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FEBRUARY 5, 2009 12:33PM

The Wrong Axelrod, Again.

Rate: 11 Flag

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 -- ”

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Ha! So you ARE Jonathan Axelrod’s brother. (Thought that would’ve been a stupid question).

Funny post.
I was googling your father and had a start with an obituary page with today's date. (They made some corrections in the NYT.) I'm sure you have some stories there....
So many Axelrods, so little time. There's ctually a whole genealogical book, listing all the Axelrods in America. It's astonishing how few of them I'm related to. I'm very proud of my Dad, and very happy that we worked out all our conflicts and problems before he died. I still have his voice in my head -- an amused, chiding voice, usually, telling me to make it short or cut it down "That last line was a room-emptier, dear boy." It works the other way, too -- I know when I've written something he'd like. It's
an interesting way to be haunted ...
Barry here. Ha!
Wait a minute, didn't I read this in the New Yorker last week? I'm sure I did. Or I shoulda.
What's the name of that witless literary agent that passed on the book? Ah, yes. The Arnold Snarb Agency. I got turned down too.
Funny, seriously funny!
You think? Annie was like ... "That got on the home page??" No sensahumah ...
You know I love your geneaologic history, so I don't know I missed this. I've been under the weather...for a month. Eh. anyway, check your PMs for a msg.

(I know, that word up there is likely misspelled, I hear my 6th grade teacher like you hear your dad, just not as beloved)