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The DNA test and the 6 percent surprise


By Charles Sacchetti

My buddy Stan, one of many friends I’ve met in my work as an outdoor chemical salesman, used one of those DNA tests in his ongoing project to map out his family tree. With each monthly visit, I would toy with the idea of taking the DNA test myself, just for the fun of it. Maybe I was a descendant of Leonardo Da Vinci or the great-great-great-great-grandson of the guy who invented pizza! Who knows? What a feather in my cap that would be! So, I decided to spring for the $99 and take the test. I received my kit and I was off and running. The whole process was very simple. All I had to do was fill a small test tube with my saliva, cork it and mail it to the lab in the neat little postage-paid box they provided. The tube already had my control code number on it so I couldn’t be confused with some 6-foot-4 Swede if he decided to take the plunge. They promised to have the results ready in two weeks.

I received periodic updates via e-mail and after about two weeks I received the e-mail that said:

“Great news! Your AncestryDNA™ results are in.”

OK, let’s get to the results!

I clicked on the “Ethnicity Estimate” link to see what I was made of, so to speak. The results were somewhat interesting:

  • 72 percent Italy/Greece … no surprise there. This is a very high percentage based on the database.
  • 22 percent Middle East … including places like Lebanon, Turkey, Jordan.

No big surprise here, either. These places are just a hop, skip and a swim across the Mediterranean.

And then:

  • 6 percent European Jew. This was interesting news. It all made sense to me now. I’ve always loved corned beef on rye, chopped liver and matzo ball soup.

So what do you think I did after I found out this revelation? I have a dear friend, Arnie, who happens to be an 87-year-old Jewish man who was one of my mentors in the chemical business. Arnie, a man’s man, still works every day and covers some of the toughest areas of New York. He’s the kind of guy who can size you up in five minutes and decide whether he likes you or not. If he does, you have friend for life. If not, don’t let the door hit you on the way out. Luckily for me, I had a good five minutes and we have been friends for 35 years. He has always had an affinity for Italians and our culture and he rarely resists the opportunity to tease me about all of our foods, customs and holy feast days. I always repaid the friendly barbs with vigor. So at 8 the following night I picked up the phone to give him a call.

“How ya doin’, Arnie boy”?

“OK, what’s up kid?”

I then explained that I took the DNA test and got the results:

“Now I know why you love me so much.”


“Because I’m 6 percent Jewish. I’m just like you.”

After a hearty laugh and a “welcome to the club,” he said, “Well, how does it feel to be a Jew?”

“Well, Arn, I can’t really say but when I woke up this morning I had an uncontrollable urge to go out and buy a building.”

He laughed so hard he dropped the phone.

Of course, I’m sure this bit of news will not change me in the least. After all, I’m 69 years old and pretty set in my ways. I’d better close now. I feel like I’m coming down with a cold. I think I’ll go get some chicken soup.

God bless you all!  

Editor’s note: Charlie Sacchetti can be contacted at sacc1@verizon.net.

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