March 17, 2009
The more decrepit readership of this fine magazine may remember the 1980?s and a TV confectionary treat of a show, a soap of bubble bath proportions, ?Dynasty?. My big sister, Catherine Oxenberg, played a role. She absorbed all sorts of public attention.
To this day total strangers will ask me of her whereabouts, and, specifically, ?is she still acting??
Gentlemen tell me, ?Don?t hold it against me, but when I was in college I had posters of your sister on my wall?.
Women are more likely to pry. And the answer I bestow depends entirely on the whim of the moment. If I?m faced with a busy-body, nosy-parker, I have been known to say, ?I?ve never met Catherine Oxenberg. Different family?.
Usually these people have never met my sister.
There are benefits.
I will declare that when it suited my purposes, I have gone so far as to say that I am Catherine. There was the time I booked a table at a fancy Los Angeles restaurant. I booked for two, for lunch. I arrived first and was seated at a prominent booth. A few minutes behind me was my lunch companion, Nile, an African American gentleman. The maitre d?h?tel came and looked askance at us but managed to hold back from commenting. Waiters cruised by darting suspicious glances. I noticed them whispering to each other. I felt a bit guilty. But only a bit.
Years back, I toiled as a private researcher. This required making cold calls to movie star celebrities. I left charming messages. No one called me back. So I got crafty and left my name as, ?Catherine Oxenberg?. Everyone returned the calls. One man went so far as to invite me to dinner. Flummoxed, I had to admit I was a big fat liar and I was in fact Catherine?s younger sister. He promptly disinvited me.
And moral obstacles.
For example, today I received a bill from my local electric company, and it is addressed to Catherine Oxenberg. I am considering not paying it. Returning the envelope marked ?no such person at this residence?. I ponder the law on ?mis-identification & responsibilities.
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