The answer to the “nature vs. nurture” debate is similar to a standard closure for any “meeting that could have been an email.” We need to “meet somewhere in the middle, find the right balance, the happy medium, etc.”
We’re simply a product of both. For a case study, just look at Dexter Morgan. A forensic blood-spatter analyst for the Miami-Metro Police Department, Dexter’s earliest memory came from when he was barely a toddler and some no-good drug dealers brutally murdered his mother, then left baby Dexter trapped in a wooden crate, splashing around in his mother’s blood – surrounded by her dismembered body parts.
This experience caused Dexter’s subconscious to form a coping mechanism – which he called his “Dark Passenger.” ahem, nature. Unfortunately, this ornery little stowaway rearranged Dexter's Maslovian pyramid placing murder at the highest in his hierarchy of needs.
Fortunately, after being rescued, Dexter was taken in by a foster parent, Harry, who noticed that his new foster child was a little iffy. So, Harry guided Dexter's Dark Passenger toward killing, but only killing the bad guys (e.g. other serial killers.) You see, nurture!
Similar to young Dexter, I was also destined to be a little off. Unlike Dexter, I’m not a fictitious antihero-protagonist from a DVD boxset that I purchased for $9 in a Best Buy Cyber Monday sale. Spoiler alert: the series peaks at season three.
Also, I’m not a serial killer...though that’s exactly what a serial killer would say.
Quite literally coming in hot, I was born in July during a heatwave that could be defined as Mother Earth's ‘woman scorned era.’ Killing between 4,800 to 17,000 people and causing more than $120 billion in damage, the scorching heat led to what would later be known as the 1988 North American Drought. It was the worst drought since The Great Depression’s chart-topping hit, “The Dust Bowl”.
The heatwave triggered a series of events that would not only shape me as a person – but also create a magnetism to weird energy that would follow me for the rest of my life. It was nature setting the tone for nurture...
Because of the elevated temperatures, the air conditioner on the maternity ward floor at Burlington Medical Center in Burlington, Iowa, had to work much harder to cool the air, causing it to eventually break down.
Because of 3 days of false labor and 10 hours of labor in a hospital that felt like a sweat lodge, a tired and sweaty Janet and Ronald Ramsdell decided that—after the nurses wiped off all the slimy stuff and the doctor reassured them that their baby boy was healthy—they would make a quick getaway back to their well air-conditioned home on Starr Street.
Because of their decision to break protocol and make this abrupt exit, they skipped out on completing any of the standard paperwork that one usually fills out after giving life to a new human being. You know, admin. stuff, legal stuff, the massive hospital bill, the birth certificate, etc, etc,
Because my birth certificate and other papers were not completed in-house, it all arrived in our mailbox and was quickly tossed into a messy filing cabinet – where it would remain until I was 14 years old.
“You’re name’s Baby Boy? Sir, do you have a second form of identification?” the miserable lady working the counter at the DMV asked with that trademark disinterested poise.
“Uhh… my name’s Jordon.” I stammered.
I'd already waited in line for an hour, she's gotta let me take the test to get my learner’s permit, I thought to myself. Also, who calls a 14-year-old “sir”?
She sighed, annoyed.
“It says here that your name is “Baby Boy Ramsdell,” without two matching forms of ID you will not be able to take your driver's test,” she said in a single breath.
Confused, I looked down at the birth certificate in question and stepped away. If my mom tried to negotiate, which she probably did, I don't remember, I was too disappointed. I just wanted to get my permit... it's a right of passage.
"She doesn't know what she's talking about," my mom said as our big beat-up van rolled out of the DMV-Montgomery Wards-Sears Photo parking lot. Tears welled up in my eyes.
It turns out the lady did know what she was talking about.
After some calls to the County Health Department, Social Security Office, and County Courthouse, it was determined that at the age of 14 years old, I had to legally change my name from Baby Boy to Jordon Paul, because. my. parents. didn't. bother. to. name. me.
Update: To this day, neither of their signatures appear on my birth certificate.