Nepotism always lets me down.
Being George Axelrod’s son never did much for me as a professional writer – I got a bad agent I eventually fired and some dead-end meetings with his aging colleagues. There were always other Axelrods of course, starting with that infamous beagle, "Axelrod the Texaco Worry Dog". He might have worried about the rest of Texaco’s customers, but he never did a thing for me. Of course I couldn’t drive then, I was just a kid. Maybe that explains it. But I mean – nothing. Not even a discount on kibble.
Then there’s the Axelrod yogurt people. My name meant squat to them. I never even got a free sample. Just some odd looks from grocery store clerks -- and believe me, I get enough of those anyway. And let's not forget the actual Steven Axelrods – like the one in New York whose girlfriend used to call me up at three AM sobbing to apologize for whatever she said at dinner. And the literary critic (No, I never corresponded with Anne Sexton!) . Not to mention the literary agent. I bonded with him over our childhood torments (That Worry Dog made his sixth grade year a misery, too), but he passed on my book, anyway.
All that was nothing compared to my new frustration. You know who I’m talking about. The Axelrod in the White House. But I have plans for this guy. Oh, yeah.
The phone call goes something like this: “Hey Dave! How ya doin’ there, Cous? What? You don’t remember your second cousin Steve? What about that party in Jersey when I had to take you to the hospital for alcohol toxemia? Crazy days, huh? What? You don’t remember? Of course you don’t! You had a blackout, cous. You don’t even remember the cop you punched out before the party broke up. Hey – they say if you can remember the sixties you weren’t really there. So what the hell. Anyway, Dave baby, how about a job? You owe me. I could write some speeches – I got the gift of gab. Or just do janitorial work. Whatever you can work out. Just get me there.”
I was about to make the call when I realized that every deadbeat loser and con-artist with the magic name has probably been clogging the White House phone lines for the last two weeks. I’m sure David Axelrod never knew he had so many long-lost cousins, brothers and switched-at-birth fraternal twins.
So I bagged the idea.
Axelrod:what a useless name. Maybe I’ll change it to Smith.
Or Obama. That might work.
“Hey Barry -- ”