One thing that could be said for Medical School was that it was a great repository for Jews and Italians. If a Jew did not go into “wholesale” and an Italian did not go into “organized crime,” there were few other avenues open for these groups to succeed in financially. Because of a long tradition of bias and the closed doors of WASP society, they gravitated to Medicine or Law as areas where individual effort tends to be recognized or valued more than heritage.
Both groups are highly goal oriented, having been pushed hard by their families. The only difference is that Jews verbally preseverate more about success whereas Italians tend to resort to the physical punishment of a Baccala swat to stimulate interest in books.
- What will happen to you if you don’t study? You’ll never be a mensch. You’ll always be just a nebbish, a schlemiel, and a nobody. You’ll live in a hovel. You’ll have no money. You’ll have to use food stamps. You’ll have to move back home. All the neighbors will laugh at a son who moves back home to live with his mother. You’ll never find a good wife. What kind of a son should put such a heavy weight of such embarrassment on his own mother? An Albatross on his mother’s neck. Why would you want to be such a nobody? And why would I want to raise such a nobody to be such a nobody’s nobody? You’re killing me. You know that? You are literally killlll-ling your own mother.
As opposed to Italian:
- Shut up and study. If you get another C, I’ll bust your head open.
Verbal abuse. Physical abuse. Whatever.
I still think I would rather be occasionally swatted with a dried fish than continuously nagged half to death. The fact is, I really knew very little about the Jews. They were a minority at every level of my educational experience to whom I did not pay a great deal of attention; and far before I knew had Jewish ancestry. (2% DNA).
In grade school, I knew the boys occasionally wore funny hats that were okay to snigger about, but not to their face, or also that they got really mad if the school bully yanked one off their head and stomped on it. They also had weird rules about food and hygiene. Their Priests were called Rabbis, and even though they never got the holidays right, they still always went around saying they were the chosen ones.
Our own Priests usually set that one straight by telling us that they were not chosen at all, that they did not believe in Jesus, that they were responsible for having the Romans kill him. Furthermore, anyone who did not believe in Jesus could never get to Heaven anyway; which would be good as then the only Jew living in heaven would be Jesus himself.
Then when I found out they never had a Christmas tree, but rather called their holiday plant a “bush”, I really did feel bad for them. After puberty however, “bush” took on a completely different meaning for me, at the secular level.
At Duke, the jocks periodically beat up the nerdy intellectual Jews or tossed them around like footballs.
Imagine my shock then when I discovered that all the Jewish boys were circumcised, and that I was too. When I asked my mother about it, she said it had nothing to do with religion and that she had it done to me because the Pediatrician said it was the right thing to do, Arbitrarily just like that: and only because it “would be better for me in the long run.” Nothing at all mentioned about personal hygiene, or disease prevention. She also assured me that it did not mean I was secretly Jewish.
It was another shock when I found out that her 6th great grandfather was a Sephardic Jew, making the circumcision more like the crypto-Jewish secret rituals that 17th and 18th century Jewish refuges practiced in Appalachia.
When I got to Medical School and befriended Michael., I learned a quite a bit more about Jews and Judaism. However, but being exposed to Michael as a non-religious Jew, I still do not believe I got the so called “kosher” version of the facts.
He told me the following:
- Good Jews live by the rules.
- The rulebook is called the Torah. Orthodox Jews obey the rules.
- Most Jews are not Orthodox, so most Jews forget about the rules.
- The entire culture of the Jews revolves around the anatomy of the chicken.
- A chicken’s ass is called a tuchus. A tuchus, conversely, is anyone who behaves like an ass.
- A beautiful ass is called a nice tush; but not a nice tuchus.
- Chicken soup is a panacea. If offered some by a Jewish mother, do not refuse it under penalty of intense preseveration about its virtues.
- Kosher means that a Rabbi blesses food, but most Jews don’t really care what they eat or if it ever got a blessing.
- Chickens are good. Pigs are bad. Bad food is pig food or chazerei.
- The ‘ch’ in chazerei must be pronounced as though you are nearly choking to death.
- Jews traditionally avoid pigs, but most Jews do not really care what they eat. Bacon is OK, unless you are orthodox. A BLT is a “nice sandwich.”
- Orthodox Jews who bring attention to themselves by wearing a Yarmulke and ear braids are stupid and deserve to be abused.
- Having to eating Gefelte fish and Matzos is one of the rules.
- Eating Gefelte fish and Matzos reinforces the concept that Jews are quintessential masochists as both are tasteless forms of food.
- Mogan David wine is another obligatory holiday torture. But it isn’t really wine.
- A non-Jew is a Goy.
- A bad Jew is a Kike.
- If a Kike happens to be a rich uncle then he is really a good Jew.
- Bad Jews buy Mercedes cars, because Mercedes invented Zyklon-B for Hitler’s gas chambers.
- It is OK for Jews to have sex with Goys but they cannot marry one.
- It is preferable to avoid Goys and stick to your own kind; unless you want to use them for sex.
- Jewish women only have sex as a duty to procreate the race.
- You can tell how many times a Jewish mother had sex by counting the number of her children.
- It is mandatory to have a Jewish son.
- It is a curse to be a Jewish son.
- A Jewish man is lucky, then, if he has only daughters because then his wife will still be obligated to have sex with him.
- A good Jewish son is called a doctor or a lawyer.
- A good Jewish girl will marry a doctor or a lawyer.
- A shyster is a cheat who might even try to screw another Jew.
- It is still OK to marry a shyster, as long as he is rich and never gets caught, like Bernie Madoff.
- A Bar Mitzvah is a party thrown for a thirteen-year-old boy that signifies he has become a man.
- A Batz Mitzvah is the same party given to a girl that signifies the day she officially becomes a Princess.
- The bigger the Mitzvah; the richer the father.
- A Princess is only a Princess until she marries. Then she becomes a professional shopper and begins to avoid having sex.
- Jewish women hate to cook; they only do Deli. This is known as whining and then dining.
- Deli is Jewish for: breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
- Chutzpah means having balls. Real chutzpah is killing your parents and seeking a plea bargain because you are an orphan.
- It takes a lot of chutzpah to tell a Jewish woman to cook.
- A Yenta is a gossip.
- Most Jewish women become Yentas just before the birth of their first grandchild at which time they automatically become a pain in the tuchus.
- A Mikvah is a ritual bath.
- Orthodox Jews will not have sex unless a woman first sits in a Mikvah. Regular Jews think this is stupid because if she happens to be horny, it is completely self-defeating masochism.
- Orthodox Jews have different plates for every category of food. Regular Jews think this is impractical; and like to eat deli off the same paper plate.
- A Putz is a foreskin and also refers to someone who is as stupidly useless; as is the foreskin in general.
- A Putz in gorgle is a foreskin stuck in your throat. Being more of a curse, it is not equivalent to getting a blowjob.
- A Schlemiel or a Schlimazel is a person with perpetual bad luck.
- Historically, the Jews have always had bad luck; as well as a penchant for perpetual suffering, aimless wandering, and passive acquiescence to sado-masochistic torture.
- The perfect 50th Wedding Anniversary present from a Jewish man to his wife is an around the world guilt trip.
- Sometimes it is worse to be Jewish than it is to be Black.
- Perseveration is the national language of Judaism.
- A Jewish Christmas = Chinese food and a movie.
That’s the short list
It is also the short list of the fifty or so new words I had to learn to become an honorary Jew.
All this preparatory homework helped considerably for the one occasion I was invited to a Bar Mitzvah given by a friend of Michael’s father. The man was obviously wealthy because the party it was given at a private country club, and was extremely opulent in its scope as well as the number of guests. Having never been to one, it was interesting to observe the way tradition and religion became a perfect rational blending with modern hedonism. But I think the father took it to extreme when he attempted a literal consummation of the manhood concept by introducing a belly dancer as the finale to the show. Apparently, it was going to be her job to deflower the poor thirteen-year-old boy later in a motel room after she wiggled around an hour or so for the guests.
It was hilarious watching this woman chase after the poor frightened skinny little boy who ran around the catering hall as though his very life depended upon a successful escape. He was quick too. Chunky butted Fatima with her clacking cymbals, gyrating navel and her pendulous heaving breasts, with pastie covered nipples, never did catch the new little man.
I did have to admit however that it was better than the stilted Catholic ceremony of Confirmation that not only had nothing at all to do with manhood, but was followed at home by a boring little cake and ice cream party along with the obligatory smiley face poses for the family album. Yes, a few forced smiles, posed with the same Pastor who tried to feel my mother’s tits several years later at a cocktail party. He was exposed for the lecher he really was when Wild Turkey being a bit stronger than Mogan David, lit him up and strengthened his resolve.
At least a Bar Mitzvah signifies something practical as opposed to an affirmation that a boy is now a bona fide lieutenant in the army of God, along with the Confirmation ceremony’s reaffirmation of chastity, sanctity, holiness, and piety. That is unless the young boy wants to participate in the secret Catholic rite of passage to manhood by bending over and pulling his pants down for the Jesuit who taught him sexual hypocrisy at Wednesday night Catechism.
Because it’s all about manhood anyway, the Confirmation party could have taken Aunt Rose’s Christmas theme to even a more adult level by having a stripper jump out of a giant white coconut cake replete with whipped cream and Maraschino cherries dolloped on her nipples. That way after having put on a brief but overdone reactive façade of false offense, even the perverted Pastor would probably admit to being furtively pleased.
Michael’s family had a summerhouse on the South Jersey shore, and although I would rather have been in the Hamptons, I did decide to visit there one summer weekend. That was when I found out what it really meant to be a Jewish son who had to suffer the slings and arrows of an inquisition inflicted by the Torquemada of Beach Haven, New Jersey.
Queries by Jewish mothers are like those tactics used by a prosecuting attorney. After being subjected to several malpractice suits, I learned the hard way that the best defense is to offer little in the way of voluntary information or elaboration. The best answer is always a simple “yes” or “no;” or a better answer yet is to say: “I don’t know” or “I just can’t remember.”
Politicians being investigated for corruption or scandal are masters at this defense.
When queried by an attorney the problem is that if you open even one door just a small crack, then all the windows in the house get blown open and the track of questioning becomes a nightmare of open ended pitfalls that spew forth in a geometric proliferation.
Here is how an innocent conversation goes completely wrong.
(How it should have gone)
- So, what do you boys do with your free time on a Saturday night?
- I don’t know. Really nothing much. Usually we study more of what we already studied so we can all get better grades than anyone else.
- Good boys!
How it went instead:
- We usually go out to bar.
- Why do you go to a bar?
- To have a drink and maybe meet a girl.
- Why would you want to waste your time drinking and what kind of a girl do you think you might meet in a bar?
- But what’s wrong with having a drink. Beside that we study so much anyway we never get to meet any women.
- You want to waste your time getting drunk and meeting a girl in a bar? Do you know what kind of a girl hangs out in a bar? Not the kind of girl that works hard and studies and who wants to get ahead or get a decent husband. You’ll meet the loose kind that smokes and spreads her legs for anyone.
- That’s kind of the idea.
- Don’t be facetious. I’m serious. Nice girls, at least nice Jewish girls never hang out in bars and drink and smoke and pick up men. You might even get a disease.
- Jewish girls can get a disease too.
- Not the nice ones. Not the kind I’m thinking about. Not the good ones. You know the kind, Michael. Girls like Kathy up the street. Why don’t you call Kathy up and go out with her to dinner and a movie?
- Mom, Kathy weighs 90 pounds and has Ulcerative colitis. She can’t even eat popcorn at the movies much less have a steak for dinner.
- Then why not Cynthia. You know Cynthia. She’s a gem, a doll, a darling. Her mother says that all the girls in the dorm think she’s just adorable. The last time I spoke to her, her mother said she was even making all her own clothes.
- Great. You want me to go out with homely Cynthia wearing her own knitted pants suit.
- Don’t talk like that. Her mother and I were best friends. When your father was sick she came and visited. None of your father’s other so-called friends came over. She comes from a lovely family.
- That doesn’t make Cynthia any prettier or more debonair.
- Now you’re being rude. And how many beers did you drink anyway? Is that what’s making you talk like that? Beer? And is that what you are learning about in that school? How to drink in bars. How to drink beer. How to drink beer and find a goyisha smoking slut for a wife. How to drink beer and become a drunk like some Irish. What kind of a drunk shikse wife do you think you’re going to find in a bar anyway? Nice girls don’t hang out in bars. Not nice Jewish girls.
- No, ma. They all stay home and make their own clothes. Could we please stop talking about this ? I think I have to leave now ; go back to school and study.
A similar situation occurred many years later when I leased my office for two days a week to a Jewish physician who used it on the days I was not there. He had a relatively domineering mother who even went as far as arranging vacations for him at the Club Med, especially to improve his chances of meeting the right girl. He did in fact meet the right girl. She was Jewish. She was a business entrepreneur. She was rich. She was pretty and she was personable. She played golf and tennis, as did he. Perfect, yes?
No. The fatal flaw was that she was in her forties, but even worse she was not interested in having children…and for mother that was “over and out.”
One day B’s mother appeared in the office, which also happened to have a private back entrance, inquiring if her son had come in yet because he had promised to meet her there at that time for whatever purpose.
- No Mrs. B., he’s not here yet. He didn’t come in.
- But it’s four o’clock and he said he would meet me here at four.
- Mrs. B, we’ve been here all day and he hasn’t come in yet.
- But how do you know he didn’t come in the back door? Sometimes he goes in the back door to do work in the back.
- Yes, Mrs. B. but we have been using the office all day and I know he is not in the back.
- But how do you know. When was the last time you went in the back? Maybe he came in the back door when you were not looking.
- Trust me, Mrs. B. he did not come in the back door and he is not working in the back. I just came from the back and he is not there. Maybe he’s just a little late. Why don’t you just sit in the waiting room and give it a few more minutes.
- He’s never late for me. Are you sure he’s not in the back? He never minds if I go in the back when he works in the back. You don’t mind if I just go back to have a little peek for myself, do you?
With that, she burst through the inside door to the office without permission, went in the back to look for herself, only to discover that indeed, he wasn’t there. Then she came back out to the front, said she couldn’t understand why he wasn’t there; and went into the back room again…just to be absolutely sure about it.
No, no. A thousand times, no