December 10th, 2008


The Other Danny Burstein

As many of my friends know, my father had five sons. The first two, David and Daniel, were with his first wife. Then he married my mom and had three more sons, Jonathan, Michael, and Joshua. David and Danny were somewhat older than the rest of us, so at the same time I grew up as a middle child but with the sometimes presence of my two older half-brothers.

Danny Burstein Danny Burstein
My half-brother Danny Burstein. Photo copyright ©2008 by Michael A. Burstein.

I have a lot of stories I like to tell about Danny. He spent many years as a paramedic working the midnight shift out of Harlem Hospital, so he has plenty of stories to share. He once came to my school to give a talk on drugs, in which he made it absolutely clear what a paramedic could and couldn't do for someone who had overdosed. He was a union treasurer and a rabble rouser who pushed for better emergency medical care for all New Yorkers. And he was once arrested under suspicion of being Son of Sam. (I'll tell that story later.)

Like me, Danny has sometimes run into other people with the same name. When he was in college, the members of the Columbia University Science Fiction Society found a wedding announcement for some other Danny Burstein, and they posted it on the wall of their office, with a note asking, "Why weren't we invited?" (The announcement and note stayed on the wall well into the 1990s.) Danny has occasionally also been mixed up with Dan Burstein, a writer who focused on economic current events for a while but more recently has become known for his books on blogging and on the questions raised by The Da Vinci Code.

And then there's Danny Burstein, the actor, and the new story I have to tell.

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