“It’s not fair!” I whined to my wife in the car. “Boston has its biggest game of the year and God decided to schedule it during Rosh Hashanah?… Is he playing a prank on me?!”
The Red Sox and Detroit Tigers have the best records in the American League, and the series could very well determine who has home-field advantage during the playoffs. I had to miss the game because of Rosh Hashanah. Frustrating. Then I thought about the night my wife was born.
On June 10th, 1984. The Boston Celtics were playing the Los Angeles Lakers in Game 6 of the NBA Finals – or so her father, Jerry, tells me. Jerry – a huge Boston sports fan – had to sacrifice watching the game that night to be there for the birth of his second daughter, my wife. Aside from peeking at the score in the hospital waiting room every so often, he couldn’t enjoy the game to the fullest. This helps me put things into perspective. I’m complaining about missing a regular season baseball game, while he had to miss a finals game. Sports-wise, he sacrificed much more than me.
Driving to my mother’s Rosh Hashanah party I began to calculate some figures: Fourteen Jews are expected at dinner. For each topic of conversation, every Jew would offer three opinions. On average, Jews discuss seven topics per hour. So, assuming this dinner goes on for three hours, we’re looking at 14 Jews x 3 opinions per topic x 7 topics per hour x 3 hours = 882 reasons why I should have brought ear plugs. But as long as the food tastes as good as it has in years past, I can tolerate my mom’s ranting guests.
There’s no magic to Jewish food on Rosh Hashanah. It’s not ornate like French food, nor dressed in sauces and spices like Italian. If there were a beauty pageant for cultural foods, Jewish food wouldn’t even be invited to the competition. The phrase “two wrongs don’t make a right” does not apply to Jewish food. Aesthetically, there are many wrongs. It’s a construction of terrifyingly ugly foods mixed together. Yet with all the unattractiveness, it tastes so right.
Take two classic Jewish foods for example. The Latkes, normally served during Hannukah. And the Kugel.
Although the latkes is supposed to be strings of potato fried together, it looks like fried scat. And the kugel on the right looks like last night’s dinner regurgitated into a pyrex and baked at 450° for 45 minutes…yummy! But all jesting aside, looks don’t matter with Jewish food. It tastes so damn good.
Checking the score of a big game during a holiday dinner can be a difficult, especially when your mother-in-law has a ‘no-smartphones’ rule at the table. I try telling her that my iPhone isn’t “smart”; it’s dumb because it has slow connection and low reception. Therefore I should be allowed to use it. The funniest part is we’re not even in my mother-in-law’s house; it’s my mother’s. One day I will write a formal letter to the rabbi asking him to rebuke a mother-in-law’s dinner rules while under someone else’s roof.
Whenever you are in this type of situation – where guests and relatives are offended by your smartphone, but you need to use it – you have to pretend to have indigestion or diarrhea. That way you can go to the bathroom regularly and check your phone as many times as you want.
I counted myself “taking a piss” and “relieving my stomach” 11 times throughout the night. I told the family that it “must be the eggplant salad.” Each time I checked the score of the Red Sox game, it was getting crazier and crazier. The score went from 4-4 to 5-4 to 6-4 to 10-4 to 16-4, and ended at 20-4. Meanwhile, each time I returned to the table my wife rubbed my back because she thought I felt sick.
I was stunned. The Red Sox haven’t scored this many runs in years! I knew my father-in-law would get a huge kick out of the score, so I creeped in to tell him. I didn’t want the women to know I checked my iPhone for the score so I whispered in his ear, “The Red Sox won twenty to four.”
In shock he dropped his wine glass on the table, making a small splash, then blurted, “TWENTY TO FOUR?!!!”
“SHHHHHH!!!!” I snapped at him, looking around to see if the women noticed. Luckily no one did. They were too engaged in making fun of their ugly, bohemian acquaintances and their peculiar clothing style.
I wonder if God was antisemetic against Boston Jews tonight. Of all nights, why would God choose Rosh Hashanah – a night where we can’t watch sports – to allow the Red Sox to have their best performance during the biggest game of the year? Yet, two nights prior he had no problem making us watch them lose a grueling and close game… Is that not cruel?