We've all watched too many television cop shows in which a tiny speck of bodily fluid results in a (dunt dunt DUNN!) dramatic DNA revelation.
On tv, it takes about 5 minutes.
For amateur genealogists, it's more like 5 weeks.
And regrettably, there are very few attractive lab techs shooting one another significant looks under flattering lights when the results arrive in real life.
Humans have 46 genes (which comprise something like three billion DNA base pairs linked together in elegant sets of spiral ladders). The double helix.
When a mommy and a daddy love one another, they each contribute half of their DNA for the baby blueprints.
Each parent's genetic spirals unzip in half and go forth into the world as an egg or a sperm. Egg engulfs sperm; the halves mix and mingle and –– poof!
Have a cigar!
Maybe a soccer playoff? Two leagues, 46 teams, they have to fall out into half-teams and play the final while paired with an unfamiliar other half-team? Hmm. But what about the goalies? NO! Just nope! Sports metaphors, ratsa fratsa....
Or wait: what if you think of the mom as a margarita –– the good kind, with the top-shelf tequila, Grand Marnier, lime zest, fresh-squeezed Key lime juice, and sea-salt over ice. Which naturally makes the daddy an Old Fashioned, all muddled bitters and sugar, dark rye, a fat twist of orange peel with a maraschino cherry on top.
Unzip the spirals, mix, mingle and –– poof!
One kid turns out a mix of tequila, bitters and a maraschino cherry. Another is Grand Marnier and rye with orange and lime zest. A third child is a sour mix of lime and bitters and sea-salt. Another... you get the picture.
That's why you aren't exactly like your sibling (unless you're an identical twin), but instead seem like variants on a theme: Mumsie's near-sighted eyes and Daddo's thick, wavy hair paired with different jawlines and frames.
Go to a family reunion and the mixology can be actively unsettling: the shared blond curls, the cousin's toddler child who is a ringer for long-dead great-Gramp Earl, and the vision of your parent's feet at the end of someone else's legs.
Which brings me, sideways, to the word "anon." Anon can be short for "anonymous," but it's also an archaic adverb meaning "shortly." As in, I will write more about this anon. The etymology of the word (it strikes me that genealogy is the etymology of a person. Hmm.) gives it an Old English heritage. It meant "into one," which eventually referred to time, as in "at once."
I am distracted, it's inevitable, by thinking about how the Old English (700-1100 A.D.) visualized time differently that we do.
Until later. Anon.