Really? All it takes is a little spit and some money, and you can tell where I'm from? Other than Akron, Ohio, of course. I’m not sure if that makes you a freaking genius or me a moron. Guess I’ll have to wait for the results to find out.
This experiment should prove interesting. I was born into a clan short on family history. I barely knew my grandparents, and my parents didn’t know their grandparents at all. With a name like Kennedy, I’m sure I’m Irish. Maybe I’m a long, lost member of JFK’s family? Wouldn’t that be something? Looking in the mirror, I turn this way, then that, searching my face for any resemblance to that renown family. I have blue eyes. Wait, did he have green eyes? I’ll have to Google the answer to that question. And what was that whole Mendel thing anyway? I need a refresher course. Should have listened more closely to my seventh grade biology teacher.
Truth be known, I’ve always felt a little on the royal side. My mom must have thought so too, considering how many times she told me I was a royal pain in the ass. Her maiden name was Jones. It may take blood, not spit, to sort me out from the millions of Joneses in the world. And whoever heard of a famous Jones? Oh, wait! There was John Paul Jones. No way I could be related to him. I get seasick looking at the waves hitting the beach, and my one boat trip, short as it was, made me wish for Davy Jones’ Locker.
Back to the mirror. My hair is blond, inconvenient for most men unless you are Brad Pitt. How can I be tall, dark, and handsome with blond hair? Just won’t work. I did read somewhere the Scandinavian name for Jones is Jonis. I could be descended from a Jonis. Here I am, the missing Jonas brother! I try to belt out “S.O.S,.” “Oooh, this is an S.O.S, don’t wanna second guess.” Yikes! My belt is more of a choker. Where’s the tambourine?
The email that will tell me who I am has arrived. Do I really want to know? Ignorance is bliss, which should make me the happiest man in the world because whatever is in my genes, nothing in my history indicates I am descended from intellectual giants. Do I really want to know? What if I share chromosomes with an ax murderer? Uh oh. True crime podcasts are my favorite. Is there really something to self-fulfilling prophecy? Stop it! I tell myself. You paid for this, and you’re going to open this email and learn about your family.
Just as I start to click, an idiom crosses my mind - curiosity killed the cat. Was it a black cat, I wonder? Those cats, always in a roomful of rocking chairs or going under a ladder. I am obsessing about cats to avoid opening the email that promises to hold an array of useful information about me. But my mind wanders further down Procrastination Road. There’re ducks too: dead ducks, lame ducks, sitting ducks, and ducks that have to get in a row for some reason. I place my hand on the mouse but take the Procrastination Road exit again. There’re three blind mice, poor church mice, and mice that play when the cat’s away. Probably a black cat.
I shake the feckless menagerie from my head, muster my courage, and click! Good. There’s no picture of Lizzie Borden. I’m off to a good start. What’s this? A graph tells me I am NOT Irish. Not a drop of Irish in me. So much for JFK. I’m predominately Eastern European, with a smidgen of England, Denmark, and France. Where exactly is Eastern Europe? Google again. Encyclopedia on speed. Russia? Da. Romania? I have always thought my eye teeth were too long. Georgia? Not the one with the peaches.
I persist in my investigation. There’s only one thing to do - pay more money and start climbing my family tree. I’m excited to learn who my eminent ancestors might be. Months later, I have climbed to the top of my family tree in this country and have not found one famous person. Disappointing, but I have the hang of this now. I just need to hop over the Atlantic and research my ties to Eastern Europe. More money. The names on my tree have become complex, a goulash of consonants with not enough vowels to even guess at pronunciation. I find baptism records, marriage records, and death records. These are not families with the requisite 2.5 children. These people are progeny prolific peasants. Following each thread, I search all the way back to the late 1700’s but find no kings, queens, or people of note. The closest I find is a vague kinship with a photographer Armstrong-Jones who married a princess – happy story, then divorced her. What was he thinking?
I take the advice of Chuck Berry and return my search to “Back in the U.S.A.” Surely I missed someone of prominence in my initial searches. I browse hints that lead to family trees of people who share a relative. I make an appointment with an ophthalmologist. The scrolling back and forth on the computer has weakened my eyes. Next, I’m off to see the orthopaedic surgeon. Several hundred dollars later, I exit with impressive splints on both wrists and a warning I may need surgery for carpal tunnel syndrome.
I decide to look closer to home. There’s my grandfather’s uncle to learn about, my great uncle, also known as a granduncle. Was he a grand uncle, I wonder? Wait, what’s this? Aha! An invention. I knew I had someone famous in my family. What did he invent – surely something important to mankind? I take another anti-inflammatory pill for my now throbbing wrists and scan the article with newly bespectacled eyes. I’m eager to find what contribution my ancestor made to society. The man staring back at me could be my twin. We have the same blue eyes and blond hair - I smile into a small mirror – and the same crooked teeth.
The breathalyzer? My great uncle invented the breathalyzer. I power down my computer. I need a drink.