After a morning of exertion in my walk-in humidor (Mother Riche’s illustrious collection of the hand-mirrors of silver screen legends do not archive themselves), I like to begin the day with a hearty breakfast; namely, a raisin floating in a snifter of Grey Goose. I do not as a rule enjoy the sensation of physical effort, but I find that there are certain tasks which must be personally undertaken—especially those of a more delicate nature. (Joan Crawford’s mirror grew legs the last time I trusted my collection to a corrupt concierge.)

Yes, I have learnt my lesson well. Employ a single unsavory professional to dust and organize your jars of urine, and the scandalous unauthorized biographies practically write and publish themselves. As a side note, the unethical leaders of Butler University should be charged with criminal conduct for their school’s completely deceptive and misleading moniker.

It is thoughts such as these that leave me wistful for the simple, carefree days of my youth. My adopted Micronesian sibling and I summered with our Uncle Donald on West Egg for several weeks every August. Roughing it, good-naturedly, we fed ourselves by hand, slept in the same room on beds with only one sleep number, and showered under a single massaging jet.

Uncle Donald (or ‘Baron’, as he preferred to be called) was a roughneck tradesman who had a share in a modest sixty-acre alpaca ranch, a bootstrapping upstart business that was the first to corner the market on the alpaca wool nappies that have long enjoyed popularity on Park Avenue bottoms in cathedral-ceiling Park Avenue nurseries. Alpaca wool is said to have both soothing and odor-absorbing properties— after all, when was the last time you smelled an alpaca? There could have been one sitting right next to you on the Friday afternoon jet to Montenegro, reading an advance copy of the Times Sunday Book Review, and you, on the phone scheduling an emergency hot stone massage, would have thought to yourself, “Why, Diane Keaton is looking better than ever these days,” as it ordered a wheatgrass martini.

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