(Start with "Monday" if you can. You may as well. We're 3 days deep into the cyber-buying season. This is probably the only site that hasn't crashed--Oh great. I had to go and say it.) So, what were we talking about? Oh right. The Great Wall of dopes who mowed their way into JC Penney and wherever else at 4am last Friday...for no good reason.
My holiday, Chanukah, starts tonight. For the uninitiated, unsure, and uninterested: Chanukah involves some basic traditions passed down from generation to generation. Not one of which is positive.
So what do we do if family members ask indiscreet questions about our lack of children? We just throw them on the pile with the other hundred annoyances. (Toss either the relatives or the indiscreet questions. Whichever) More on the conception aspect in a moment. First a little holiday background info.
No good Jewish holiday goes without disputes. You know how the trend is to say: "Let's agree to disagree"? We've never heard of that. We agree to argue.
Jewish holidays always start at sundown. That in itself causes conflict. If somebody tells you the holiday starts on December 1st, your next question is always: "The night of the 1st? Or the night of the 30th? Is the 1st the first day or the first night? What the hell are you trying to tell me?!"
Then there's the lighting of the candles: The menorah. If, like our ancestors millenia ago, you choose to use an electric menorah, you stick it in your window for your neighbors to either admire or throw rocks at. Argument number two: You turn on (technically screw in) one bulb each day: From right to left. Do you screw them right to left or should it look right to left for the person admiring or rock hunting?
Then, at some point during the festivities, the touchy "having kids" subject rears its ugly head.
The beauty of being badgered by a Jewish family especially the older generation is you never have to answer their questions. You couldn't if you wanted to. They talk over you and fight with each other- even when they're on the same side.
There will be a great debate about your procreation but you won't be invited to participate even though you're standing right there. That's because the conversation is lightly veiled as being about you. But it's really about them. The relatives care about you having children but mostly they care about how you not having children affects them.
"If you want kids, you'd better get moving. I want to see some nieces and nephews before I die." (Nice holiday chatter isn't it? Little piece of trivia: 99% of all Jewish expressions end in death)
Then the great debate about you having babies begins. But not with you. They'll debate amongst themselves. If you want to be a part of it, you may as well get yourself a whistle and some penalty flags.
"Aren't you going to have kids?" "Of course she's going to have kids." "What's her rush to have kids?" "Why do you want her to have kids? Your son's such a prize?" "Ugh I could tell you. A real bargain. Nothing but aggravation that one. Did I tell you he has a girlfriend?" "I don't think he has a girlfriend." "I'm telling you he has a girlfriend." "I'm surprised. I didn't think he liked girls."
The best part of the holiday is when you're all gathered in the kitchen making potato pancakes (latkes). Nothing reflects the spirit of the season more than a group of jews reaching from across the kitchen with spatulas trying to turn the latkes without burning their arms on the hot oil hopping out of the pan and, being unsuccessful, yelling: "Ow! Jesus Christ!"
Listen, I gotta go. It's almost time to light something and burn some skin.. and debate over the correct spelling of Chanukah or is it Hanukkah?
I'll talk to ya again tomorrow.