You see, when I first moved to Kansas, Siege told my future housemates, "Guys...You have to behave yourselves. You can't make Jewish jokes because this guy is REALLY Jewish." My housemates, Cody and Ray, feared the worst. They're accustomed to insulting everything and everyone, with no actual prejudice behind any of their comments.
So when I heard of this great fear and the restriction that Siege had laid upon them, I said, "I'll tell you what, guys. I'm going to tell you a Jewish joke. It's the worst one I know. This is the line. If you can cross it, good luck to you." And then, using my best Yiddish accent, I told the most horrible, racist Jewish joke I'd ever heard...
A little old Jewish man - Holocaust survivor - wins several hundred million dollars in the lottery. This makes for a fantastic human interest story. I mean, this guy had been through so much in his life, and was now going to be so wealthy that his great grandchildren would want for nothing. The question on everyone's mind: what will he do with the money?
At a large press gathering, the man explained..."First, I'm going to buy a HUGE mansion. Then I'm going to bring my family from all over Europe and Asia to the States, and each one will have their own room, and their own car. And we'll all be able to live together in peace and happiness. Finally, I'm going to commission a huge statue of Adolf Hitler and have it put on the front lawn."
This stops the press cold.
"Wait a minute," one reporter says. "You ARE Jewish, correct?"
"Yes," the elderly man replied.
"And a Holocaust survivor, also correct?"
"Yes," the man repeated.
"Then I don't get it. Why would you have a statue of Adolf Hitler put on your front lawn?"
(It was at this point that I would pretend to roll up the sleeve on my forearm.) "He gave me the winning numbers."
The telling of this joke has now become lore here in this part of Kansas. Those who know me can't believe I would tell such a tasteless joke. It's not as though I have any disrespect for those who endure the horrors of WW II. It's just that the guys needed to know where the line was, and how open-minded I was to whatever they thought of as humor.
It also became a challenge. Could the guys possibly come up with a joke that was as bad or worse? For the year and a half that I've been here, they've done their best to top that joke. They've recently been searching the internet for something that would beat it. Only last night did they come close, with their joke missing the "story" element.
Q: What's the difference between a Boy Scout and a Jew?
A: A Boy Scout comes home from camp.
Beyond that, it's been one failure after another...although their efforts have produced quite a few laughs. And they have but a few days to get the job done before Becky whisks me away to Pennsylvania.
Now for a drop of reality. I was, and remain, profoundly affected by the Holocaust. If not for the effort of the Nazis, the Jewish population would be much greater than it is today. I might even be more Jewish than I am, as my peers in ethnicity would have been larger as a group. Instead, I am a Jew in name, but not in practice. And if I were "more Jewish," Becky and I would probably not be together.
* * *
Speaking of Becky...When I last spoke to her, she was in Dayton, OH. She was buying a cappuccino and putting five or six sugars into it so she could keep driving at full power. Why the overdose on caffeine and sugar? Because she's gotten it into her goofy little head to get here tonight, and not tomorrow, as planned. Mind you, I have no objections to her showing up sooner. I just don't want her to kill herself trying to get here. She has orders to pull over and find a room for the night if she becomes too tired to keep going. It doesn't matter how far she has to go. She has to rest.
So this is it. Yet another big change coming my way. And either this time around works, or I'm done. I'm going to surrender to the fact that there is no "Miss Right," and live my life spending time with "Miss Right Now." There's plenty of the latter roaming around.
But what am I babbling about? Becky is it. We've maintained this relationship for nine months over a great distance, with three visits interspersed along the way. We've spend countless hours talking on Skype, with and without video. And now we are going to start our happily ever after officially. Because I love her as I've loved no other, which is wonderful unto itself.
I expect a few hectic days in the near future, what with completing my packing and then the actual move, but I'll try to keep everyone posted. Be well, all. And DFTBA!