Not Chosen, Just Posin'

I just got a job with a Jewish magazine. I'm not Jewish. They think I am.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

So, if Friday night was happy hour with the Manwhore and his legion of women, then Saturday night was my friend's thirtieth birthday. She and two other friends, who were also turning thirty, collaborated to host a three-hour open bar at a place down in SoHo. It was brilliant.

There were about 100 people crammed into a relatively small room. Once I got to the bar, I decided it would be best to stay there. I became the nucleus for everyone’s drink orders and, by default, the captive victim of some retired lawyer from Los Angeles. He also refused to leave the bar. His son was one of the guys throwing the party. It was pretty uncomfortable considering the televisions above the bar were set to bad 1970s porn, and he was a dirty old guy, who really enjoyed said programs. After a few drinks he began giving me pointers about women to the tune of, “You have to employ the pencil trick.”

The pencil trick?

“Yeah, the pencil trick. If you put a pencil under her breasts and it sticks, they’re too saggy. You want the pencil to fall.”

Stuff like that. Eventually he asked me, “Are you Jewish?” I told him, “No—technically Catholic, but Agnostic.”
He was Jewish.

“My daughter tries to pull that ‘I’m agnostic’ crap too. I tell her that she’s Jewish no matter what she believes. She can’t run away from that.”

Him and I get into my current favorite discussion, the one wherein we decide if Judaism is an ethnicity, a religion, a race or all of the above.

Here’s his conclusion:

“Like I tell my daughter--if she were to have told Hitler that she was agnostic, it wouldn’t have made a difference. He would have still thrown her into his camps. There are other deciding factors we must take into consideration.”

This was a new vantage point that I considered as carefully as was possible in my current state. I liked it. But after some more thought, I realized that it was weird that this Jewish man summoned Hitler’s decision-making skills in deciding the status of his religion/ethnicity/race. Maybe it simply backed something he already believed (i.e. Judaism as an ethnicity + religion)? I don't know--just seems like a decision he should probably leave big H out of.

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