It's come to this.
People don't believe me when I say I'm Carl Hiaasen's brother.
Listen, it's not like I bring it up with my Shell gas station guy (he and I barely speak as it is) or the check-out girl at Wegmans (check-out person). It's just that every week or so, I still get The Question...
Are you related to the Hiaasen who writes all those funny books in Florida?
...but instead of falling to their knees in rapture when I say yes, people doubt me!
No, I really am related, I say.
Come on, really?
No, you're not.
They used to be believe me. I'm not sure when the tipping point came. But lately the woman taking my credit card at Barnes & Noble, new journalism colleagues, and readers of my newspaper in Annapolis, don't buy my story anymore. (Perhaps the problem is Carl and I don't look-alike: he's tan, boyish and with working bangs; I'm sinfully average.)
OK, Carl Hiaasen isn't my brother. He's just a successful novelist from South Florida, whose parents and childhood home strike an eerie resemblance to my personal coordinates. I've never met him. I do have all of his books. They are mysteriously sent to me -- signed and free of charge. Maybe he does that with everyone.
Who am I kidding? I miss the days when people believed I was his brother -- back when they basked in the deflected glory of my deflected glory. Now, my glory days are over.
Maybe Brad Pitt has a younger brother who can relate. Rob Pitt. Or maybe George Clooney -- Rob Clooney. Justin Timberlake! Rob Timberlake. Maybe people don't believe all of them, either.
Maybe I'll just change my name to Rob Pitt.
But who will believe me?
Follow Rob Hiaasen on Twitter: www.twitter.com/RHiaasen