Within any family there is almost always a complex group dynamic at work.

These dynamics increase exponentially the larger the family. With say, 11 siblings, the consequential in-laws, and the inevitable army of nieces and nephews pursuant to the Irish-Catholic paradigm, these dynamics could get so complex as to be fully understandable in theory only.

So much so that if there were a quantitative analogue to something like this, Einstein himself couldn't wrap his arms around it. It's an elusive phenomenon.

But sometimes it can be all so amusing. Sort of.

Though I would be loathe of course to single anybody out, but say hypothetically for instance that the oldest of the 11 may have a somewhat out-sized sense of self, including some sort of primogeniture entitlement to usurp control of even the most pedestrian of undertakings, like painting the kitchen of Grandma's house.

How something like this could necessitate a painstakingly detailed, two-page e-mail memo that somehow contained a quote from Leon Trotsky (I guess it was a stab at collectivism) sent to a veritable mob of relatives on exactly how to go about this task pushes one's imagination to the limit, no less their patience.

Naturally, consistent with full-blown CEO syndrome (no known cure), the architect of this grand directive can't do any of the actual hands-on work, because, fresh from the Hamptons, this week he's unfortunately up on Martha's Vineyard,"…one driveway removed from where the President is staying…", as he saw fit to inform his fellow gene poolers.

I found this all so typically tedious until I saw here in my in-box that one of my sisters who deals with diagnostic codes for a living just decided to ruffle the peacock's feathers a bit, conferring on him the rare honor of a number. Kind of like James Bond being 007.

In her otherwise business-like response to his communique, it begins: Dear 301.81

I Googled the figure. It is a DSM code. Five digits and a decimal point have never spoken so eloquently. Here is the definition .

Isn't humility grand. However involuntary it may be.

What a fine afternoon.





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