Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Do Not Shake My Family Tree

For a person that loves history, can pour over old photos for hours, and can watch Ken Burns until my eyes bleed, I'm not that much into genealogy.

Maybe it's because I've seen it misused.

I've been that poor sot, trapped by people who have brought out their years of genealogy research and plopped it in front of me at their kitchen table.

"Do you wanna know where Becky Sue gits her red hair? It's cuz her daddy's uncle's brother's cousins niece had red hair! We can trace that red headed gene back to 1847!"

I'm the one smiling benignly and wondering if Becky Sue's mother's red headed boyfriend has heard this theory.

It's not that I'm not fascinated by the minutia of the history of the common person...who am I most cases I get to hear the story of the day to day living by amateur genealogist expecting my breathless enchantment. If one single, solitary person tracks my history back in two hundred years and traps someone at the food-o-later shelf on the space station Ming Mong orbiting the fair planet of Diddly Squat, telling my tale as if it were both adventurous and epic, I will track them down across the galaxy and give them the ectoplasmic slap of a lifetime.

Family stories are great, they are also like home movies; best kept among those people genetically encumbered to bear their history.

Which is why, when I have encountered three separate people in the past three days, asking for my genealogical history "and are you related to this Harkness or that Harkness?" I have been tempted to interrupt them by saying "I am related to a 51st Century Time Agent who will shag the coffee boy and sacrifice his own grandson in order to save the entire planet."

But I just smile benignly and say "Nope. I'm not from around here."

One day soon, the freak flag will fly.


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