My birth father sought out a relationship when I was forty but I hadn't seen him for thirty-seven years and saw no reason to bother. I was the product of an Alpha pregnancy + Beta father and my stepfather was a good guy. But it got me thinking about the unique genetics of my family.

My stepfather and his brother married my mom and her sister. Two brothers marrying two sisters is a basis for a nature vs nurture comparison. My uncle had five natural children but my mom adopted, mixing in three more mothers and four more fathers. One sister was Filipino, one brother was Mexican, the other had a Filipino father with my cousin as mother.

For forty years, I watched the battle between DNA and culture without realizing it. My uncle's family is mostly normal and average, most got married, had a couple of kids, a career, all live within two hundred miles of their birthplace.

My family turned out differently.

  • One had cancer at 14, died at 26 in CA
  • One was a dismal recluse, died at 54 (moved to ID, then AK, then ID)
  • One made millions at Microsoft, then again at Amazon (moved to WA)
  • One became a criminal (moved to ID, probably dead)
  • And then there's me, the Nomad (moved to ID, then WA)

Subsequent years convinced me that genes determine over 51% of our behavior and outcomes. We probably have less free-will than we believe.