I have often wondered why the general population is so much unalike. Even identical twins are not genetically identical. Their skin tone, weight, height or personality, to name a few characteristics, may be different.  

The reason is that every time a cell divides — as occurs in the developing embryo — your DNA must replicate, a very complicated process.  Even though there are more than 7 billion people on earth each of us is unique. (The world population is projected at 7,874,965,825 or 7,875 million or 7.87 billion as of July 1, 2021. The global population is estimated at 7,794,798,739 or 7,795 million or 7.79 billion for the year 2020.) 

According to a study conducted by the University of California, Berkeley, the amazing variety of human faces — far greater than that of most other animals – is the result of evolutionary pressure to make each of us unique and easily recognized.   Not only do we not look the same but we also have different personalities, tastes, aspirations, diets and interests.  I have met with families with a number of children and found them each different in many ways, in some cases decidedly so. 

To use my own life as an example, I am not a bit like my younger brother even though we are similar in age.  His life style, politics, food preferences, hobbies, skills and even his health are in direct contrast to mine.  For one, he is a staunch Democrat, I tend to vote Republican.  He likes whiskey (Jack Daniels),  I prefer a beer or just lemonade.  He enjoys watching NBA basketball – it bores me. The books he reads are not on my list and he has little interest in science. My brother is an avid bridge player, I have never been interested in the game and find it too competitive. He likes Mexican food, I relish something Italian. Give me pasta and meat balls and sauce with plenty of parmesan cheese most anytime. I could also add that he is a lot smarter than I am and likes to travel.  He enjoys driving, I am a menace on the highway.   He dislikes yard work, whereas I can’t wait to plant tomatoes and harvest my strawberries. I should add that my children and I share very few of the same interests or enjoy the same movies or television that I do.  (More about movies to follow.) 

My brother aside, think how much you and I differ.  As an example, for breakfast I have a KOR shot and Natalie’s orange or grapefruit juice followed by a double expresso made with my new Nespresso machine and a specially ordered Thomas corn toaster muffin with date and bacon jam.  I sprinkle my coffee with a Turkish powder blend made with Middle Eastern spices including cinnamon, cloves, cardamom and ginger.  I doubt that anyone here in the United States enjoys that same combination for breakfast.  I shower using Harry’s body wash and follow with one of Hawthorne’s colognes and Ahava’s spray moisturizer. I order all three on line as I do with my Oxygene tooth paste and mouth wash, both have a lemon flavor. (I love anything made from lemons, pie and cake especially.) I also enjoy bay rum fragrance and use a shave brush, bay rum shave soap, and bay rum after shave lotion.  I shave with an electric and Gillette fusion razor.

In addition to a contrast in eating habits and hygiene, we all appear to enjoy different varieties of entertainment.  I am, or at least was, a movie buff.  My favorite top five would be “Goodbye Mr. Chips,” “The Godfather” versions 1 and 2, “Shane,” “The Best Years of our Lives” and the “Court Jester.”

The latter features the funniest scene ever filmed. It occurred  prior to a jousting battle.  You can view it on You Tube. “Goodbye Mr. Chips” was made in 1939, the year generally recognized as the halcyon year for films. It starred Greer Garson (my favorite actress) and Robert Donat. Others that year included “Gone with the Wind,” “Mr. Smith goes to Washington,” “The Adventures of Robin Hood,” “Wuthering Heights,” “Jesse James,” “Dark Victory,” “Gunga Din” and “The Wizard of Oz.”

Most are still being viewed and enjoyed some 80 years later.  I rarely watch contemporary films because of all the violence and needless profanity.  In my humble opinion, today’s actors lack the skills, depth and training than those of yesteryear.  The same is true of modern music, performers and comedians.  I, of course, enjoy reading and am sure that my list of best books is far different from yours.  For example, I rarely read fiction and tend to favor history, science and poetry.  One of my favorite writers is Bill Bryson.  William Wordsworth is my favorite poet.

Final Thoughts

The more I think about it, the more I believe the world is a better place because of our different likes and dislikes. I can’t imagine living in a society where we are all the same.  Whoever first uttered that variety is the spice of life knew what he or she was talking about.

Max Sherman is a medical writer and pharmacist retired from the medical device industry.  His new book “Science Snippets” is available from Amazon and other book sellers. It contains a number of previously published columns.  He can be reached by email at  maxsherman339@gmail.com.