27 May 2008
From Frankfurters to Fondue
Yeah yeah, I know, I haven’t written in forever; I felt that, since I now have this fancy diploma that I should get a job where I actually have to use it. More on that later. I want to talks about something that I keep telling myself is trivial, but it keeps popping up as not as trivial as I think.
Have you ever heard of ancestry.com? Fun fact: it turns out that the site is run by Mormons (try this for fun, kids: take out the second “m”!), with the purpose of potential converts converting their dead relatives. Apparently, there is a tenet in their religion that allows them to do this. That’s kinda scary. What if you’re there, enjoying oneness with the universe, or you’re in Valhalla fighting the eternal battle and looking forward to this evening’s fornicating with ale wenches, or maybe you’re in the Catholic Heaven with the saints and halos and crap like that, when all of a sudden you get whisked out of there and find yourself in the Mormon Heaven? What if that sucks? I imagine it involves special underwear…
Anyhoo, The Professor has the super-whammy-dyne subscription to it, which allows her to look up ancestors in other countries and stuff. So one Sunday, hanging out at her place, I decide to give it a shot. I had been told that my family was German all the way back, after some point emigrating from Denmark. There were all these cool stories that the Zeepcousins and Zeepdaddy told me; my favorite is about how we were involved in the Third Crusades, in a leadership role, not just fodder for the Muslims.
Well, it turns out that they are all wrong. I’m Swiss. There is a direct line, from father to father, going back to the early 1500’s. And it’s most likely correct, since my family tends to pick some pretty oddball first names for sons. I am Swiss.
I am the first person to tell people that I am American; I was born here, I will most likely die here; I was willing to die for her when I served in her Navy, and I have a passport from this country. I always identify with the USA, and I root for our teams in the Olympic and world championships of the various sports. But there is a part of me, which is wholly American, to want to know where I “came from;” not the neighborhood I grew up in, but beyond that. And since Zeepmomma is British (Irish, Welsh and Scottish, so you just know there is some English in there somewhere – I saw Braveheart; I know what prima nocta is!) the side I most readily identified with was the German. It explained my desire for efficiency, my love of beer and sausage, as well as the desire to conquer France and my extreme xenophobia (aHaHaH! That’s a joke, son…).
But now, there’s this feeling that, since I am not German, I have lost a bit of my identity. It’s weird. Instead of being the big, strong belligerent nation, I am now neutral. Instead of a xenophobic invader, I am a welcoming banker. With chocolate in there, somewhere.
In the end, I am still me; still a bit belligerent, still willing to conquer French women, still anal about being efficient and on time - hey! The Swiss make good watches! I guess I have embraced a substance of my new heritage already!