Monday, October 24, 2005

Excerpt from: Na,na,na...na Hey Judaism

My first real encounter with Judaism, was when I moved to the big city to follow my aspirations in music. I rented a basement apartment from a couple, Simon and Susie Sidlebaulmn. It was a modest one bedroom basement apartment, with a small living room, kitchen and bathroom.
I was on the road with my band Bitter Romance much of the time and not privy to the daily workings of the religion. I would only get scraps of horror stories over the phone from my then live-in girlfriend Lorraine.

"Oh my God. They are chanting in the family room and they have these little black boxes on their arms, and foreheads."

"Like an airplane black box?" I inquired.

"I don’t know," she said. Her voice was shaking, "It’s scaring me."

"No shit," I’d reply just as confounded, and wondering what she wanted me to do when I was a thousand miles from home. "Maybe they’re part of some demonic cult looking for a human sacrifice," I offered, making Lorraine burst into tears.

Of course, the boxes she spoke of are tefillin a leather pouch, which contain the scrolls of Torah passages and is bound to the hands and between the eyes for prayer.

A week later during my call home Lorraine was at it again. "She brought some sort of liquid down for me to eat. I think she’s trying to poison me?" Her terrified voice cracking over the phone.

Rather interested in this new development, I said, "What does it look like?"

"It has big blobs of some-sort-of dough . . . I think?" I could almost see her poking it with a stick from a distance.

"Is it ticking?"

"I don’t think so."

"Eat it, or call in the bomb squad," I said, becoming a little annoyed at these
constant intrusions. After all I had problems of my own. Like starving while our drummer embezzled money and ate in the finest restaurants and I shared peanut butter and mustard macaroni soup with two other band members.

Of course, what she was looking at, was matzah ball soup, although I didn’t know if she had, floaters and sinkers.

On our next conversation. "Oh my God. They’re building a large wooden structure out back. What should I do?"

Many thoughts went through my head. Was it an extension to the house? Was it a shed of some kind, to keep and butcher small animals? Eventually mind boggled, I said, "Does it look like it can float?"

She hesitated, obviously lifting the corner of a curtain to give it a further inspection. "I...I...I’m not sure."

"If they start collecting two of every animal, get the hell out of the basement!"

This of course was a Sukkah, built annually during the Holiday of Sukkot, a festive, Thanksgiving, Christmasy holiday. In later years, I would see these structures everywhere as summer gave way to the onslaught of Fall.

"Johnny this is the worst yet," an upset Lorraine whimpered over the phone.

I sighed, "What’s wrong now?"

"They’re doing something . . . something big."

"What, what!" Was it some sort of assassination attempt? Were they printing counterfeit $100's? My mind raced.

"I don’t know," she sobbed.

"Tell me what you see Lorraine."

"They are scrubbing and cleaning and wrapping everything in tinfoil. Is that normal?" She related this to me in hushed tones, as if she were in danger of being discovered that she knew too much. Lorraine was the epitome of the nosy neighbor. "They’re also burning things in the back yard like they’re getting rid of evidence. They’re cooking something too----I haven’t seen the mailman for a while---you don’t suppose---I’m scarred John."

After a long pause, I said, "I think, this has something to do with Passover if I’m not mistaken."

"Passover?"

"It’s a dinner to commemorate the ahhh----Angel of Death or something."

"The Angel of Death is coming---here---to the house," Lorraine began to cry
again.

(Did I mention Lorraine wasn’t very bright?)
"Do you know Charlton Heston?"

"Charlton Heston’s coming to dinner," she sobbed harder.

"The Ten Commandments! The Ten Commandments! Just watch the damn movie! It’s all in there! Mosses, locusts, death, Passover, GOODBYE!" I yelled and slammed the phone down.

Tomorrow excerpt from: The events of last night

2 comments:

'Thought & Humor' said...

We work like a horse.
We eat like a pig.
We like to play chicken.
You can get someone's goat.
We can be as slippery as a snake.
We get dog tired.
We can be as quiet as a mouse.
We can be as quick as a cat.
Some of us are as strong as an ox.
People try to buffalo others.
Some are as ugly as a toad.
We can be as gentle as a lamb.
Sometimes we are as happy as a lark.
Some of us drink like a fish.
We can be as proud as a peacock.
A few of us are as hairy as a gorilla.
You can get a frog in your throat.
We can be a lone wolf.
But I'm having a whale of a time!

You have a riveting web log
and undoubtedly must have
atypical & quiescent potential
for your intended readership.
May I suggest that you do
everything in your power to
honor your encyclopedic/omniscient
Designer/Architect as well
as your revering audience.
As soon as we acknowledge
this Supreme Designer/Architect,
Who has erected the beauteous
fabric of the universe, our minds
must necessarily be ravished with
wonder at this infinate goodness,
wisdom and power.

Please remember to never
restrict anyone's opportunities
for ascertaining uninterrupted
existence for their quintessence.

There is a time for everything,
a season for every activity
under heaven. A time to be
born and a time to die. A
time to plant and a time to
harvest. A time to kill and
a time to heal. A time to
tear down and a time to
rebuild. A time to cry and
a time to laugh. A time to
grieve and a time to dance.
A time to scatter stones
and a time to gather stones.
A time to embrace and a
time to turn away. A time to
search and a time to lose.
A time to keep and a time to
throw away. A time to tear
and a time to mend. A time
to be quiet and a time to
speak up. A time to love
and a time to hate. A time
for war and a time for peace.

Best wishes for continued ascendancy,
Dr. Howdy

'Thought & Humor'

P.S. One thing of which I am sure is
that the common culture of my youth
is gone for good. It was hollowed out
by the rise of ethnic "identity politics,"
then splintered beyond hope of repair
by the emergence of the web-based
technologies that so maximized and
facilitated cultural choice as to make
the broad-based offerings of the old
mass media look bland and unchallenging
by comparison."

Strange said...

Wha...?