Tuesday, June 29, 2010

My London Aufruf Speech

My aufruf speech was my first real attempt at standup. Yes, I've spoken before and naturally I've tried to be funny, but I think the style of this one was actual standup. It went well, and I got laughs where I hoped I would. Respect to the English crowd, who was paying attention to some of the nuances and "chapped" them. Feedback welcome:

Mazel tov Aron and Ilana and to the Storfer and Bishop families. I think I speak on behalf of the American contingent when I say that it’s a pleasure to keep returning here for simchos, and may we continue to be able to do so for a long time.

Aron, I’m going to address only you and not your fiancee for two reasons: One, she’s not here so you’re all I’ve got. Two, I’ve got advice to dole out, and I’m not going to make the mistake of telling a woman what to do. I’ve got no such compunction telling a guy what to do.

Now before I say another word, I must point out that anything I say today does not in any way, shape or form reflect or borrow or is informed by my marriage. Anything reminiscent of my relationship with my wife is a complete coincidence – I hope.

My mission, as I see it, is to prepare you for marriage by telling you what to expect, what’s going to happen, what you’re in for, what your responsibilities are, what your daily tasks and duties entail. Now I’m not here to tell you the obvious. I’m here to inform you of the things you may not have expected.

For example, it’s a no-brainer that anything to do with the car is your problem. Insurance, repair, maintenance. It’s your bailiwick. Especially with a baby like your pretty Beemer. I wouldn’t let anyone else touch it either anyway.

Also, the garbage. Men take out the garbage, not women.

So these are obvious things. There are no chiddushim here. Women too, have very specific jobs they undertake, but I won’t say what they are, because I’m not prepared to put my foot In my mouth this early in my speech.

Now before I tell you what specific jobs you have, I must point out the major difference between mens and women’s jobs.

The difference is, when a woman asks a man to please take care of something, it doesn’t matter what he’s in the middle of doing, he has to do it NOW. He could be on the couch, watching, oh, Chelsea vs. Tottenham, but if your wife comes calling, you better move or there’s going to be trouble.

Conversely, you don’t dare ask your wife to do anything. Can anyone tell me why? That’s right, because she’s already in middle of doing 50 other things for you, and you’re asking when she can’t possibly take care of it right now.

The other difference that I need to prepare you for is how and where spouses ask each other to take care of something. When a man asks his wife to handle something, he’ll seek her out whereever she is in the house. Men are more face-to-face people. We do it in business, we do it at home.

Women, on the other hand can holler for you from whereever they are. Again, you can be on the couch watching, oh, Liverpool vs. Man U, and you could swear you heard a voice, and you think it’s your wife, and when you investigate and find her, she’ll be standing there and the first thing out of her mouth will be, “That’s the 5th time I called you. You never listen to me.”

Women also can ask for things as they’re walking away from you, forcing you again, to get up off the couch and follow them so you hear what they have to say.

Having said that, men have four basic jobs in a marriage. We are reachers , shleppers, killers and fetchers.

Job # 1: We reach things for our women. Anything that a woman can’t reach on her own requires you to intervene to assist. Women do not mount ladders or stand on stepstools. It is not their job. Their job is to reach things only reachable using only her arms. Anything further beyond reach is your problem.

You have to rush in to help as soon as you see her on her tiptoes. This is why it is a man’s responsbility to update the clocks in the house (do you have daylight savings time here?). Since many require standing up on a chair to fix, and since they don’t stand on chairs chas v’sholom, the job falls to the man.

Job # 2: We are shleppers. If there’s something heavy, it’s your job to lug it. If there’s something light, it’s still your job to lug it. It doesn’t matter how strong or weak you are, the man shleps. For anyone who’s been to my house, you can imagine what shopping day is like, and I accept the yissurim be’ahava.

Now mind you, your job is not to put stuff away, your job is to put the stuff down where your wife points, and she’ll file everything away. If you try to put stuff away, it means your wife will never find it, and you don’t want to get into that kind of trouble.

Job # 3: We are killers. You may love the animal kingdom and be a nature lover, but if a creature that isn’t your pet should find its way into your house, you better kill it dead. Whether it’s insects or mice or any kind of vermin. You better get rid of it. Incidentally, this is the only time women get up on chairs or stepstools.

Job # 4: It’ s our job to fetch things and check on things. Now remember, this request can happen at any time and it needs to be honored immediately. Women do not go up and down floors to get things for themselves. They also don’t go back to the car if they forget something. They send their husbands to do it. This is why it’s the man’s job to double-check that the front door is locked before going to sleep for the night. The bedroom is quite often on a different floor from the entrance, and women do not cross floors if they can elicit your services. The request is also sometimes vague because women like it when we’re forced to read their minds. So for example, you’re ready to go to sleep, you shut the lights, you cuddle up with your sweetie, and suddenly she’ll say, “I can’t remember if the front door is locked.” Your’e already screwed. Don’t say, “I think it is, I’m pretty sure, what’s the big deal?” Uh uh, once she hints the door might be open, you’re going back downstairs.

So this represents a problem: Your wife will send you to the basement or the cellar or the attic or the shed to fetch a food item, but you won’t know where it is, because, remember, you don’t put the food away! So what do you do? Well, if your wife sends you to get something, get everything there is under heaven in that category. This means that any time your wife sends you to a different part of the house, you will go back to that part of the house with all the extras you brought with you just to make her happy.

For example, if your wife sends you to the shed or garage or basement to get corn, you must bring the Shoepeg, the white, the yellow, the baby, the ears and the stalks. Everything. Then you return with all the extra items in your hand, and while you’re there, you could swear someone is calling you, but you’re not sure.

So Aron, I’ve now prepared you properly for marriage and your shona rishona. If you have any questions, don’t bother mommy and daddy, because they’re busy enjoying their 2nd shona rishona. You come to me. I’m always available for advice and to provide comfort for you in matters such as England’s embarrassment at the hand of the U.S. squad. I’m terribly terribly not sorry about that.

Mazel tov!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Finished Another Book!

Snuff, by Chuck Palahniuk - Reading this book definitely put me on Santa's naughty list. This is possibly the tawdriest, most body-functional disgusting book that is legal for public distribution. There's actually some interesting sub-plotting, inventive narratives, fun puns and a psychotic ending. I read it because I wanted to try out Palahniuk, who appears to be extremely visceral with go-for-the-throat visuals. This definitely makes me want to read more of his work, but I don't recommend this for anyone. Your time is better spent reading or doing almost anything else.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

7 Races Down, 3 to Go!

Ran a Father's Day 5 miler in Central Park in the unbelievable, incomprehensible, stifling, choking, murderous heat. Made it out alive though. Forget the splits; there wasn't going to be any PRs with this one. Bonus: getting a text from my wife that she and my kiddies saw me wave at the camera and blow kisses to them on TV. Bonus # 2: Getting a call from my mom that she saw me too! Footnote: Met Charles Schumer for the the third time (High School graduation trip to Washington, college graduation ceremony, and today).

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Finished Another Book!

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Future, by Michael J. Fox - A breezy, refreshing, simply-put book of life lessons from an apparently grateful and humble man. The gimmick of showing that life offers the teachings taught under the popular categories in college works well. The book is short enough to be read in its entirety at a commencement ceremony. Enjoyable quickie.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Finished Another Book!

Crazy for the Storm, by Norman Ollestad - What a fascinating survival story told in a fascinating way: The chapters vacillate between the survival and the upbringing that informed his survival. Additionally, once the tale is told, the coda of the rigors of growing into one's own is told with incredible passion and detail and nostalgia. There are no quotes around the spoken words in this book, which helps to convey the closeness the author feels to everyone in his book, as if he's fused with humanity, especially his father. A wonderful, powerful mesmerizing read.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Hadran Aluch Maseches Sanhedrin!

...v'hadrach alun!

In honor of my son, Yonah Avraham, AKA Freddy. May the words of Torah never depart from our lips, and the lips of our children and children's children, forever. I have begun Makkos, in honor of the person for whom I'm partaking in the Jrunners relay race, Menachem Mendel ben Gella, may he have a refuah sheleimah!

Finished Another Book!

My Jesus Year, by Binyamin Cohen - This book completely took me by surprise. I had thought it would be about a man giving up on his Judaism completely and embracing Christianity as a replacement, but it turned out to be that he enriched his Judaic experience by appreciating it more through the lens of a...nother religion. I am experiencing the same thing, as I'm reading a book about happiness by a Buddhist monk and am rediscovering the passion I have for my religion through the lens of another. Incidentally, this is the first book I ever finished on a Kindle. A "rite" of passage. Cool.

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Finished Another Book!

Into the Wild, by Jon Krakauer - It's easy to understand why Krakauer undertook this endeavor, as he clearly sees some of himself in the subject of the story. The book meanders a bit, probably because too many facts aren't available and the saga itself is a bit thin, but it's compensated by the clear passion of the writer. As for McCandless himself, I state unequivocally that he was an unprepared arrogant idiot. He was a socially, philosophically, conservationally talented and intelligent man. His death was a complete waste of an extremely promising existence. A great shame.

Sunday, June 06, 2010

6 Races Down, 4 to Go!

Did the Japan Day 4M in Central Park (http://www.nyrr.org/races/2010/r0606x00.asp) in the hot hot heat.

I started off with a 3 mile pre-race warmup in my new Nike Frees. So far, so good; no blister pain; they push me forward; they feel like socks; they're very interesting.

As for the race: I completed it in 34:43, 8:30 per mile. Splits: 7:47 (busted out of that start line like a mofo and stormed the hill),... 8:17 (uh oh, sun came out and starting roasting and slowing the runners down), 8:47 (no water stop at mile 2? Who they fooling? I need water!), 8:17 (Ah, got water and picked up the pace). My Frees are nice, real nice, I think I solved my blister problem. My plantar still needs work.