There is a tale of a rabbinical student who found me difficult which is to say he liked me as much as one might like a rash.
It was fine with me because I thought his personality was similar to a dried out sponge and found him to be about as useful.
If I paraphrased Casablanca and said it was the beginning of a beautiful friendship it would be a lie because we were guilty of going out our way to irritate each other.
Once when we were standing with a group of people he asked “how did that child get here” to which I answered, “I slept with your sister.”
That didn’t engender any love but certainly less irritation than we posed a different question and I answered “I think the dog slept with your mother.”
If this were the Oscars he might have wandered onto the stage with his hands raised but it wasn’t and maybe that is too bad because when he strode towards me I told him I would teach him about smicha in terms he couldn’t forget or misunderstand.
If you don’t follow the Jewish humor you can click the link or use the following short explanation. Smicha refers to how a rabbi gets ordained, in literal terms it refers to laying hands upon someone.
Today some people might call this an exhibition of toxic masculinity but in the those heady days of the eighties I called it teaching the not-yet-a-rabbi that I am not impressed with titles, wealth or education.
Some time ago one of the guys told me about how someone asked him how he knew a particular woman who had commented on his Facebook post.
He said he didn’t want to lie but he didn’t feel the need to reveal every detail of his life.
“We haven’t been dating that long and I don’t know if she is asking out of curiosity or something else.”
I laughed and told him I didn’t miss that kind of nonsense.
“What would you say?”
“The same thing I always say. It is someone I had sex with in a tree house/elevator/storm shelter/BJs/Waffle House and or the corner office. Depending on my mood sometimes I say it happened when we were shipwrecked on an island with a Blue lagoon, lost in space or whatever might cross my mind. Never can say what that will be, I have an active imagination.”
He laughed and asked me what it was like to be Wilt Chamberlain and I said I doffed my cap for the Big Dipper.
“Wilt claimed 20,000 women, I only have something like 830 friends on Facebook and at least two of them are dogs, as in the four legged, have a tail, bark and see a veterinarian kind.
Twenty-thousand women, who has time for that. Statistically speaking you’d have to encounter a bunch who you had real chemistry with and would want to spend more time with. I’d go on further but I have been down this crazy pseudo Seinfeld episode conversation and it turns into a conversation about nothing.”
There was silence followed by a comment about not knowing if I was sick or brilliant. One day someone will make a t-shirt that says that and I’ll sell a 100 for 10,000 dollars.
Great-googly moogly, if you take life too seriously you’ll never really live.
Did I ever mention the time June bent over the stove and her mom caught me staring?
Probably not, but truth be told sometimes I get looks from people who think I am staring because they don’t know that I am lost in thought and looking in their general direction.
I was in Costco the other day when I remembered that I had forgotten to write an important email. I stopped my cart against the far right and stared off into space and began composing on the screen I see inside my head.
Must have held a look for a good two minutes at a guy just down the way but was oblivious to him. I was so wrapped up in making sure I had the body of it figured out I just didn’t notice him.
Some people have said that is an uncomfortable trait but I see it is as a particularly useful ability to focus.
Who Can You Be Yourself With
Some of you might gasp when you look at that picture because in many ways I don’t look like that guy anymore.
He has a ton more hair and I think his beard might be thicker, not sure about that one, especially since the barber screwed mine up during my last visit.
Busy letting this sucker grow out again, but I digress.
That look isn’t all that far off from one that still crosses my face. I am somewhere between the kind of smile that makes you check your wallet and a serious expression which is one of my favorites.
Because I am clearly happy and feeling pretty darn relaxed and that leads me to a quick comment about something I have said to the kids many times.
When you pick people to be with, be they friends or more try to pick those who you can be yourself with. It sounds obvious but it bears repetition.
Not everyone will do it and some of the people you think are your people won’t be because they will change or go down a different path.
But your people, the ones you want to spend real time with will always be those who you can be yourself with. You won’t worry about having to tell them not to ask questions they don’t want answered because you’ll be good and that will be enough.