I’m about to be a grandpa.In the off-moments, when I wasn't engulfed in public jello-fication, I didhave some observations about this grandpa stuff:As the Wulkowicz line dwindles out and some people no longer havethe impossible task to crowbar an innocent baby's name up next toWulkowicz, it has occurred to me that this grandpa babble is just acover-up.Grand means exultant, moving out and forward; at some nearmoment, my father will become a great grandfather. Naturally, he's alla-bubble and has no time for my scientific analysis, but this process, asI’ve started to see it, is really fractive--devolutional--it's a diminishmentwith a PR spin.Look, here's what I mean: Take the word parent; it should really be spelled “pairent” --because ittakes a pair to make the child. One father, one mother = one child.If your child is about to have their own child, you still stick to being oneof the pair making your child, but someone else with their own pairentsis now obviously involved in making that next new child down the line.When that child is born, you shift from half-sharing status as a pairentto a quarter-status with that other set of someone else’s pairents outthere.So, it seems to me that instead of being a grandpa, I am moreaccurately a quatripa when the next little bundle arrives. I'm not thatgood at fractions, but there is an insistent, unnerving quality about allthis. My participation in the gene pool is clearly diminishing and I'mbeing told it's grand!(Good riddance, some may say, perhaps we can get back to talkingabout trees here in those next few generations. Pooh bah, I say, we'restill talking about trees--family trees, that is, and there's even a sloganpossible here: Save a tree, don't use disposable diapers.Every time the progeny pool advances one notch, all the oldparticipants retreat one step. Soon, we’re just wispy DNA nostalgiafloating around the edges, swapping photographs and trying toestablish our own involvement in there somewhere.Now, how do I explain this to my Dad? He expects to be a greatgrandpa; he's all excited about being a great grandpa, and I’ve got totell him he’s actually an octipa.