Raised by Wolves

Our friend, Lindsay Beyerstein, of Majikthise, relates endearing details of her childhood while explaining that it is possible to be the child of academics and still be a decent person (unlike, say, Alex Rawls–yes, son of the John Rawls):

Cash20blog203_1My parents met in Berkeley in the 1960s while my dad was doing his PhD. Being raised by academic hippies is like being raised by wolves–you can rejoin human society, but you can never integrate seamlessly.

In my family, even pets and infants are addressed in complete sentences. There are no taboo subjects, except when the conservative relatives visit from the interior. Then we can’t talk about religion.

I remember the day in kindergarden when one little boy announced that he had a baby brother. How did that happen, someone asked. The kid said something about God. Other kids were floating theories about angel-storks. I felt I had to set the record straight. Many children cried. My mom was called in for a parent-teacher conference. The teacher was very upset.

“Did she tell the truth?” Mom asked.
“Oh, yes,” the teacher said, “In great detail.”
“I don’t think we have a problem, then,” Mom said.

My uncle, the philosopher, used to be a heavy smoker. One day when I was about six, I said, no doubt irritatingly,

“If I were you, I wouldn’t smoke.”

He answered, “If you were me, you’d smoke. I smoke.” I thought about that for a long time.

Another early philosophical memory is from a long car trip. My mom sent my dad to the library to get some books on tape to amuse me 10, and my brother 6. He came back with “The Death of Socrates” and “On The Road.” By the time we reached southern Washington my brother and I were sobbing inconsolably and mom looked about ready to kill dad. The mood brightened after we popped in “On the Road” and mocked the dated sex scenes as a family.

More here.  [Lindsay needs money for a new computer. Help her!]