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I know the message of the movie “Greenberg,” which people have been walking out of movie theaters hating, is: “Hurt people hurt people.” You get it: hurt as adjective, then hurt as a verb. Ben Stiller plays a self-absorbed jerk who has zero empathy for anyone in his life. But it’s because he’s been damaged. He’s living out a damaged life.

But to me the message was: I want a personal assistant.

“Greenberg” depicts some of the  worst on-screen sex scenes ever. Doesn’t matter. The real porn in the movie is Greta Gerwig playing the assistant to Greenberg’s brother, Phillip. Yes, Phillip Greenberg has a pool and a beautiful house in Hollywood and is a successful something or other. Yes, he’s going on an exotic vacation/business trip to Vietnam. But you know what’s exciting? He has an assistant. For the whole family. A competent young woman to do everybody’s chores.

I’ve always resented the time I spend doing chores. Going to Staples to pick up a new toner for the laser printer and get some book party invites copied, going to the grocery store, the bank, the post office, the other bank, synchronizing my calendars, sending my photograph and bio out. How lovely it would be to have a smart, competent extra me, to run around and do all my errands, so that the smart, competent actual me could write, create and (alas, a non-assignable chore) go to the gym.

On the other hand, years and years ago, when I bemoaned the time I spent on mindless errands, I had a boyfriend who argued that what I called mindless errands was actually life.

It’s a very “Our Town” worldview. Walking to the store, walking to the bank, picking up groceries, oh joy. Take anyone six feet under and grant them a day back above, and going to the post office would be a carnival Okay, fine, if it’s a sunny day. But if it’s raining, I’d really prefer Greta Gerwig to go to the post office for me.

Forget the other perks of the rich. Forget the cars, the swimming pools, the breathtaking views. The rich have assistants. Which means they have more of a commodity the rest of us poor schmoes are only able to see slip through our fingers: time.

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