Thursday, November 18, 2004

What Would Neil Diamond Do (WWND)?

The five weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas have always been to Jews what the time between the sinking of the Titanic and the arrival of the rescue boats was for survivors of that wreck. We all just kind of float out here at the mercy of the non-Jewish world, hoping that the 26th of December comes before we drown under the annual red and white tsunami of animatronic elves, Bing Crosby and Perry Como songs and disbelieving paramedics coming to rescue neighbors who try to hang their Christmas lights after imbibing a little too much eggnog and end up nailing their thumbs to the rain gutters.

Yeah, being Jewish is a pretty pathetic sentence in December. But have you noticed that the evil warlords of commerce are turning the screw a little tighter by starting the whole Noel Baby Jesus Candy Cane Saint Nick Freak-Out a little earlier each year? Starbucks busted out the white wreaths with the little red berries on them just before Halloween. Go to the movies and you’ll see a half-dozen previews for upcoming flicks about someone who goes home for the holidays and gets involved in some kind of hijinx about snow or sledding or reindeer. And the big mall near our house is already letting parents drag their crying, snot-crusted kids kicking and screaming onto Santa’s lap for a blurry Polaroid.

The small talk around the holidays changes rather drastically, too. I was riding up in the elevator at work the other day with a somewhat big-boned woman with a hairy mole on her earlobe – a woman I barely know but have passed in the hallway a few times. The conversation went like this:

Her: “So, have you gotten all of your Christmas shopping done?”

Me: “Oh, no. Barely started. You?”

Her: “Getting there. You gonna have a big tree this year?”

Me: “Well, actually no. I’m Jewish.”

Her. “Oh. Weird. So you guys don’t have a Christmas tree?”

Me: “Nope. No tree. No lights either. We just gather up all of the Christian children in the neighborhood and burn their souls in the backyard as a sign to God that we love him. Say, do you have any kids?”

Her: “[Gasp!] Damn you! Damn you and all of the evil Jewish sinners. You and Neil Diamond and Ben Stiller and that bitch Barbara Streisand. All of you will burn in hell!”

I know that kind of characterization of our holiday rituals doesn’t do much to, say, advance the hopes for peace in the Middle East, but it sure as shit extracts me from the tired duty of having to explain why we don’t have a tree, why we don’t have a big Christmas pig and why we don’t own any Jimmy Stewart movies on DVD.

Conversely, here are some of the things Jews do enjoy during the holidays:

1) Shouting obscenities out the window at Christmas carolers and pelting them with the fried potato pancakes (called “Latkes”) we eat during Hanukkah.

2) Drinking ourselves into a Maneshevitz-wine-fueled stupor, swirving over to the mall in the Honda CRV and telling Santa that all we want for Christmas is a quick peek at Mrs. Claus’ underpants and a dime bag of the chronic, and we’re not leaving until we get it.

3) Making a batch of holiday fudge for all of our neighbors and hand-delivering them on Christmas Eve. Then we sit by the window and wait until the Ex-Lax we mixed in with the fudge kicks in. You haven’t lived until you’ve seen the big guy across the street sprint from the front yard to the bathroom with his hand over his ass, like that’s going to prevent him from (to borrow a phrase from UPS) “seeing what brown can do for him” right there in his silk candy cane boxer shorts.

4) Teaching Left-Handed Power-Hitting Son how to use a power screwdriver so that when all of the neighborhood kids come out Christmas morning with their new bikes, he can deftly move in and loosen the spokes and the handlebars when they’re not looking. The next time those little shits try to stop they end up flying ass over teakettle and wind up with a bitchen case of holiday road rash.

I could go on, but I don’t want to give away all of our secrets. I need something to look forward to on Christmas morning, too, you know.


At 12:22 PM, Blogger Fadedpaperdoll said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

At 12:24 PM, Blogger Fadedpaperdoll said...

You live in Orange County. There are what, five Jews there? All that leaves is a bunch of Mormons, Catholics and Protestants. We're talking a lot Jesus folk who can be pretty cluelss about other religions. Take for instant, the balloon head in DC who gets to decide if I should have a baby even if it's a risk to my health.

How are you liking Choke? Palahniuk is friggin' hilarious!

At 8:44 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Tell those gentiles that a sacred traditon is for little Jewish children to have matzoh ball fights and instead of Frosty, you have "Farmisht the matzohballman".

At 8:44 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Tell those gentiles that a sacred traditon is for little Jewish children to have matzoh ball fights and instead of Frosty, you have "Farmisht the matzohballman".

At 2:15 PM, Blogger Pink Lemonade Diva said...

I['ve] Got the Feelin' that Neil would Thank the Lord for the Nighttime so that the Evans could get away with such shenanigans.

At 10:54 AM, Blogger HDawg said...

a waitress once told us how open minded she was about different religions, so we told her we were jewish, and i'm not kidding she said "Yeah that's great, but can you believe there are people out there who actually don't believe in Jesus?!?"

At 7:53 AM, Blogger JoeinVegas said...

Back in New Jersey we had it different - I was the only Catholic in my classroom, our town was mostly Jewish. The schools would close for typical Catholic holidays (Easter, Christmas, etc) but for the Jewish holidays I would be the only one in my classroom while everyone else was taking off. Almost more fun than being home!
And look, you get blue lights and stars and eight days of presents!
And even Jesus was a Jew, and went to Passover dinners!

At 3:21 PM, Blogger brent said...

Neil would most definitely celebrate Chrismukkah.

All about Chrismukkah


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