Monday, January 28, 2013

I'm an African American

Last month, just before I set sail to Europe to explore some of my ancestral roots, I saw a fascinating show on the National Geographic Channel. I might be one of the 38 people who actually watches this network. The show was all about the Genome Project.

A scientist has taken it upon himself (and his team) to crowdsource DNA from willing participants in order build a database and paint a more accurate picture of human migration. You know, since Adam and Eve tried to keep a pet snake and were evicted from the Garden of Eden by the landLord.

In the show, the scientist combs the streets of New York City, my hometown, to find folks from all different backgrounds. One of the more interesting subjects was Paco. A man in his late 20's who was orphaned in Columbia when his parents were murdered in a drug deal that went south. Drug deals are forever going south.

Because of his brownish skin and his first name, Paco thought he had come from a typical Hispanic background. He didn't.

The DNA revealed something interesting. Genetic markers indicated that his background, though most recently from South America, originated in Eastern Europe. And prior to that, the Mediterranean Crescent.

In other words, the scientist told him, Paco was a Jew.

Naturally this piqued my curiosity. What if I had been operating under a mistaken sense of tribal identity? The truth is, we all are. As every human on the planet, including many of those pasty-white Creationists who believe Jesus had a dinosaur, can be traced back to Africa.

So I went online to read more about the Genome Project. And if you haven't already guessed, shelled out the money to participate in the endeavor. In 6-8 weeks I will know the results. Of course, that means in 6-8 weeks, you will also know the results.

If you've been following this blog or even if you're a first time visitor, you know that roundseventeen is an exercise in narcissism. I may have deluded myself into thinking it's a way to limber up the creative muscle or to keep up a daily regimen of filling a page, but seriously, who are we kidding?

It's narcissistic, as all blogging and most writing is. And now with my participation in the Genome Project, I am about to take it to a new level -- the cellular level.

"Open the plastic wrapped DNA collection device and vigorously rub the inside of your cheek for no less than 45 seconds. Then deposit your collected DNA sample into the hermitically-sealed vial marked with your individual QR code."

Hemingway famously said, "There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed."

Apparently, bleeding is not enough.
In 2013, it also means swabbing.

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