Sunday, July 30, 2006

A true tale from the land of "Live frei or die"

Well, there I was up in New Hampshire, enjoying a nice summer vacation with some rock-ribbed Yankees and one nudnik from the Outer Boroughs. So one evening, we were having dinner in Lebanon. No, not the Lebanon where Hezbollah has rocket laucnhers, I mean Lebanon, New Hampshire. , where John Kerry beat George Bush very handily in the 2004 election. We're having dinner at a very nice restaurant overlooking the village green, and I'm about to order a nice steak, when my nudnick friend from New York exclaims, "how can you do such a thing, it's the Nine Days, you're only supposed to eat vegetarian or seafood!" That forces me to explain this custom, as well as the concept of Tisha B'av, to our Yankee co-diners, who have been to many shiva houses, and are somewhat bewildered by the inconsistency between personal and national mourning customs among the Jewish people. (more on that in my next post.)

Well, no problem. When the waitress comes by, I make my order -- "frutta di mare," pasta with seafood. OK, so the seafood includes calimari, mussels, and shrimp, but it's not meat, so I get my s'char for observing the custom of the Nine Days, even if I'm going to get aveirah points for eating the forbidden sea delicacies. It's a good thing I don't believe that God really cares about this stuff. If anything, He'd punish me for going to New Hampshire and ordering shrimp instead of "lobstah."

By the way, anyone who thinks global warming isn't real should come up to New Hampshire and spend a vacation (Maine will do in a pinch.) The lake was so warm the summer, that I was able to jump right in, and swim out to the raft without my lips turning blue! Not to mention the fact that my Dad just bought air-conditioning for his house. I thought I was in the Bahamas or something, or at least a version of the Bahamas with balsam-fir forests, maple syrup for sale, and white natives with down-east accents.


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