Today, ironically, two things arrived together via UPS. The driver took my signature and handed me the deliveries: a cardboard shipping envelope containing the long form (altered) birth certificate I ordered and the small box containing the DNA kit from Ancestry. I knew well enough what the birth certificate would look like. I could not put my hands on one last Tuesday so in my initial frantic stew ordered a new one, but I remembered the salient details: December 27, 1965, and my (adoptive) parents’ names. I had remembered the hospital being listed as “Illinois Research Hospital” but the long form states “Research and Education” without the word ‘Hospital’. Reading that produced a small giggle that is both a defense against and an acknowledgement of the greater awkwardness that is my current state of mind. Who gets born in a research hospital? When I tried to find information about it, it seems to have been a part of the greater University of Illinois (Chicago Campus) medical program. I should get better details on it. I don’t think the hospital is a fact that commonly if ever got changed in the alteration process. The parents and sometimes the birth date were the likely edits. So this is most likely where I was, in fact, born. It’s probably insignificant – only chosen for proximity and financial considerations, I would imagine. Still, it’s weird enough to be a valid addition to the scrapbook of weird that I am amassing.
The DNA kit had its own level of weird. I knew from reading comments on a blog that you spit into the container but after trying to force my dry mouth to produce more spit after the first couple of awkward spits failed to fill the vial to the proscribed level my earlier ironic giggle ripened into something closer to a slightly maniacal cackle. I didn’t count how many awkward times I spit but I did recall that old Tootsie Pop commercial adapted by my dry sense of humor to my circumstances: “How many spits does it take to fill the DNA vial? A-One. A-Two. A-Three. *hocker* Three.”
I have become terribly impatient so I boxed up my spit and took it right to the post office, where I realized that it was a federal holiday so I might as well have just stuck it in my mailbox. I rationalized that it would get processed FIRST!!! in the morning and that was a good thing. The weird thing about that impatience is that I don’t have any expectations about the DNA test except for curiosity. I think it’s a long shot at best that it might help me in my search. I think the urgency is just that I feel like I must do everything that is available to do as expediently as possible. What I really want is my OBC, but there’s nothing I can do about that but wait.
Still, I thought about the two things. The DNA test will produce true information that may or may not provide me any significant help in my search for Me, while the Birth Certificate is not only not true but is an active truth impostor, with its state sanction, official seals and statements of authenticity. I suppose it was a shield, protecting me from the censure that befell bastard children in the 60s and 70s, who were by default largely assumed to be defective spawn of defective mothers. Still it lies there, almost mocking me now that I know that despite its costume it is only a clever lie, and I hate it as paper proxy for the stupidity that has driven our society.