O. and I

Adam Wilson in The Paris Review:

WilsonA shared Anglo-Saxon surname, however, is merely the first parallel between our lives. To wit: Like O., I was born into an artistic family (our mothers are visual artists, our siblings work in film); I too was a self-proclaimed “troublemaker” in my youth; I too once wore blond hair that hung to my shoulders; I too have a large and distinctive nose; I too have a younger brunette brother; I too have struggled with depression; and I, too, consider myself primarily a writer, though like O., I would happily accept any acting job offered regardless of script quality, assuming the pay is substantial. Did I mention we have the same taste in women? He has been romantically linked to Kate Hudson, Demi Moore, and Sheryl Crow; I have not. But I have often imagined those three in erotic concert, Crow’s “All I Wanna Do” winnowing from my iPod dock as their cougar paws explore my body’s nooks.

But, though we’re both Wilsons, only one of us (O.) is of true Anglo-Saxon origin. I come from a small clan of Jewish Wilsons née Wilsick née Wilczyk, and my true self is apparent under even the dimmest bulb of scrutiny. Unlike the majestic bump that separates the slim halves of O.’s phallic schnoz, my own mid-face protrusion is broad and bony, an ugly hinge that deviates my septum, leaving me looking less like a battered prizefighter than a genetic unfortunate, too poor for plastic surgery. Though the members of my family have enjoyed modest success in their chosen fields, the members of O.’s are stars. It’s true that we once wore twin hairstyles, but my hair thinned and began to fall out by the age of eighteen. O.’s writing has earned him critical acclaim for films like Rushmore and The Royal Tennenbaums, while mine has earned mostly negative reviews from megalomaniacal blog commenters. And one surely can’t miss the fact that though we both like actresses of a certain age, O. has actually had sex with these women, whereas I have merely used them as fodder for my fantasies.

More here.