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Today after I picked Elliot up from school, he asked me: “Have you ever heard the story of King Midas?”

“Yeah, I have,” I said. “Did you hear it at school?”

“It’s in the reading corner.”

“Did you like the story?”

“Yeah, it’s pretty good,” he said.

“Did you get what the moral of the story was?”

He thought for a minute. “I don’t know.”

“Well, what’s the lesson that King Midas learned?”

“Oh! Yeah! Never listen to spirits when they ask you if you want to make a wish.”

“That’s a good one,” I said. “But what else?”

“Umm, don’t wish that you can turn things into gold!”

“That’s good, you’re getting there,” I said. “Why don’t you want to wish you could turn things into gold?”

“Oh! Yeah! That’s the lesson! Don’t hold your daughter’s hand when you’ve wished you could turn everything you touch into gold and it came true! Because then you’ll turn your daughter into gold!”

“What about don’t be greedy?” I asked.

“Huh,” he paused. “No, I don’t necessarily see that.”


Let me try to reproduce the phone call I just received.

Me: This is Jordan.

Indian-accented woman who is clearly located in a large room full of other people on headsets: Yes, hello, is this Jordan Miller?

Me: Yes. Who’s calling?

IAW: This is (name I didn’t catch). I am calling on behalf of Geoff Lilienfeld.

Me: My brother?

IAW: Yes. He would like to know what you are purchasing for your mother for Christmas.

Me: I’m sorry? Is this a joke?

IAW: No, it is not a joke. Your brother would like to know what you are purchasing for your mother for Christmas.

Me: Did he hire you to call me and ask me this?

IAW: Geoff has hired my company to handle his personal business. So I am sort of like a personal assistant.

Me: You’re my brother’s personal assistant. (My brother is 24 years old and his Facebook picture is of himself eating a giant piece of pizza, most likely at 4 a.m.)

IAW: It’s like that, yes ma’am.

Me: Ummm. Okay. Hold on, let me walk to another part of my office. … Okay. You can tell him that our mom and I decided that the adults wouldn’t give presents this year, that we would just do stocking stuffers.

IAW: Your brother would like to know what he should purchase for your mother.

Me: If he wants I can just get her stocking stuff and he can chip in. I’m guessing it’ll be around 75 bucks total. Maybe a little more. If he can’t chip in that’s okay, I’ll still put his name on it.

IAW: Okay.

Me: Okay. …

IAW: Thank you.

Me: Thank you too. Bye.

IAW: Goodbye.

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