Biology Doesn't Prevent Learning

Article excerpt

Byline: Elizabeth Seney, Shorelines columnist

A few weeks ago there was a crisis at my house.

Amazingly, it arises in one form or another fairly regularly: The remote control to the upstairs TV was missing.

I was working on the computer when the problem was presented to me.

"Mom, someone has stolen my TV controller," one of my teenage sons announced.

"Well, I'm in the middle of work here," I said. "Did you look under your bed?"

"I looked everywhere," he said.

"Well, look again," I suggested.

Several minutes passed before I was interrupted by my other son and daughter.

"We did not take his remote control," they both vehemently declared. "Why would we want his stupid remote anyway?"

A little later, my husband came into my office.

"Someone must have taken the controller," he said. "We can't find it anywhere. It's going to be hard to replace. A universal remote will not have all of the options the original had."

Obviously, I was not going to get my work finished until the mystery of the missing remote control was solved. I knew it wouldn't take much time or effort to find. It rarely does. Sure enough, in less than two minutes, I found the controller under a blanket folded up in a bookcase.

It amazes the males in my family that I am able to find things so easily. It amazes me that they can claim to have looked for something without moving piles of dirty clothes, checking the gap between the mattress and the bed frame, looking under pillows and stacks of magazines and in the backs of drawers. In other words, unless the missing item is sitting right out in plain view -- in which case it would not be missing to begin with -- the males in my house cannot find it.

The reason I am the only person in the house who can find things is simple -- I'm the only one with a woman's eyes. My 9-year-old daughter one day will have them, but not anytime soon.

"Until about 10,000 years ago, when we shifted to agriculturally based societies, we spent millions of years hunting and gathering. …