By Richard Meltzer
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Artie. other than herself, and my sister and her husband and their daughter, and me while her remember is firing on sufficient cylinders—and hello, throw in Alex, Vanna and Pat—the merely different character/role/person, residing or lifeless, who with any frequency comes associated in my mother's front-burner brain with a reputation is her retired pharmacist brother. even though it is not transparent no matter if she truly recalls Artie anymore, she does get a lotta play out of namedropping him. in the course of one in all our Woodstock dialogues, she requested me: "Are Middle starting finish — 177 you Richard or Artie? "—it hadda be one or the opposite (we're the 2 absentees within the lineup). i have obvious the guy—a beefy 6-foot bruiser (to my mother's 5-zero)—only as soon as within the final 35 years; and he or she hasn't visible him in approximately 10, yet even with out being fed his picture (Nancy's no fan of our uncle), she nonetheless manages to get an outstanding large BUZZ from reciting his identify and maybe (on a few point) thinking—or a minimum of conceiving—of him. Which, conversing of images, may well for all we all know be more'n may be acknowledged approximately me. with out my li'l sis show-&telling my pic umpteen instances a month, who is aware if i would also be half the Richard-Artie namedrop tag staff? (Artie's been a participant 50 percentage longer'n i've got, y'know? ) Nancy, at any fee, has been taking no percentages, and strut out my mugshots she does. might be it is a "sister-brother thing"—and so the hell is Esther-Artie—what's all of it fucking approximately, eh? yet sure, Nancy is an efficient Sister (much larger, prob'ly, than i'm a brother), and at the 3rd day of my remain she made me a nametag for Esther to work out: "RICHARD MELTZER"—first identify and final. It gave me a strange feeling to put on it. Even again while she unequivocally knew, I. D. -wise, who i used to be, she by no means knew or particularly cared who i really was once, or what i used to be, y'know what I did. I constantly had this cold experience that her tackle me used to be kind of "Your son's identify is going right here. " Her regard for me appeared now not lots conditional as one-size-fits-all—or an extra-large that itself may perhaps by no means be formed through the wearer. past my educational list and different markers of the good Nuthin', she had almost little interest in the workings of my soul or any yet 178 ~ RICHARD MELTZER the shallowest information of my non-generic lifestyles. For years, I despatched her copies of all my books, and she or he regularly behaved as though, y'know, happy with me, yet she by no means ever opened one. good, shoot—I've by no means recognized who the hell she is both. third individual A miscellany of E. Meltzer hypothesis, interpretation: Practicality to the purpose of heartlessness. Insensitivity with out callousness. Intelligence with out information or comprehension. convenience with no leisure. All excitement as overridingly psychological, let alone methodical: the studying of psychological demanding situations. by no means simply doodled or goofed off. No gratuitous job of any style. gigantic on accepting the hand-as-dealt, not likely opposed to the grain . . . why waste time complaining? but if the criticism is hers . . . uh oh. Throw out the deck and deal back. Emotional reticence? strength of mind?
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