Wednesday, September 20, 2017

That Is So Deep

Now that I'm a teacher-type, and I use the term loosely, I'm expected to come up with borderline pithy, writerly wisdom. My hostages... I mean students I hold captive for two hours every Tuesday, turn to me for advice and if I don't produce something worthy, well, they start to riot and throw Pepperidge Farm at me. My God, this is a feisty group. They want knowledge, and they want it now. What they don't want to hear, as I'm learning, are the exploits of a sporadically-employed TV writer. Although, they did enjoy the story of how I nearly nursed a room full of male executives. But at some point, I must stop vamping and get down to business. A Milano hurled at my head via a disgruntled senior citizen isn't the goal.  The goal is to help them find humor in situations that aren't necessarily funny. Yesterday they demanded I get more specific. Suddenly, I went all spiritual on them. This happens to me around the Jewish holidays. I just go rabbinical. "Well," I said, pacing back in forth, "we must find the lightness in the darkness." "Huh?" "You heard me. Get out your GPS, and find the lightness in the darkness." "That is so deep." "I know, right?" "What if you don't have a GPS?" "We all have an internal compass." "I think mine's broken." "I know a place where you can get it fixed, cheap."
"As I was saying, where there is darkness, we must find lightness." "Yeah, but -- " "But nothing, mister." "I'm not sure I follow." "Follow this: Both the lightness and the darkness are great teachers. Let them guide you. Have courage, nice people." "So what you're saying is --?" "What I'm saying is, give yourself permission to find the joy amidst the heavy-osity. As Erma Bombeck once said -- " "Again with Erma Bombeck?" "Can't you quote anyone else?" "As Erma B. once said, 'If you can laugh at it, you can live with it.' " "Okay, thanks for clearing that up, Teach." "You are so welcome. Shana tova!" "Shana what?" "Never mind."

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

A Gal From Florida

Reclining ever so casually on the sofa, Sir Blakey by her side, is the lovely Kelly, who used to live in Los Angeles, but then moved back to Florida, because, and I misquote, "It had been a while since I'd experienced a hurricane." Well, she got her hurricane, her lengthy power shortage and her cracked windshield, courtesy of falling trees, but her condo is still standing, so that's good. The SJG had hoped to make her visit stress-free, and so far, we're off to an excellent start. Last night, we had a brief yet meaningful power outage, and a quick yet jolty earthquake, just to remind Kelly that Mother Nature is a gal with a very sick sense of humor.

Monday, September 18, 2017

And The Emmy Goes To...

... 'The SJG of Sherman Oaks for Best Early Bird Kugel."
"Wowza, this is so surreal. I mean, so unexpected. I have so many people to thank. I'd like to start with the Goddess of Kugel, who made me what I am today. I'd like to thank my agent, may he rest in peace. I'd like to thank the community at large, for accepting an uncomplicated, unadorned, palate-pleasing noodle dish that everyone can enjoy, with the exception of the Lactose Intolerant. Most of all, I'd like to thank my adoring family for this amazing, yet well-deserved award, even though some of them will tell you I pretty much gave them no choice. It was either the gold statuette or disinheritance. Clearly, they made the right choice, although, just between us, I thought I heard someone at the table make a reference to the slightly burnt edge, which, I assure you, was the fault of the oven, and the fact that my timing might be a little off on account of all the Benadryl."

Sunday, September 17, 2017

My Emmy-Watching Pre-Game Strategy

1.  Try to locate most glittery outfit in closet.
2.  Try to locate sky-high stilettos.
3.  Remind self I'm not going to the Emmys.
4.  Remind self I'm not even watching the Emmys in real time.
5.  Remind self I'm going to early Rosh Hashanah dinner, instead.
6.  Try not to weep during early Rosh Hashanah dinner.
7.  Try not to ponder up-and-downsville of TV career.
8.  Curse Goddess of TV.
9.  Hug TV.
10. I love TV this much.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Not That I Judge

I know, I know, Rosh Hashanah doesn't start till Wednesday night. You think I don't know that? I've got a calendar. In this way, and so many others, I'm old school. I don't need a reminder that pops up on my OyPhone to tell me the Jewish New Year is upon us. Why not? I'll tell you why not. Because all I have to do is step foot in my personal homeland of Gelson's, on the corner of Van Nuys & Nova Scotia, and I know the holiday is imminent, thanks to all the decorative signs that say: "Pre-Order your Rosh Hashanah Meal Here!" Just between us, pre-ordering your Rosh Hashanah meal does strike the SJG as lazy, not that I judge. And yet, I applaud anyone willing to announce at the table with all the relatives jammed side by side, "Hey, gang, you like the brisket? Guess what? I didn't make it, ha, ha. Last year, some of you gave mine a 10 on the Dry Meter, so this year, you can blame a stranger if it doesn't meet with your high standards. L'chaim!" Later today, I'll be visiting the afore-mentioned grocery shrine to purchase the secret ingredients for the kugel I'll be bringing to my mother-in-law's Early Bird Rosh Hashanah on Sunday. One member of our tiny, but stylish clan refuses to attend the Early Bird dinner on principal. "Doesn't she know the Emmys are on?!" "I feel your pain," I said to the unidentified relative. "Is it tacky if I stop by for a to-go plate?" "Yes, it's very tacky, but that never stopped you before." I ask you this, my friends: Are there worse shandas in life than having to watch the Emmys after the fact, when the Internet has spoiled the fun and revealed all the losers? Let me think about that. Nothing comes to mind at the moment, but I'm sure something equally heinous will come to me.

Friday, September 15, 2017

Boxed In

Sir Blakey guards the bounty of boxes in the living room. You may ask yourself, well, how did they get here? Are they the work of Ruthie The Re-Gifter, who re-boxes ancient wedding gifts and tries to pass them off as new?
Could be. Interesting idea. I like the way you think. But no, Ruthie The Re-Gifter wouldn't dare get near the estate, not after she tried to re-gift a broken, prehistoric Cuisinart from the '70s to commemorate the SJG's 37th wedding anniversary just a few weeks back. I'll give you one more guess.
Are the boxes the result of a crazed, middle-of-the-night online spending spree, committed by a certain short Jewish future mother-in-law too excited to sleep? 
All I can say is, you're getting closer. Oh, excuse me, I just got the signal from Oona the Orderly that my daily flea bath awaits. I might as well solve this riddle so you can get on with your busy life. The boxes are a combo of early wedding gifts for the eldest and his gorgeous French bride-to-be, who, God willing, will get her fiancee Visa stamped on Rosh Hashanah and arrive in time for the party we're throwing in their honor, otherwise, oy vey, don't even go there. I mean, are you trying to make me cry? Stop that. So, wedding gifts and Amazon purchases of an iffy TV console and other cheap furniture hubby promises to assemble on their behalf, by actually reading the instructions and keeping the screaming to a minimum.  

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Tantrum At The Deli Counter


It's not often that I get to witness a full-on tantrum in public. For something as epic as yesterday's meltdown, I must channel the Infamous Travel Town Incident of 1991, when the eldest, then three, refused to leave a birthday party and screamed all the way to the car. My eardrums never recovered.

The gal who threw the fit in Gelson's had the opposite urge. She wanted to leave, because, as she announced at the top of her lungs, "I'M A VERY BUSY PERSON." She continued to geshrei at top volume, "THAT WOMAN TOOK MY PLACE!"

The zen-like manager approached with caution, as the tantrum-thrower picked up momentum. "THEY CALLED HER NUMBER, AND SHE WASN'T AT THE COUNTER, SO IT WAS MY TURN AND THEN -- "

Oh, you get the idea. The high-strung gal just completely lost her sh*t. The manager calmed her down with coupons, an elephant tranquilizer, a free trip to Disneyland and a complimentary bottle of Vodka.  The poor place-stealer cowering in the corner got bupkis, unless you count the unanimous sympathy of everyone in the market.

All I could do was watch and marvel and memorize, so I could reenact the entire episode for first hubby the second he returned from the On-Air Promo Factory. His review of my performance, I'm proud to say, was glowing. "Riveting! Electrifying! You really captured the essence of an unhinged deli counter customer. It's as though you can relate to her." "Yes, fine, thank you," I said in gratitude, "but was it Oscar-worthy?" "It was definitely YouTube-worthy." I'll take it.