The Washington Times-Herald

Columns

January 26, 2013

Today a New Day

WASHINGTON —

In all honesty I always felt like I possessed  a certain degree of royal bearing. Perhaps it was in the way I could make a pair of khaki shorts and chili-stained sweatshirt look downright noble, or how comfortably I have always taken to being waited on hand and foot. Nonetheless, in spite of having a feeling of nobility, it still took a few minutes while online to hammer home the true nature my royal birthrights and pedigree.

I hadn’t spent much time researching my family tree. I, like so many others, basically only needed to be sure that when it was time to get married, my wife and I didn’t have too many branches with similar twigs.  Beyond that, I simply believed that I, like everyone else, was somehow related to Kevin Bacon — and that was good enough for me.

However, I recently saw one of those cool commercials for genealogy websites, where you just “click on a leaf” to find out the truth about people like your crazy Uncle Angelo. He was the guy my mother said “had to move out of town for 4 to 7 years (depending on behavior)” and described him asa  “colorful entrepreneur who provided money to those in need —  you know, like a Sicilian ATM machine.”

Since I already had a pretty good idea about my Uncle Angie, I decided to bark up my father’s side of the family tree, unsure what I would find.

Since my Dad was originally from Boston, I thought there was at least a chance I might be related to Mark Wahlberg, which in turn might get give me the upper hand in any future audition for the  reformation of the Funky Bunch. Unfortunately, it didn’t take long to realize there were no Wahlbergs in the woodpile.

But as I began to do a little research, I found someone had actually left me a trail of bread crumbs. There was a detailed website on my paternal great-grandmother’s side, that went from 1016 all the way to my father. His grandmother was part of the Scottish MacMillan Clan, and the site listed names and birth dates for every one of 26 generations between my Dad and those who were part of Robert the Bruce’s posse. In fact, much of the family’s land and titles came after sheltering Bobby the Bruce (That’s what we homies and peeps called him) after he was stabbed by the English. Someone recently asked if that meant I was also related to William “Braveheart” Wallace. I said, “No, he just kind of worked for us.”

In addition to now being able to “loosely” refer to myself as the “Last King of Scotland” (a title I believe also shared by Idi Amin), I found that my father’s paternal great-grandfather also stood knee-deep in royal blood (yet another trait shared with Idi Amin).

On that side of the family bracket, the name was only traceable to about 1300 and seemed to stop with Edward III. I wondered how could I be related to Edward III, but not his father who was also a king. (Oh well, I guess that would just be piling on). The website also had the Lancaster name going back to all the Henrys, including Henry the Eighth,  whom I imagine would have been a great guy to party with.

All in all, I believe that I’m roughly 234,543rd in line for the throne (which I think allows me rights to a very small closet in Windsor Castle and one late night drunk-dial to Pippa Middleton). I’m not exactly sure what other privileges I might be entitled to, but when Sir Jethro Bodine found out that he and Uncle Jed had inherited Clampett Manor, he required much “bowing and scraping.” I don’t know if I need to go quite that far, but I will make a couple of royal decrees to get me started — such as — “They will open a new line at Walmart if they see more than three people in line in front of me AND McDonald’s will offer me free retro glassware when I order a McRib combo meal ANY time of year.”

Beyond that, I would probably just be pushing it.

Nevertheless, it feels good to be the king.

                  •••

Todd is a former sportswriter who now dabbles in news, until his job at the Samuel Adams Brewery comes through.

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