Mixed Jewish heritage

Can you see the real me?

I had a disturbing thought.

If you’re reading this, chances are I know you personally.

I wish that wasn’t true.

Not that I wish I didn’t know you personally. For the most part. But that you regulars are people that knew me already. And I need fresh meat.

I categorize all of you in one (or more) of the following cohorts of PEOPLE WHO…

…SAY I REMIND THEM OF WOODY ALLEN

Self Portrait of the writer as a bona fide moron 1

Give me a break. Friends back in the US have made this comparison. Inevitably, after a few minutes, they realize how horribly wrong they are.

I’m much more of an Adam Sandler.

I haven’t known any Kiwis long enough for them to figure that out yet. Not even Jacquie.

Since I moved here in late 2009, I’ve had a few encounters in which someone I met eight seconds ago says I’m just like Woody Allen.

Why? Because I’m a fucking pedophile who married my own adopted daughter? Or because the smattering of good movies I’ve made floats on a sea of laborious filmic masturbation?

Hey. I’ve got another theory. Maybe, just maybe, it’s because I look like this:

Photo on 21-07-13 at 2.21 PM

I’ll admit it. I have a big, fat, juicy, honking Hebrew-style schnoz. It is the only human feature in the world the same shape and size as the state of Israel.

Granted, not a lot of people in New Zealand know from Jewish. They haven’t had a lot of experience in handling Jews.

So, what do they do when they meet one for the first time? They reach for the most accessible likeness in their minds.

“You remind me of Woody Allen.”

They don’t mean anything by it.

But I hope they’ll consider something for the next time we meet. While it is true that I resemble something from a 1936 Nazi propaganda poster, that misshapen globulous bit at the end there comes from my maternal grandmother. Who happened to be of Swedish descent. And currently missing the tip of his nose.

So next time you see me, do our relationship a favor. Tell me I look like one the guys from ABBA.

The one that doesn’t smoke.

….POLITELY IGNORE MY NOSE

Portrait of the writer as a bona fide moron 2

Not to put too fine a point on it, but my nose is probably the most prominent feature on my head.

It insults my intelligence when you act like it’s not even there.

I can always spot them. They’re the ones that use the phrase, “cut off your nose to spite your face” in passing.

Then they immediately start to blush.

They should be embarrassed. If I were to cut off my nose, it wouldn’t just spite my face. It would rip that bitch from my skull. It’s so deeply entrenched, it would take part of my brain with it.

So do me a favor next time you see me. Don’t ignore the elephant in the room.

Call a schnoz a schnoz.

And tell me you’re proud I’ve given up smoking.

3….HAVE TRIED TO HAVE A CONVERSATION WITH ME ABOUT RELIGION OR POLITICS.

Portrait of the writer as a bona fide moron 3

Some of you know me as “that angry, belligerent drunken bastard”. Perhaps you saw me at a party. Or you simply passed me on the street, and relaxed once you realized I’d only been screaming at myself.

No matter how hard you’ve tried to reason with me, there’s nothing you can do to calm me down.

There’s no use even trying. By the time you distract him with a fresh martini, “that angry, belligerent, drunken bastard” has already been replaced by “that angry, sobbing, ex-boyfriend” or “that angry, drunken guy vomiting on the coats piled up in the bedroom”.

So, be vigilant around me. Sensitize yourself to those subtle changes to my personality. And offer me a drink.

But never ever after Friday, August 2, offer me a smoke.

4. …TOLERATE ME FOR PRETENDING TO KNOW ANYTHING ABOUT SCIENCE, ART OR LITERATURE.

Portrait of the writer as bona fide moron 4

Others have had the pleasure of experiencing my pontification on subjects I know nothing about.

I thank you, especially.  You’re the ones who always stand by my side the whole way. You always wait until I’ve run out of breath, before you start in on whatever tedious subject you want to prattle on about.

A thousand times, thank you.

But the next time I run out of breath, don’t you dare fucking interrupt me like that again.

And if I’m smoking, you can call me an asshole. Because I’m not smoking anymore.

Not after Friday.

5…HAVE TRIED TO ENJOY A MEAL WHILE SITTING ANYWHERE NEAR ME.

Photo on 27-07-13 at 2.21 PM #2

These people face some very conflicted feelings whenever they sit down for a meal with me.

On the one hand, watching me feed myself is a horrific experience. And I’m always shocked at how people can tolerate it.

I eat fast. It comes from growing up in a big family with sometimes limited resources. Family meals could get pretty hairy, growing up. One of my sisters stabbed one of my brothers to death in a fight over an Entenmann’s chocolate chip cookie. That’s the sister that is missing most of her right index finger, from the time she was eating a sandwich so fast, she didn’t notice she’d been biting off her digit until well after the second knuckle.

That’s because the only alternative to fighting was to eat as quickly as possible. To this day, I can’t view a dinner invitation as anything but a hostile gesture. To me, that’s just an invitation to Thunderdome. Two hands in, one hand out.

You don’t ever put that kind of conditioning behind you.

Which is why watching me eat is like watching one of those nature shows about the animals of the Serengeti. It’s the scene where millions of migrating gazelles have to ford this alligator-infested river. The only way to get through is to be quick and outrun. In the TV shows, they always show the few that do get snagged. I don’t know why. Maybe it’s a cautionary tale for the other gazelles.

But watching me eat is even worse than the TV show. Because me eating is like there’s one huge Jewish looking alligator waiting for the gazelles. And he eats each one. And they all gladly leap to their death. Because it is delicious. And because they are thrilled to serve such an important role in the ecosystem, they run faster and faster, eager to join their friends that have gone before them.

On the other hand, you can’t smoke when you’re eating.

You may have noticed a pattern emerging in this post: I’m an absolute narcissist.

But I’m also a cigarette smoker. And I don’t want to be anymore. And as of Friday, August 4, I won’t be.

It doesn’t matter how you know me, but you’ve all helped me out before, in one way or another, and now I’m asking for your help, once again.

Help enforce my quit by the potential for shame.

Keep coming back here. Tell people what I’m doing. Leave a comment, or even just to click on the link, and move on.

You don’t have to read, but I will be blogging about my quit as much as possible. Jacquie will enforce transparency, so if I smoke, you will know.

And you’ll have a chance to tell me what you think about it.

I’m doing other things to quit, but I’m hoping the potential for shame will help.

The more people that come here, the more I will feel compelled to stay quit and save face.

Such as it is.

Thanks for your help, once again. I appreciate the support.

[[Fourth draft, it’s 3:36 in the morning]]

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