Chronicling The Legend Of Jackson Wood: Year One


Precociously “taking the initiative”, JW arrived early, and continues to engage. Like all legends, there are surreal shadowy myths weaved into the perfunctory, blurring veracity—and, as Dave, my son in-law has counseled, truth shouldn’t obstruct a good story; and so, the saga of JW begins.

There is a hint of a parallel with Rudyard Kipling’s character Mowgli in the short story Rukh, which JW personifies. For those who are not familiar with the moral laden anthropomorphize Jungle Book of Kipling, where a child is lost, orphaned to  the Indian jungle during a tiger attack, and, fortuitously a wolf, Father Wolf, happens on the bedraggled, trepid man-cub and corralled him back to the den to be nurtured by mother, Raksha (protector) wolf. Father Wolf promptly and aptly assigned the moniker Mowgli, which translate to frog, because he was furless and in an incessant kinetic. Let me be unequivocally and litigiously clear, JW was not lost in the Blue Ridge Mountains; however, he has as his constant companion two dogs: a Golden retriever, Gatsby and a Labrador retriever, Lucy. This canine comradery will profoundly, in my, GOBY, humble opinion, influence his life’s filter of insights.   

Temporal progress of munchkins is assessed in terms of: modes of mobility, mastication and articulation. He did not conspicuously display any virtuosity in the categories of movement, eating, or talking; bidding his time, I presume. Chillin’ with normalcy, he cooed, cried, and dispensed excrements at will; and then, there was a sighting of purposeful movement: he willfully completed a spatula turn of supine to prone. His self-propelling progressed; where, in ten months he was crawling, and thirteen, walking. These triumphs of portability were accomplished in evolutionary increments. The maneuver of crawling, at its inception, he exhibited a faulty motor skill transmission; it was stuck in reverse, he would push himself backwards to get to his destination. He finally found forward and his acceleration speed tripled. Walking, a two-step stratagem; required that he implement the gravity defying feat to stand upright and balance; then, commandeer the assistance of his pudgy legs to take turns moving forward. The goal was not to stumble and fall: pain was a consequence and incentive. His initial gait emulated his Hominidae cousin, the chimpanzee, with their pendulous sway. His stumbling and chimpanzee sway were tweaked and corrected with repetitive excursions of bipedalism. 

Mastication is still in its infancy; progress is inextricably linchpin to dentition: The current count of teeth is six. He combines a gumming, teeth tearing employment to reduce morsels to a digestible aliquot to slide down his water-hose esophagus to preclude an obstructing choking episode. He has an inordinate fondness for chicken, smoked salmon, and strangely enough, cat food, to be followed by a beer chaser.  This implores a summoning from the deepest recesses of my hippocampus, the idiom “you are what you eat.” That reference is attributed to Antheleme Brillat-Savarin in Physiologie du Gout, ou Meditations de Gastronomie Transcendante, 1826:

“Dis-moi ce que tu manges, je te dirai ce que tu es.” [Tell me what you eat and I will tell you what you are].

What exactly can we adduce about JW from his eclectic eating proclivities? Possibly, a budding genius, yea, I’m going with that assertion; after all, he is my grandson.

His articulation, a confounding complexity of the anatomical communion of lung, vocal cords and articulators: tongue, palate, cheeks, and lips; which engender his nascent garrulous gibberish with the random recognizable word that has us squealing with exuberance, parroting the sacrosanct verbiage with a dog decibel pitch hopefully enticing an encore. His current exhaustive vocabulary is: Dada, Mama, Lucy, Gatsby, and debatable cat. Yea, I know what you are thinking, how do I explicate the precocious phonation of the dogs names? If you listen carefully, you will hear in the distant background a humming loom weaving the canine conundrum myth; the dog man rapport compact, a contractual pack that transpired, “came to light”, in the dark, dank caves of dawning Neanderthal: the answer lies there; the codified mystical incantations evoking permission to surpass the world’s natural laws of physics, chemistry and biology. The dogs, Gatsby and Lucy projecting the personification of father wolf and Raksha innately petition the ancient rituals of the esoteric covenant. Hence, in compliance with the antediluvian compact, JW adroitly enunciates the family’s dogs’ names.

Generally, all conversations regarding human ontogeny, usually, address the issue of the brain; which invariable splashes over into the intransigent debate of nature vs. nurture: the dichotomy construct that purportedly contributes to the IQ. I overtly dodge this contentious topic because, “it aint’ easy to assess” especially within the flippant format that I presently contrived here in this essay…a lot of authors use the expressed cop-out of, it, the subject that is cumbersome, is beyond the scope of the story line, and clumsily throw the reference grenade—I just pulled the pin. However, beyond the ravaging prickly thorns of the briar patch debate that assigns ownership to the agent of brain power potentiating reasoning, that is uniquely Hominid, exclaims another higher mental prowess that Homo sapiens possess: moral judgment. The source of this lofty gray-matter endowment is scaffold with hormones (oxytocin), and the plausible innate and heritable impulse to imitate empathetic behaviors. JW’s parents, Melissa and Justin, love animals and the altruistic, respectful kindness, which is demonstrable daily to the family pets has not escaped the scrutinizing attention of my grandson who precociously emulates. Empathy is inextricably implicit to moral judgment and watching my grandson gingerly pet our cat Copernicus suggest that were ever his brain’s epicenter of empathy resides, it most assuredly is hypertrophied.