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  • erikaraskin

How We Roll

Raskins can turn any event into a high-stakes, (semi) fun competition.


Any event.


Nothing illustrates this more than my brother's recent cancer diagnosis.


Or, more accurately, the creation of the Select Committee on Family Volunteers, an organization of self-appointed members to oversee the efforts of you know, the rest of us.


When the 30-person text chain lit up this week with notification that applications were being accepted for various duties to support my brother and his wife over the next couple of months, everyone stepped up.


But it wasn't quite that simple.


The evaluation process was intense. General capabilities and demonstrated competency were weighed.


In other words, it's been cutthroat.


Just to be considered, my other brother sent a reply that he would provide rides to treatment as well as meals. He also promised to throw in a (regifted) $25 Starbucks card in order to be added to the rotation.


When that sibling's visiting spouse happened to mention to me that she too had offered homemade dinners and rides but she did so in a private DM to the Chairman of the Committee, I felt compelled to reveal her back-channel move. I was vindicated when my text prompted the following response from the actual patient, who happens to be a politician:


The Committee operates on objective criteria and strongly

discourages influence peddling and frowns upon side deals.


Mollified, I then group texted that I should be signed up for whatever was needed. (Which, considering the fact that I live three hours away was obviously the most selfless of all the bids.)


However my overture triggered a mob-like response. I was accused of giving empty gift boxes. My offer was deemed vapid and I was group-excoriated for my lack of specificity. I was forced to issue an addendum:


alright, it has come to my attention that i needed to be more

specific than saying i will do anything to help—which i believe

covers, you know ANYTHING. but for the more anal amongst

us, i will come and drive and cook (or order) and stay for as

long as i’m needed. better?


One of the Committee members sent out the following mass response (to me):


we gave two very clear examples of correct and incorrect

ways of how to offer I will take your new offer back to the

committee and see how they feel


That was what was said in front of the audience.


Behind the scenes, judgy texts flew between the Committee Members' wagging-fingers:


(In our family what's said about you will --eventually-- be said to you.)

Weirdly, I still haven't been given an assignment. I was assured, however, that “logistical aptitude and potential effectiveness were considered, along with originality of proposals.” So I'm sure it's just a matter of time before someone gets in touch.

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