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!


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