It’s true. I asked my brother, Joe Hirsch, to be a guest blogger but I did not call him, as he asserts, from a suburban shopping mall. And, contrary to his claim, he actually has failed to disappoint me on several occasions. The truth is he’s the real writer in the family and I would be jealous if I didn’t love him madly.
This is no exception.
So when she called me from an oversized vehicle spewing exhaust in a suburban shopping mall to demand I contribute to her blog, I asked what kind of commitment would be deemed acceptable. You see, I remain as suspicious of calls for commitment now in middle age and encroaching senility as I did as a young man exiting puberty a year ago.
When she responded that 400 words would be called for, I insisted a headline be counted among them. To my indignation, she replied that headlines are a category apart, one within which word count is not a proper consideration. I was appalled, but agreed to her conditions, because that’s the kind of man I am—a man of few words, all destined for glory, if not necessarily for publication.
Let me explain. I have always been a major roadblock in my younger sister’s aspirations to be first born in our family. There is nothing I or anyone else can do about that now. My sister was born second, which, in my estimation, is a very fortuitous position from which to be launched. Look, do you want to be the first rocket launched to decimate foreign targets? Of course you don’t. You want a reconnaissance missile to be launched initially as a decoy to be blown up in mid-flight so that you, as second fiddle, can be assured of crossing the Pacific successfully in order to flatten California, after a preliminary volley has sufficiently distracted missile defense forces.
And if you want to talk about distractions, talk to me. Well, not too loud, because I am easily distracted. In fact, my sister, who, by the way, runs this blog, thinks I should have gotten some kind of medical treatment for my distractible nature when I was young and she was even younger, to help me deal with my condition of distractibility, even if it would have required taking drugs. Drugs can be good for you in certain circumstances, but that would require the blessings of corporations—sorry, I mean the government, or, in other words, you and me, for aren’t we all in power here? That’s what’s so great about this country, this blog, and the pharmaceutical industry. It’s all very democratic.
My sister will no doubt be very disappointed in my column because it touches on so many important themes so effortlessly, so I think it’s fair to say her anger will stem from jealousy, but I accept that. I, too, would be disappointed with my column if I had the attention span necessary to sit still long enough to read it.
Well, sadly, I’m a hundred words over my word count, even without the headline. But that’s what family’s all about—being excessive in one’s choices while knowing that you will be forgiven because ultimately your excess is simply more important than anyone else’s, while never stooping into over-indulgence or—god forbid—inexcusable narcissism.