Rise and Shine by Anna Quindlen read by Carol Monda

This is a charming very digestable story about one sister told by another. The sister in the spotlight is a freckled lovable morning news show host, with a perpetual trousseau of people who dress her, praise her, and advertise her friendship. A black limo brings her from Central Park West to the television studio and back. The other sister rides the subway everywhere, works at a battered women’s shelter, and dates a cop. Her’s is a pedestrian perspective.

The poor sister looks at the rich sister succeed, and then, one day, fail. Accidentally on purpose, pretty, married, red-haired Megan Fitzmaurice says “fucking asshole” on morning TV, live, just before going to a commercial and just after interviewing a married California millionaire and his pregnant surrogate girlfriend.

It is not surprising that there is a release of glee and ressentiment from the usual fans and friends of the successful. What is surprising is the resentment the successful feel toward the incompetent, the ineffectual, the unproductive. Drunk but articulate, Megan tells her sister:

You’re the one who gets to have the illusions. I’m the one who has to deal with reality. That’s our deal. Someone has to be the bitch so someone else gets to be the nice one. Someone has to be the one who pushes so someone else gets to be the one who takes it easy. Someone has to be the driven one so someone else can take their time, and figure things out, and follow their bliss. ..Someone has to be in charge so someone else can relax. Someone has to be willing to do everything so someone else can do nothing.

This could be the New Yorker’s mating call. (Although it may have originated in New Jersey: “Trenton makes, the world takes”)

Interesting, eh? The huge burden of those charged with making things, and making things happen. Even when it seems as if they are only reading the news out loud.