A Card Carrying Member

Posted by mwallach on February 20, 2011 in New To You, Tribe Members |

Dear That’s Life,

I have not been to a comedy club in a very long time. No need to have someone else make jokes about his life when mine is pretty funny on its own. A good time was had by all primarily because the company was good and not because of the entertainment. The best line of the night was unscripted and probably not nearly as funny to others in the audience as it was to me.

“So, how long have you been Jewish?” the comedienne said to a gentleman seated near the stage. “About ten years,” he answered. That’s all I needed. I completely cracked up. All of a sudden Judaism sounded like AA. How long have you been sober? Ten years. Not one drink. And how long is it now since you stopped shaving your face with a blade? About the same time. Radical, man – power to the people. Love the sideburns.

Are we a club? If we are, I did not get that memo. I have not paid any membership dues lately and if I am going to get tossed out of the party as a result, someone better tell me. There may not be a secret handshake, but we certainly are a breed unto ourselves. “I feel like all Jews know each other,” continued the comedienne. She was right about that part. The Jewish world is very small – we do not separate by six degrees. I would guess four degrees max and three degrees on average. Within two minutes of mocking this Jewish man from Ft. Lauderdale (“There aren’t too many Jews in Ft. Lauderdale,” he said, “We all know each other.”), they realized that he had gone to the same high school as her boyfriend, the two growing up a couple of blocks away from one another. While they were a number of years apart, it did not matter – this was a classic example of how the Jewish world worked.

As we walked out of the club, one of my friends joked that only a Jew can turn to another Jew that he has never met and say, “Hi – I do not know you and you do not know me. But I have no where to go for the weekend – mind if I invite myself over to your house for about 25 hours or so?” No other religion can claim to be able to do that, she argued. We agreed. When you put it that way, it sounds pretty ridiculous. “Do you really think that one Catholic is turning to another Catholic, saying ‘Hello, total stranger – mind if I come home with you for an untold period of time and eat meals with you and your family?’” she argued. We laughed. It was true: Jews would be the only ones to pull this kind of shtick and we became convinced it could happen only with members of the chosen nation. “Which other group of people could say ‘Our flights were cancelled and we are stranded at the airport and there is no food around – can someone please bring us something to eat?’ only to quickly become overwhelmed by the incredibly generous response?” True again, we thought.

It may be a small world after all, but that may not be so bad. Membership does have its privileges – no annual fee required.


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