DNA, string theory and what might have been

Dear Grant McCracken,

The automated search has found a new match that meets your current mtDNA search criteria:

Jeffrey Blankenship, 0 mutational difference.

Every so often I get an email from a company called Genebase.  It informs me that they have found a match.  Good news! An addition to their database matches my DNA signature.

Yesterday, Genebase informed me that I was a match with not only Mr. Blankenship.but Marshall Eltzey, Carlos White, and Delmar Albert Dyreson.

Delmar Albert Dyreson!  Tell me more!

That’s the problem.  Genebase tells me almost nothing about the people to whom I am matched.  Take Delmar Albert Dyreson.  Genebase says only that he is living and male.

But I want all the details!  Where does Mr. Dyreson live, what does he do for a living, what’s he like as a person?

I don’t want to befriend Mr. Dyreson.  I just want a glimpse of his life.  And why?  Because if we really have DNA in common, Mr. Dyreson is an opportunity to see what might have been. If the universe exists as endless variations of itself, why not make this the grounds for variation?  At least for imaginative purposes.

Yes, of course this is fanciful.  But people have used much smaller similarities to identify with one another.  How about: "our parents both came from the old country.  We kinda feel like brothers."

Mr. Dyreson and I have a more substantial connection.  None of that "sons of the soil" crap for us.  We are actually made of the same stuff. And on the strength of this connection, I can dream.  What might my life had been if I can been born into his family, country, language. Sure, it’s a footless enterprise.  I don’t really learn anything about myself.   But it’s fun.

A Google search tells me that there was a Delmar A. Dyreson at the 601st meeting of the American Mathematical Society held in New York City in 1963.  Interesting?  Not really.  But I do notice Dyreson institutional address is given as New Mexico Highlands University.   Somehow this man found his way to the deep obscurity of the high desert, a place that vibrates with a spirituality that evades even the most speculative math.  Much better, thank you.  I’ll take it from here.

Delmar, sir, if you get this message, let’s compare notes.


McCracken, Grant.  Transformations.  Identity Construction in Contemporary Culture.  Bloomington: Indiana University Press. here.

Note: this post was lost due to Network Solutions incompetence.  It was reposted December 26, 2010.