hadn’t bothered to explain what his plan was.
First, we wrangled the refrigerator out of the kitchen, down a flight of stairs, out the front door and onto the truck, an accomplishment in itself. When we got to the dumpster, Bob directed my wife, myself and Jefferson to get under one end of the refrigerator, while he slid the other end off the tailgate of the truck. If you’ve ever seen the famous image of the Marines raising the flag atop Mount Suribachi, that’s the basic explanation of how the rest of Bob’s plan worked.
And it did indeed work.
Afterwards, as my wife and I were riding together in the truck, she said, “You sure do have a lot of confidence in Bob.” But why shouldn’t I? Bob and his twin brother Jim — indeed, all of our six kids — have in general accomplished anything they set their minds to, and if Bob says he knows how to move the refrigerator, why should I doubt him?
The boy scored 98 on his ASVAB tests, and the Army recruiter thinks Bob will make a Green Beret, which naturally worries Mrs. Other McCain, but I’m not worried at all. Who should really be worried? America’s enemies, knowing my son will soon be coming after them.
Moving the refrigerator was just one of the hassles we had to deal with after Brett Kimberlin pulled his “I-know-where-you-live” trick. Another was that my wife wouldn’t let me post this video of 13-year-old Jefferson celebrating his “superior excellence” in eighth grade.
The last question in that interview was kind of a pop quiz, and Jefferson passed with flying colors. Nature or nuture? A little of both, I say.
– Robert Stacy McCain, Whereabouts Unknown