1) Is this the first time you’ve ever interviewed yourself?

No, in fact, when I was growing up I interviewed myself constantly. I mean I pretended I was on Mike Douglas or Merv Griffin but they weren’t there. It was usually when I wanted to liven up a lengthy dishwashing session or tell Mike or Merv how mean my brothers were. I was like an early Rupert Pupkin.


2) Rupert Pupkin, Merv Griffin, Mike Douglas.. something about your references leads me to believe you’re very old.

That’s true. I am.

I ’M A HUGE BELIEVER in being truthful except in the instances of hurting someone’s feelings or saving your own ass. (The saving- your- own- ass reason doesn’t really apply to this chapter or this book; in fact, pretend I didn’t say it.)

I’ve often felt that the sharing of information between parents is one of the most vital and useful tools of parenting. It’s also the quickest way to find out that not only are all of your fears utterly justified, there’s also more scary junk that you weren’t smart enough to know about and your lack of awareness may have just destroyed your child’s chances of getting into any institution that doesn’t have bars on the windows.

The summer before Violet started first grade, we were in the playground with her friend Sylvia and Sylvia’s mom, Jenny, who was one of my few mom- friends at the time. Jenny and I were talking about the following year and which teachers were supposed to be good.

“I don’t really know much about the teachers,” Jenny said, “but if Syl gets Jane Doe, I’m going to kill myself.”

“Uh-oh, what’s her story?” I asked.