Then at breakfast one morning when I was 15, my mother sat me down and told me the truth. "Nick," she said. "Have you ever heard of the Repository for Germinal Choice?"
Seven years into their marriage, my mom and her husband had been unable to get pregnant, possibly because the latter had been kicked hard in the testicles back in Vietnam. When my mom asked her doctor about using a sperm donor, he told her about the Repository, a sperm bank that accepted only Nobel prize winners' semen. Getting impregnated there required her to put down a $500+ deposit, but it gave her a child with a destiny. What could possibly be shady about that? Nothing.
Honestly, 500 bucks seems a little light for the jelly of Steinbeck's grapes of wrath.
For me, it was like one of those movies where the hero learns his father was a super-assassin or a wizard. I gained new hope (for starters, I took school more seriously). When I read up more on the Nobel sperm bank, I learned donors included a professor who was also a musician and a leading scientist who scales mountains. One was even Jonas Salk, the inventor of the polio vaccine. Was my father Jonas Salk?! Spoiler: No. But keep reading anyway, because the truth is weirder.