This year, to celebrate Passover, E.S. and I went to the house of my second cousin once removed for a seder. There were about fifteen guests there, all of whom were related to me and none of whom I had ever laid eyes on before, with the two exceptions of my cousin’s daughter, who used to be Puff Daddy’s dresser, and my second cousin twice removed who is the funniest bitchy old lady I have ever met and who is in fabulous shape. She ended up sitting on my left; on my right was E.S., and on his right was a (literally) demented old lady (way older than my second cousin twice removed) who kept telling E.S. about how Hitler had built these camps, see, and sent everyone in her village there. She was talking to him, but it was impossible for me not to overhear her.
My experience of the seder conversation went therefore something like this:
FAUSTUS: Gosh, this turkey is terrific.
SECOND COUSIN TWICE REMOVED: Oy, I can’t eat a bite. It’ll ruin my figure.
FAUSTUS: But your figure is divine.
DEMENTED OLD LADY: Hitler built camps, you see? And he sent my whole village there.
SECOND COUSIN TWICE REMOVED: I love you. You wanna be my son? My son was supposed to be here tonight but his wife invited him for dinner. They’re separated, why should they have dinner together? Whoever heard of such a thing? Young people today.
DEMENTED OLD LADY: Everyone in the village. The men to one camp, the women to another.
FAUSTUS: Have some turkey and then come to my aerobics class on Sunday.
SECOND COUSIN TWICE REMOVED: I used to do aerobics all the time.
FAUSTUS: It shows.
SECOND COUSIN TWICE REMOVED: Pass me the salad.
DEMENTED OLD LADY: There were showers at the camps, but there was no water in the showers. Instead it was poison gas.
SECOND COUSIN TWICE REMOVED: What’s that book you wrote?
FAUSTUS: It’s called Gay Haiku. Here, have some more matzah.
SECOND COUSIN TWICE REMOVED: Make sure it’s the salty kind. Would I like it?
FAUSTUS: Probably. I’ll send you a copy.
SECOND COUSIN TWICE REMOVED: It better be good.
DEMENTED OLD LADY: When Hitler took over Poland, he started building camps, concentration camps.
FAUSTUS: It is. I promise.
SECOND COUSIN TWICE REMOVED: There’s not enough salt on this matzah.
The demented old lady next the psychiatrist? What a clever host.
OMG, funny story:
Earlier today I had this dream that you revealed the winner of the contest while wearing a g-string. Now how crazy is THAT? Where do these things come from??
hilarious! as a young gentile living in australia your jewish new york meal is everything I could ever hope for. You’re so lucky – what I wouldn’t give to be able to speak yiddish and have credibility when I do….
But how were the macaroons?
I think you’ve truly hit on a good way to go with family functions: go to the houses of relatives you don’t know!
This year, my seder was spent with my parents, sister, maternal grandparents, aunt (mom’s sister) and uncle (aunt’s husband) at the house of the latter two relatives. While it was the most docile gathering of its sort in recent memory, I was still unable to escape my uncle videotaping me singing the four questions. Somewhere in his archives exist at least 15 different versions of “Mah Nishtana,” all sung by me. It may well be the closest thing I’ll ever have to a “This is Your Life” video compilation.
Anyway, Happy Pesach!
Is that fun? Dropping, “I’ll send you a copy,” into conversation? Because it seems like it would be.
Kenny, has it never occurred to you to bring someone younger than yourself to the seder? The young are known to be quite succeptible to bribery, but in your shoes I’d be more than willing to resort to kidnapping.
Maybe I should convert? Easter isn’t nearly that much fun; I nearly fell asleep during Good Friday mass, and then I left my umbrella under the pew. (Just kidding, Jesus…besides, snip-snip = no no!)
My sister is younger than I, and always attends the seder with us, but after what we’ll call “The Great Passover Debacle of 5753,” she refuses to sing the four questions. During the seder in question, I finally got my sister to agree to sing; I also got my aunt to agree to switch my grape juice with her wine throughout the evening. I was 13, and thought I was “man” enough to handle it. Well, after two glasses of that ridiculously sugary Manischewitz stuff, my sister started singing, and I developed an unstoppable case of the giggles. I couldn’t help myself, and my poor sister (who was 10 at the time, and was unaware of my alcohol consumption) thought I was laughing at her. She bolted upstairs and locked herself in my aunt’s guest bedroom until dessert was served. In response, I laughed my ass off then passed out on the dining room floor.
You’ll be happy to know, however, that 1.) my sister wasn’t so traumatized that she gave up singing forever– she developed a rather nice soprano voice in high school, and 2.) I am waaay better at holding my liquor these days.
Faustus, this scene can come in a hollywood blockbuster. Then it can be re-done on Date Movie 2.