None of my friends have admitted it, but I’m sure some of them have fallen for the DNA testing scam.
Several companies offer the service. You just pay a fee to the DNA detectives, send in some DNA and in a few weeks you'll get a report on every root, branch and twig on your family tree.
One of the leading providers of this service says your test results will include:
An “ethnicity breakdown” which might show your tribe is 13 percent Slobbovian, 67 percent Mongolian, 19 percent Native American and 1 percent Kryptonian, just like Superman.
You also get DNA matches to potential relatives, including “the various possible types of cousin.”
Types of cousin? If “kissin’ cousin” is listed, I don't want to know.
Another part of the process makes me queasy. People inquiring about their ancestors have to send in two DNA samples. Samples are obtained by scrubbing the inside of each cheek with cotton swabs to collect cells and saliva. The samples are sent off for testing.
Call me old-fashioned, but I was taught that cells and saliva should only be exchanged between consenting adults in the privacy of their home or the back seat of a ‘57 Chevy. I’m not comfortable sharing my bodily fluids with a stranger, especially through the U.S. Postal Service.
If you’re a young guy trying to impress a girl and want to prove you aren’t related to someone dangerous or unwholesome – like a politician – a DNA test could be useful. But I’m not dating and I’m not interested.
Years ago, my late cousin, Barbara Hastings, spent countless hours compiling an exhaustive family history. That’s all the ancestry research I want.
I'm not opposed to DNA testing altogether. I’m glad DNA tests can be used to catch suspected criminals – or prove their innocence.
And I’ll be the first one to endorse a DNA test that measures common sense. Especially if these tests are required before a deer hunting license is issued.
Many states require residents to complete hunter safety classes before they can “harvest” a deer. That’s a good idea. I'm not a deer hunter and haven’t taken the course but I hope Rule Number One is: ”Make sure you’re aiming at a deer before you pull the trigger.”
That bit of wisdom clearly didn’t get passed along to Marvin Miller, of Middlefield, Ohio, who recently went looking for a trophy buck on a bright Midwestern morning. After creeping through the forest for hours, Miller spotted his prey.
He later told law enforcement officials he thought it was a deer because “it was brown.”
If Miller had passed the “Deer Identification” portion of the hunter safety course, he would have known that while deer are indeed brown, they don’t have tires.
Pickup trucks do. And that’s what Miller shot – a brown pickup truck. The slug from Miller’s high-powered rifle zipped right through the truck’s fender, narrowly missing the vehicle’s two occupants. The bullet then “punctured the engine compartment and disabled the vehicle.”
Authorities said it was a miracle the pickup’s passengers escaped injury or death.
Miller was charged with reckless endangerment – and shooting across a public highway.
That’s a scary story. Most deer hunters I know are careful and cautious. I hope they’re all smart enough to avoid camouflage patterns that resemble brown pickup trucks.
As long as guys like Mr. Miller are roaming the woods, a real hunter can’t be too careful.
Alex McRae is the author of “There Ain’t No Gentle Cycle on the Washing Machine of Love.” He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org