I received an e-mail from an online ancestry search site this morning. It seems that I have little measurable genetic connection to any human gene series yet discovered. Does this bit of information surprise me? Not really. Is it going to surprise my mother? I think so…she has vivid, concrete memories of birthing me. Is this going to make my life a bit more complicated? Yes, definitely, and it’s already begun.
I was sitting on a porch in Washington state with a friend of mine last time I was in the United States, and she told me about the ancestry search she had begun using the same online site. She is adopted and wanted to find out about her ethnic background.
The moon was full, we had finished off two bottles of Pinot Noir and were opening a third one. A coyote was howling in the distance. Nothing of this story so far is unusual, but somehow the combination gave me the urge to follow my friend’s lead and investigate my ancestry through the site, a service operated by the Mormon Church…and if you can’t trust the Mormons with genealogical research, who can you trust?
My first DNA submission was a blood sample. I received a notice that testing had been inconclusive, and would I send in another sample. I did. The second was not only inconclusive, but confusing. I was asked to send in more samples – hair, blood, and skin. I did. The e-mail I received today listed only one possible earthly connection, canis latrans, the common coyote. But, after performing a process referred to as a “split” only 4,739 genetic markers could be found that would even connect me to a coyote.
This is where it gets really weird.
The e-mail also informed me that my DNA had been sent to a lab which tested fossil DNA sample, hoping for some reasonable place to start. The lab workers had been frustrated, and one of them…must have been a real smart-ass type, tested my samples against the elemental make-up of a moon rock brought back from the second Apollo mission. They informed me my connection to material from the moon rock sample was equal to that of canis latrans.
I have no idea what my mother is going to say when she hears this.
I do know what the governments of Washington state and the United States of America are going to say, because they’ve said it.
I received another e-mail from the state of Washington, not an hour later. The message was a confusing bit of governmental nonsense about re-examing my birth certificate, driver’s license, and teaching certifications. This didn’t really bother me too much. My driver’s license has been either revoked or suspended for about as many years as it’s been active. But, since I’m planning a trip to the states soon, I called my lawyer in San Jose to make sure I could get back in the country with only one form of photo ID, which they’re very uptight about here. He was near apoplectic.
“Who you are…I am meaning, what you are?” he nearly screamed into the phone. He’s only a generation down out of the hills, and has a grandmother who is a practicing curandera…a witch to most people. He told me he had received a visit from an American Embassy official inquiring as to my whereabouts, since I’ve moved several times since registering with them. “We no service dogs, or coyotes, or what you ever are,” he said, calming down a bit. I heard a voice in the background.
“And we no take rocks, either, you demonio desde…” He never swears…even the words ” demon from hell.”
I also have a grandmother who was a bit strange when it came to natural healing, one who claimed messages sent to her from “other” sources. She was one of those “there’s one born every minute” people who bought a deed to a piece of property on the moon back in the 1970s…those fakey things that some enterprising American had made up during the excitement of the lunar landings. I mean, seriously…is there a country where there are more hucksters, selling more useless junk, to a more gullible populace, than in the U.S.? I own a piece of the moon. And, now – at least according to the most reliable of ancestory specialists – I am descended from a piece of the moon. I have no idea how this is all going to turn out…who would?
Can I really be some sort of coyote and moon rock mix? I found an odd photograph during a Google Image search, labeled simply “coyote pup” …but look at it. It looks lunar to me. Maybe I’m just being paranoid…but, paranoia is simply realizing how weird things CAN get, according to some people. Is this my first baby picture?
I’ll have to get back to you all on this one…after I field a few frantic, dramatic, and disturbing e-mails and/or phone calls from my mother, no doubt. I don’t fear governments, but mothers are a different story.