With all the Cyber Monday talk in the air, you might have happened upon or been tempted by some on-sale DNA kits or heavily reduced 23andMe’s. After all, who hasn’t at the very least expressed curiosity in knowing where they came from?
Not only is it fascinating, but we’ve all come across an online story or two where unsuspecting individuals’ results threw their whole family histories into question.
It happened to my family years ago when a distant cousin revealed we were actually Jewish, and several of my uncles and even my mom have converted in the years since.
Something not entirely dissimilar happened to Christine (@queenozymandias) when she went home to spend a weekend with her family. She took to Twitter to recount what happened when her Italian uncle received some very unexpected DNA test results.
“My uncle on my Italian side got one of the DNA tests done and it turns out they’re not Italian and everyone in my family is having a mental breakdown,” she begins.
Imagine holding steadily to a belief about your family, spending your entire life thinking that you hail from Italy (justifying your affinity for carbs and marinara sauce) and having everything you know about yourself suddenly deflated when your uncle opens his mouth at dinner.
The family was understandably not prepared for such a revelation, and it sent them all into a massive existential spiral. Christine updates to write that her dad “is yelling at his brother ‘WHY DID YOU DO THIS’,” and I imagine him running around the house acting like Tony Soprano when he’s mad at Chris.
Which, it turns out, is not totally far off from Christine’s description. “Dad is currently yelling in an excessively Italian accent at his brother and my stepmom that his life has been ruined,” she tweeted a few minutes later.
I need this one dinner to be made into a movie.
The family then does what any normal family looking to cope would do, and decides to pull out a map. I was only 5 or 6 when my whole family came to their own life-altering conclusions about our Jewish genealogy, but the one thing I do clearly remember was huddling around our old-school globe.
“Currently looking at a map to try to figure out if we could be from like the Italian part of Switzerland, a thing that my father now is convinced exists,” writes Christine moments later. In all fairness to her father, it does exist, and about 350,000 Swiss people speak Italian as their native tongue.
But the family might have told Christine’s dad to drop it all together, because she writes her “uncle Andy is now yodeling in the kitchen and my dad is yelling at him to shut up” in the following update.
Man, I kind of feel unreasonably bad for Christine’s father, who was basically tricked into a deep mental crisis. I feel like people should have to consent to receiving life-changing revelations, instead of having them sprung upon them at a family dinner.
After Christine’s over-50,000 retweeters begged her for an update, writing that the thread “was not nearly long enough,” and wondering whether it’s “rude to ask for updates,” she finally broke her silence.
“My nana is mad at my uncle and eventually just stopped talking to him and started talking about her family’s history in New Jersey, and this morning told my brother to ‘shut it’ when he brought it up again. I’m getting my dad Swiss chocolate for Christmas, he remains devastated,” Christine concluded.
I’m all for the Swiss chocolate plan, but I think a Swiss-Italian cookbook might be the ultimate move.
People were delighted by Christine’s family meltdown, writing “He’s never going to be able to watch The Godfatheragain, is he” and suggesting she troll her dad by replacing “his Godfather boxset with Swiss Family Robinson.”
Others offered support by saying the same thing had happened to them. Like this one woman, who writes “This happened to my family! I had to explain to them that we still could be Italian it’s just that DNA picks and chooses what elements we have to make us truly unique. We have the NON-Italian DNA (so much for being irreplaceable).”
Sounds kind of suspect, if you ask me.
People whose DNA tests revealed their dads were not their real dads chimed in to let Christine know it could be worse. “I took it, found my dad wasn’t my biological father but found a wonderful family I am related to. I was conceived in England April 1944, 2 months before D-Day – English mom, American Navy guy. Went from being an only to oldest of 11,” wrote one guy.
“I learned both parents couldn’t be Bio in my senior Genetics course for my BA in Biol Anthro. I had a 3yo daughter & nb son, both blonde/blue eyes, Rh- & Two Brown hair/eye Rh+ parents. After 35 yrs an aunt confirmed mom affair. Dad’s bro did genetic test for me, I just took it,” added another.
Mainly, Twitter just wants to see this family debacle made into a movie — but according to Christine, only one actor would be suitable enough to play her dad.
“My dad is very vain and would only accept like the ghost of Marlon Brando tbh,” she writes in response to someone asking who she’d like to play her dad in the movie. But it doesn’t have to be On the Waterfront Marlon, she claims: “I feel like he would understand that we need to stay closer to reality and would accept post-GodfatherBrando.”
Now this is a family holiday special I could absolutely get behind.