Born in the Right Time

My brother took one of those gene tests. Think he got a three-fer deal because they were checking out his adopted baby’s wayback past. The results were kind of darkly hilarious in their banality.

The family tales of a Native American great-whatever on mom’s side? Pure bullshit, of course. Relation to anyone famous they had in the database? Absolute ignominy. Earliest common relative with anyone famous was over five thousand years ago. I have as much relationship to, say, Darwin as I do to every white person in the United States.

The weirdest thing was just how white I am. The spiciest my ancestry gets is 25% Iberian European, so, like, one of my grandmas was secretly Spanish or Portuguese, maybe? No spice.

Why is that weird? Think about it. We all have exponentially increasing numbers of ancestors. Every generation it doubles. Go back a few hundred years and you can have over a thousand people who contributed in some small way to modern you.

Descendants of Attila the Hun have turned up in England. There were so many black folks in Elizabethan England that her Racist Majesty couldn’t feasibly kick them all out. The British Isles also had Jewish and Romani people living there for a long time. During the Victorian era there were enough Indonesians living in London to have a riot.

And I’m related to none of that? Not even a little? Out of tens of thousands of my ancestors, not one of them got with a not-completely-honky person? Not even a Sephardic Jew that converted to Catholicism during the Reconquista to avoid exile or death? Nothing at all?

I’m made out of thousands and thousands and thousands of racists. Oh, but I’m the end of the line. No babies, the buck stops here.

Socially speaking, we’re products of our times. Some people say they wish they were born in a classier looking era. Putting aside Renn Faire types and steampunks, even laundry machines looked sexier in the thirties than they do now. But who would you actually be back then, surrounded by lovely design and people in cool fashions? I can tell who I’d be. Don’t like it. I’m glad I’m alive right now.