Cousin Michael

As I slogged through all the requirements towards my math degree, a team of fellow students on the same academic path followed me from class to class. While some became study mates or comrades, many of them I never acknowledged, including this one dude Michael.

Well, it turns out, unbeknownst to me, Michael and I were distant cousins. Right before senior year I was at a bar mitzvah surrounded by extended family that I haven’t seen in forever and frankly didn’t know very well at all. One older relative caught wind I attended Binghamton University and mentioned her son was also a student there. She showed me a picture – and it was that Michael guy. Fancy that. But the knowledge that he and I perhaps shared a few strands of DNA didn’t change our relationship – we still never made contact before, during, or after class, or any classes were shared since.

Years passed. A couple weeks before I graduated I drove some younger friends around helping them scope out rentals for next year. I took them to look at one place, and coincidentally Michael happened to be currently living there. So as my pals examined the house I found myself suddenly alone with Michael in his den, unable to escape conversation any longer.

After a minute of awkward silence I broke the ice with, “You know we’re related, right?”

“Yeah,” he said, barely moving his eyes from the television set.

“Weird, huh?”


We never spoke again.

About Matt Lebofsky

Musician wearing many hats. Played in a bunch of bands, toured in hundreds of cities around the planet. Also a general geek who works on several of the world's biggest scientific projects searching for extraterrestrial intelligence. Grew up in suburban NYC. Now lives in Oakland, CA.
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