Mean Genes

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Death and taxes, I get it. The only guarantees in life. But the death part seems a little less definite. I mean you’re gonna die but some part of you just doesn’t believe it. You wake up every day. You’re still here.

If the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and hoping for a different outcome—then what about the thought of dying? I keep thinking about it, but it doesn’t happen, so I must be insane.  

Which reminds me of that crazy kid’s prayer they taught you back in the days of the lava lamp. If I should die before I wake, I pray the Lord my soul to take…what the hell?

You’re a kid and they’re teaching you a prayer about croaking in your sleep? No wonder I can’t catch forty straight winks. Between wondering if the Lord is going to take my soul and stubbing my toe on the way to the bathroom for a middle-of-the-night pee, I’m a mess.

But there’s more to it. It’s in my genes.

If you’re doing the whole family tree thing, you go to Ancestry.com or 23AndMe. They both should be called Can Of Worms dotcom.

I did Ancestry.com first and so did my immediate family members. Turns out, I am truly the father of the son who will remain nameless. All in all, I didn’t find out anything worth an eyebrow arch. 

But you gotta be prepared for all kinds of surprises with these things. Investigators tracked a serial killer through Ancenstry.com. They found DNA at a crime scene, found possible relatives and then boom, figured how who the killer was. So, you might be related to a serial killer or you might find out you have a sibling that you didn’t know about. Or find out your sibling is a serial killer. Crazy stuff is possible.

23andMe is a rival site of Ancestry and offers a lot more to worry about than somebody you never knew suddenly showing up to use your private drive in the summer.  23andMe runs your DNA through various tests and tells you if you’re more likely to be afraid of heights and if you are more likely to like chocolate over vanilla ice cream. And, honest to God, they tell you if you are more or less likely to have a unibrow. Allow me to pause as I brag and dance around a little: I am less likely to have a unibrow, according to my DNA profile.

My genes also indicate that I’m not likely to be a deep sleeper. (It did not indicate that I would have murderous thoughts about people who leave wind chimes out at night). I was told in very polite terms that I wasn’t cut out for pro sports: “Kevin, your genetic muscle composition is uncommon in elite power athletes. You do not have the same genetic variant as these elite athletes.” Wow.  I’m glad I paid for the premium service. I guess the free version says, “Kevin, you’re a doughy piece of lemon merengue pie and stop making us laugh trying to be a jock.”

23andMe also delivers a loaded gun. Your DNA tests reveal whether your susceptible to various diseases, including Alzheimer’s and/or Parkinson’s. The results don’t say if such things are certain but they tell if your ancestors dropped that turd in the DNA pool.

You don’t have to look. You have to check off a bunch of things to gain access to this info, so it doesn’t hit you like a rogue wave. Do you really want to know?  So far, I have not yet peeked at my results (or I did and I have already forgotten?). Did I mention I don’t have a unibrow?

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