Friday, March 21, 2008

With Great Responsibility Comes Great Sacrifice

You’ll all be happy to know that I’m finally getting the hang of living in Miami. This morning, Brooke and I woke up and went to a yoga class. Then we came home, showered and went back out to work remotely from a café sporting free wi-fi. So we sat outside, ate breakfast and didn’t drink any cocktails at all. (Hi, current employers!)

I have to say, the more we get used to this style of life, the less I miss New York. There will always be things about Miami that simply can’t compare to home, but the pros and the cons are all balancing out nicely at this point, with the beach five blocks away tipping the scales at the end of the day.

Except for one thing. One dreadful regret that has hollowed my soul to its very core. I even tried to write a poem about it, but couldn’t find anything to rhyme with “curly death of all my dreams enveloped in rusty cement.”

This is what happened:

About one week after Brooke and I decided we were moving to Miami, a strange envelope showed up in our mailbox. It was addressed simply, almost cryptically – like this is how a serial killer might send you a note made out of magazine cuttings letting you know that you were next on his list.

Address censored for current tenants’ privacy. You can’t be too careful, especially around Easter.

At the time, I failed to look at the return address. I was too excited to see what was inside. (I’ve never been targeted by a madman before. Despite the obvious downside of death, dismemberment etc., it does seem kind of thrilling to be “chosen” for something.)

I opened up the envelope and pulled out a letter. I began reading it. “Dear Sir or Madam . . .” Two sentences in, I dropped the letter on the floor. It was like in the movies where a wife gets a letter from her husband in the future that she is going to die of cancer in three years unless she finds a treasure buried deep off a reef in the South Pacific, and she simply can’t believe it, and the letter flutters in slow motion to the floor, along with a delicate glass of tea, maybe, and some ominous classical music swells in the background. Except there was no music and I can’t drink tea because it constipates me.

But the horror – that was the same. I grabbed the envelope off the counter, flipped it over and looked at the return address.

from address

I’d been chosen, alright. But not by deranged killer. Rather, by the Nielsen Family.

Zoomed in for extra horror!

Now, a little info about me so no one is caught unaware: I’ve had many dreams in life. Not many of them have come true. (Specifically the ones involving man-made flying machines or conversing with animals.) But the one I had always held out hope for was that someday I would be chosen to be a Nielsen Family. That what I watched on TV would matter. Sure, I may not have well-formed opinions on things like politics and science and which way the wind blows, but goddamnit I know TV! I had a choice to make: Either go to Miami with Brooke and Puppy and chase a new dream, one born of life’s simple pleasures, of love and that awesome smell dogs get when they wake up after a nap; or stay in Brooklyn and take advantage of what may perhaps be my one chance to make a meaningful contribution to society.

A few weeks later, Lili Anna Diaz from Nielsen showed up at my door with a bouquet of flowers to welcome me into the family. It was like being accepted into the mafia, or the Knights of Columbus – there is no “if” you want to be a part of it, it is simply assumed that you will be honored join. In what turned into an extremely awkward exchange, she handed me the flowers before I could explain that I was moving to Miami; I had chosen my fate and it was south of the Mason-Dixon. So, no I wouldn’t be a Nielsen Family. Not today.

She seemed confused, dejected, like I was turning down a chance to cure cancer or a job offer from the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit edition. Figuring it would be weird to give back the flowers, I thanked her for her time and shut the door.

The flowers died a week later, along with my dream. At least now I can finish my poem.

I chose Miami. RIP “Arrested Development.”


Blogger kate said...

Not to pour salt in the wound, but they give you like five American dollars for doing it too.

March 21, 2008 at 4:23:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Dan said...


March 21, 2008 at 4:25:00 PM EDT  
Blogger kate said...

Only 7 more American dollars and you and Tobais could go on the airport shuttle together and meet Carl Weathers.

March 21, 2008 at 5:09:00 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

at least now we know who to blame for killing television programming.

way to go.

March 21, 2008 at 6:32:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Cassie said...

Actually, it's like $100. I was part of Nielsen family in New Orleans once. It was a sad, sad day when I had to call them to come pick up their little box because I was moving to New York.

Luckily, It's Always Sunny is still on.

March 22, 2008 at 2:31:00 PM EDT  
Blogger SAILOR MOON said...

i dont get it at all...

March 22, 2008 at 6:56:00 PM EDT  
Blogger SuperBee said...

I'm not going to lie to you, I didn't read your post. I mean, I skimmed it, but I have a raging hangover, and am trying to drink to get rid of it, so I can be all shiny for tomorrow morning's easter brunch at the Mirador pool.

Nevertheless, I'm familiar with your blog, having made friends with some of your other New York blogging cohorts.

Welcome to Miami Beach. You'll (sometimes) enjoy it here.

And sometimes not. A hint: make plans to be away during Memorial Day Weekend. As in: Not on South Beach.

Don't ask questions. You'll understand after the weekend has passed. And then you can thank me.

March 22, 2008 at 10:31:00 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm still waiting on those man-made flying machines too. I heard something about these Wright brothers from Ohio going to North Carolina to test some new-fangled contraption, but I'm sure it'll never work. The dream lives on.

March 23, 2008 at 1:04:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Alexander said...

hey, now that you live in Miami, you may have to invest in something new for puppy. Like this

March 23, 2008 at 3:06:00 AM EDT  
Blogger sid said...

You're a bigger man than me Dan, making such a huge sacrifice for love.

March 23, 2008 at 4:11:00 PM EDT  
Anonymous long time reader, fifth time poster said...

That's a real blow!

March 23, 2008 at 11:48:00 PM EDT  
Blogger sleeptalker said...

It's sad that I took the time to do this, but check it out: Nielsen is looking for a "Membership Recruiter" in your new neck o' the woods ... see Requisition ID (optional) 6263BR on their job site. It pays a whopping $30,000 a year. You could be more than a Nielsen family, you could part of the Nielsen family. Working from home. Just don't tell the other work-from-home bosses and you're golden.

Don't thank me.

March 24, 2008 at 1:34:00 PM EDT  
Blogger kristy said...

I don't always comment to nit-pick (honest), but you should close your italics code at the end of the entry. When you view your entry fully, all the comments are italicized and it looks funny.

Also, I am probably just being bitchy because I feel like you moved away. How could you leave the Northeast for Miami? Though I'm not sure where I get off being annoyed at this, seeing as I moved away six years ago and live in SF. Whatevs.

March 24, 2008 at 7:46:00 PM EDT  
Blogger kristy said...

P.S. There is rumor of an Arrested Development movie.

March 24, 2008 at 7:46:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Craig said...

RIP, indeed.

Enjoy your paid TV watching.


March 24, 2008 at 9:39:00 PM EDT  
Blogger David said...

Wow. The things I would do to be a Nielson family...

and get paid to do it. Damn. THAT is the American Dream, and that dream is dead.

March 25, 2008 at 5:58:00 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My family was selected to be a Nielsen family when I was about 11 years old.

For years prior, my mother spoke several times of her desire to be a Nielsen Family. When the call came, my mother cried.

I remember setting my the family TV to tune-in to MacGyver, even if I wasn't home to watch.

March 30, 2008 at 12:00:00 AM EDT  

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