Does Frank Bruni Know He's Writing a New York Times Column?S

In the past, we have used this space to mock new New York Times columnist Frank Bruni for starting out poorly, then getting progressively, unbelievably worse. He seems to lack any convictions at all, let alone interesting ones; though he's only been on the job for half a year, he's already been reduced to padding his column with excruciatingly boring stories from his own life, due to his apparent dearth of worthwhile ideas about important issues.

Or so we thought. But have we been too harsh on Frank? Now, we have a new theory: Frank Bruni is completely unaware that the things he writes are being published on the New York Times op-ed page. He thought he was writing on his own Facebook wall the whole time! It's the only reasonable explanation for today's column: "I used to live in Rome and now I've gone back to Rome on vacation and here I am in Rome narrating all of my picayune memories in real time."

And I wonder how, during the two years when I called Rome home and wandered frequently through the Villa Borghese park, I never noticed an especially lush, shady patch near the Galleria Borghese that I stumbled across recently, on a return trip. Like the sky's vividness, the discovery unsettled me.

Frank Bruni is going to be so embarrassed when he finds out these Facebook vacation photo captions were, in fact, printed in the opinion section of the world's most influential newspaper!

This is the stretch of the calendar, from Thanksgiving through New Year's, when many of us revisit the places we've left behind. These journeys can be difficult, and I don't mean the brawls over the overhead bin.

Ugh, when Frank Bruni finds out that postcard he sent to his mom—complete with corny joke—was instead published in the New York Times, he will be so red in the face!

About a year ago I visited Chapel Hill, N.C., where I went to college, for the first time since I graduated in 1986. I ran an old running route, just to see if it conformed to my memories.

"Are you telling me that the polite little note I sent my college alumni magazine has, by some unbeknownst series of errors, come to be printed in The Paper of Record, instead? What a fiasco!" - Frank Bruni

I'm talking about subtle, incidental blessings that are strangely invisible to us. My friend N. realized that there was a towering, flowering Schefflera plant in front of her childhood home in California only after she'd moved to New York and begun coveting one in a Manhattan store, which wanted $500 for it.

Your friend N. is, in fact, the New York Times, which took this paragraph, and published it for public consumption. Whoops!

I've met a half dozen people on my Manhattan block who have never set foot inside the corner bakery, Levain, which makes what might be the best chocolate chip cookies in the city. And it's not because these neighbors of mine are dieting. A few of them don't even know the bakery's there, though there are lines out the door some weekends.

Frank Bruni thought he had the Yelp.com customer review tab open; in fact, it was a word document that was sent to his editor, for publication.

Hate when that happens.

[NYT. Image via Getty]