Wednesday, November 30, 2011

If Scrooge was just a nice, misunderstood Jew instead of a tight-fisted hand at the grindstone

Look, my night started out normal enough. It’s six o’clock, we’re about to close up at my…bank, I guess? Or my real estate office, or whatever it is I do. Anyway, Bob’s on his way out the door, so I tell him, “See ya tomorrow!” I swear, that’s how the whole thing started: I just said “See ya tomorrow.”

I figured I messed up pretty quickly because next thing I know Bob turns around, and he looks so distraught I’m worried he’s gonna tell me Emily’s having an affair or Peter’s got typhus or something. The guy doesn’t even say anything for a while. He just stares at me. So I start wracking my brain trying to figure out what the hell I just did until finally I go, “Something wrong, Bob?” And he stammers out, “Why…t-tomorrow’s C-C-Christmas, sir!”

Christmas! Can you believe it? I had completely forgotten about it! What a schmuck, right? So anyway, I apologize, tell him of course he can take tomorrow off—never mind that he freaked out and filed a missing person report when I stayed home on Yom Kippur—and send him on his way. A slight misunderstanding, but it’s all patched up now. No harm done, right?

Well, that’s what I thought. But once I made it home, things got really fucking weird. I grab some food, light the menorah, start getting ready for bed, and then all of a sudden—and I swear I’m not making this up—who appears but the ghost of Jacob Marley! I’m serious! He starts yammering on about how if I don’t start getting into the Christmas spirit I’ll wind up in hell, which—and I hope I’m not being hypersensitive here—I just found incredibly offensive. And I tried to tell him that I’ve got no problem with Christmas; it’s just that my people don’t celebrate it, so the holiday slips my mind sometimes. But, nope, he’s not having any of it. And then he goes and tells me that, before my night is over, three more ghosts are gonna come visit me!

Anyway, I do my best to get to sleep after this, but sure enough some little girl shows up an hour later. She tells me she’s the Ghost of Christmas Past. I tell her this oughta be a short visit since I don’t have any past Christmases to look at. But she insists on taking my hand and flying me into the past anyway—meanwhile, my indigestion is killing me at this point—and what do we see? Just year after year of Fran and me, bored and playing jacks. I told her the reason we were always so bored was because Christmas has such a dominant role in our culture and that if people like her would just back off from time to time—maybe give Hanukkah a chance in the spotlight—this wouldn’t be a problem. But she wouldn’t budge. It was either convert or be damned. And then, she goes and makes me watch Fran die all over again! I mean, seriously, what the hell? I’m just glad Fred wasn’t around to see it.

Fred got my dreidel, right? Good. And he does still collect dreidels? Well, let’s make sure we check on that for next year.

So this girl finally leaves, and I get all of one minute to myself before the next one shows up: big fat guy, calls himself the Ghost of Christmas Present. This one actually turned out to be a real mensch. He said he was gonna take me to Bob’s house, but then it turned out he had never tried a latke before, so we just wound up eating those for the whole hour. It was great. Reminded me a lot of Abe's bar mitzvah.

So then he leaves, and the last guy shows up. Ghost of Christmas Future. Big surprise with the name, right? He takes me to this lonely, neglected gravestone that says Ebenezer Scrooge on it. I tell him, great, now take me to the one that says Ebenezer Scrimberg. “My business was about to establish a branch in America, and I didn’t want to risk anything,” I say. “Got the idea to change my name from a friend named Jonathan Stuart Leibowitz. Am I proud of it? No. Which is exactly why I had my will specify that I was to be buried under my given name.” Guy didn’t say one word the whole time. It was pretty awkward. Reminded me a lot of Fred's bris. 

Finally, he leaves, and whaddya know, I’m back in my house. It’s like the whole thing never happened. Don’t know what the hell I was supposed to get out of it, apart from a sense of relief that we don’t prioritize missionary work.

Am I ok? Yeah, yeah, I’m fine. Just a little tired is all. Now come on, let’s go grab some food in Limehouse. Maybe catch a theatre production if we have time.

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