Jew (jōō) – noun 1. An adherent of Judaism 2. A descendant of the Hebrew people
humor - (hyōō´mər) noun 1. The quality of being amusing or comic especially as expressed in literature or speech 2: the power to see or tell the amusing side of things
Jewmorous – (jōō´mər-əs) adjective 1. How I view myself (an opinion not always shared by others)
"Jewmorous: A Collection of Stories Which Prove I'm Full of SCHTICK!" is a coming-of-age account from a Long Island Jewish perspective. The fact that it took me 67 years to come of age is a cross I have to bear.
Am I special? Well, despite my mother's repeated assurances that I was, I am the byproduct of an upper-middle-class, Long Island Jewish background filled with summer sleepaway camps, a bar mitzvah celebration worthy of Cecil B. DeMille, avoiding physical labor at all costs, calling a repairman for even the most minor of inconveniences, and trying to date Catholic High School girls. I am stereotypical for my generation.
The truth is that I can't draw a straight line, have no rhythm, can't play an instrument, and have been told to mouth the words during sing-alongs. It may sound like I was shortchanged and challenged. But to me, the proof of the existence of a supreme being is in the pudding: at the age of 67, I still have a great head of hair, skin as silky smooth as a baby's bum, and a rapier-like wit.
Am I special? Yes and no. No, because I write about events that are relatively common occurrences we all face: first loves, college, work, marriage, kids, selling a house. My experiences are nothing out of the ordinary. What makes me special and even "Jewmorous" is that I can find the humor in these day-to-day mundane events and even more in the most embarrassing situations. In fact, I embrace the discomforting moments because they make great fodder for stories. Like Walter Mitty, I have delusions of grandeur and a rich imagination, but I use sarcasm, snark, and self-deprecation as coping skills.
"Jewmorous" covers the trials and tribulations of a devout narcissist. No subject is taboo, and I play the role of hero, antihero, and victim many times in the same story. My book reads like a love story — a love story to myself. Chronologically, the earliest story is about my fifteenth birthday, when Don Rickles pulled me up on stage and roasted me like a Thanksgiving turkey. After that painful evening, I could have written Unabomber manifestos. Instead, thanks to the assistance of a great number of mental health professionals, I will tell my story with pride.
Depending on one's outlook, the rest of the stories are either uphill or downhill from there. Who but a devout narcissist would write about their first sexual encounter, getting sunburned testicles on a nude beach, or feigning Tourette's on a golf course?
A number of stories focus on my marriage and confirm the stereotype that Jewish men make the best husbands. While she won't admit it, my first-generation Greek Orthodox wife is the lucky beneficiary of centuries of Jewish male natural selection, since the ability to make a decision has been bred out of us. In other words, it's good to be Thalia! Despite this fact, I can still find the humor in the fact that giving her absolute power corrupts absolutely.
In several stories, I delve deeply into the clashing of cultures between a close-knit extended Greek family where non-relatives are considered blood and a Jewish family where family functions are often held at opposite ends of a conference table in an attorney's offices.
With sarcasm and a wink, other themes include drug use, foreskin shots, bestiality, prostate exams, and masturbation. As I said, a love story to myself.