According to Gregor Mendel, the geneticist, we each ought to have received the particulars and peculiarities of our individual noses from persons directly related to us in some previous generation. I have a ‘Sisk’ nose. But whose Sisk nose is it? I finally figured out that I have Uncle Bill’s nose.
My family will point out that Uncle Bill was a missionary priest whose nose genes were likely not directly related to mine. I think, though, that I’ll keep his nose for the time being, since he is no longer using it and because it functions pretty well. But what genetic rules explain how it ended up on my face?
I suppose most priests ponder at some point the irrelevance of Mendel’s peas to their genetic situation. After all, they have sacrificed their genetic potential for a higher, eternal cause. Did my uncle ever wonder, as he tied the white cord around his brown Franciscan robe, “Who will get my nose?” I guess it isn’t too much to ask. And I suppose most priests understand–and even pray–that such rhetorical questions are never purely rhetorical, when asked by someone who should be in close communion with God.
I am less in communion with God than the average priest, but my question about my nose is no more rhetorical. And I think I’ve discovered a nice Catholic answer that even Sarah Palin could like. With apologies to Mendel and Nietzsche, I theorize that God, in a gesture of thanks to priests and nuns for their vows of chastity, has reserved a means of trading peas among our pods. This may sound simplistic. But we’re talking about God; it doesn’t need to be complicated.
So, I have Uncle Bill’s pea–and it smells.
I mean, I smell with Uncle Bill’s nose.
God knows what I mean.
June 28, 2011