Go Right, Brother

INNOCENT BYSTANDER

GEORGE my younger brother called last night.

As a sixth grader with a conscience a brooding sense of justice," as he likes to say, it's always sale to as sume that when George calls he'll be outraged about something. This time it was Grenada.

I'm outraged about Grenada. "George said, with that slightly nervous tone of the 12-year-old who tends to get beaten up daily at the playground because of his enlightened views. He insists that moral imperatives require that girls be allowed to play kick-ball ("G'wan, eat dirt punk" was the most recent retort to George's plea, I think).

"Have you been reading the papers again? I told mom it just works you into one of your fits of outrage. She's been worrying about your sleeping habits, you know."

"She's been nervous since I ordered those plane tickets to Canada right after Haig said he was ready to take command."

"Right, they stopped you when the flight attendant got suspicious about a 4-ft., 6-in. fourth grader with a Mastercard."

"Stop chuckling. You're supposed to be my sympathetic older brother."

"O.K. But Grenada? Personally, I've been more upset about the lack of concern the Wall Street Journal and The New York Times have shown for Michael Jackson's hair burning. It was buried inside somewhere, below a piece on Reagan's new staff director for the civil rights commission denouncing affirmative action and equal pay for women."

"What!"

"Forget it--just something in my throat. Go on about Grenada."

"I read it in the Times--it seems when those brave socialists took over, a few of the fringe elements whiled away theafternoons holding target practiceout on the beach. Problem was, they were shooting at the yachts in the regattas held by the Grenada Yacht Club."

"So?"

"Well, before Reagan had time to get the Marines on it, some friend of his with a yacht put in a call to Cap Weinberger...I read recently that Ralph Nader said George Bush's staff alone had raised the yacht-per-Administration member ratio to its greatest heights since Calvin Coolidge."

"I'm not impressed."

I knew you'd be this way Mom says you've been, well, different, since you began talking about law school. Anyway, the New York Yacht Club is helping the Grenada Yacht Club get back on its feet by sending down a five member race committee and a committee boat. The Mount Gay Rum Company is throwing a post-race party. The Rolex watch company is donating the prizes. "It's a veritable capitalist welcome-wagon!"

I could sense George slipping out of control. I knew if I failed to step in and calm him down. George would have to sit out school for a week. I would catch hell from Mom and probably lose car privileges.

"Take it easy, George. This is what President Reagan calls 'private sector initiative.' It's a laudable attempt by good natured businessmen to step in where the public sector would just screw things up. I mean, look at all the flak Medicare gets for transferring tax dollars to impoverished physicians. Don't you think doctors have problems covering payments on those beach houses, with the economy the way it is?"

"I guess you have a point."

"And look at it from the personal side. Think of all those independently wealthy former Porcellian members, sitting around the Grenada Yacht Club. This season's topsiders remain untouched by saltwater, but they have to sit around the club, fearful they might take one in the gut if they merely head out in the $50,000 yachts. Yachts they certainly have a right to sail. There's fairness for rich people too, you know."

"What's the Porcellian?"

"I guess you could call it Harvard's encounter group for the upwardly mobile, but don't lose any sleep over it."

"Mom says you get more obscure as you get more conservative. But I suppose you're right about this Grenada business. Still, I take issue with your defense of Michael Jackson. He and his brothers made five million on that commercial."

"Hey--Brooke Shields demands the very best."