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?