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Words by Ryan Croker      Art by James Kenison

DNA Test

When my sister got me one of those DNA tests as a Christmas present last year, it wasn’t really my thing, so I didn’t send it in until a few weeks ago. It was kind of fun spitting in the little tube, but once I mailed it, I forgot all about it… until the results came back yesterday.


Most of the results were pretty normal. I’m 32% German, 23% Italian, and 15% Portuguese. That’s not the part that bothered me. What really threw me for a loop is that I’m apparently 30% Hamburglar. Yes. THAT Hamburglar.


My first thought was that our family motto, “Robble Robble” now made sense. My second thought was that I was now facing a serious existential crisis.


Now, don’t get me wrong. I have nothing against McDonald’s or their beloved cast of zany characters. It’s just hard for me to reconcile the fact that I carry the same genes as a man who devoted his entire life to stealing hamburgers. Why couldn’t he just BUY the hamburgers? Or, since he had some kind of relationship with McDonald’s, couldn’t he just get hamburgers as payment for his services? What did he do with the hamburgers once he got them? Did he eat them? Sell them? Unfortunately, a DNA test can only get you so far.


And there’s also the fact that my family was, for the most part, a law-abiding group of people. Sure, Aunt Millie had to do community service for running into that mailbox, but she’s not a hardened criminal. Or is she? She carries the Hamburglar genes as well. Is she going to start wearing striped prison clothes as everyday wear? Nothing says “I like crime” better than that.


I’ve been wrestling with these questions ever since the test came back. It has also made me reevaluate my own relationship with hamburgers. Have I ever been tempted to just take one without paying? I don’t really know the answer. I’ll never look at hamburgers the same way again, but does that mean that everything I am is determined by genetics? Do I no longer have free will?


I don’t have answers. I just wanted to get this down on paper. Now, I think I’ll put on my red cape and wide-brimmed hat and go for a walk—and maybe a bite to eat.

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