Wednesday, September 1, 2010

You Can't Make Atonement without Mentos

Dear Friends,

There is a short list of things you have been waiting for you whole life, and the September Hard Taco song, “Jumex Flow,” is certainly on it. It’s somewhere towards the middle of that list, right in between ‘a car with revolving doors’ and ‘never to feel lonely, even for one second.’

Listen to “Jumex Flow” right now. Don’t make me come over there and listen to it for you.  

This month, Jews all over the globe will observe Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement. In the weeks leading up to this holiday, it is customary to seek forgiveness for any bad behavior in the last year. I like the idea of rectifying my wrongdoings, but I’m still a little behind on my payments, apology-wise. To begin with, I have a couple transgressions from when I was in 5th grade that I would like to get off my chest.

Apology #1: I’m sorry I engaged in an imbalanced Garbage Pail Kid trade with a cognitively disabled classmate.
Nikki was a girl in my grade who had been collecting Garbage Pail Kids longer than the rest of us. It was rumored that she had several of the coveted first series cards, including ‘Adam Bomb,’ the crown jewel of the GPK collection. Of possible relevance to this story, Nikki had Down syndrome. One day I cornered her at recess.

Me: Hi, Nikki. Do you want to see my new Garbage Pail Kids? I’ve got ‘Bruised LEE’ and ‘Glandular ANGELA.’
Nikki: Hi, okay. I’m playing with this one… ‘GARRET-ed.’
Me: That’s a cool one. Do you have the other one that looks like that, ‘Garrote-TED?’
Nikki: No. I do not.
Me: Well, check this out… I have two copies of ‘Garrote-TED!’ Hey, you know what would be fun? We should make a trade. I’ll give you one of them for one of your cards, like maybe… ‘ADAM Bomb.’
Nikki: I’ll have to ask my parents.
Me: Come on! You don’t need to ask your parents. Just look at this card I’m holding. It’s a chubby toddler being garroted. His eyes are bulging out and stuff. It’s totally rad!
Nikki: Yeah, it is pretty rad! Okay.

And so went the most lopsided deal in trading card history. As of this morning, ‘ADAM Bomb’ is going on eBay for over $15.00. I could sell it and use the cash to get a haircut… a haircut that should have been Nikki’s. I’ve felt lousy about this for a while, so a few years ago I took steps to assure that I would never forget that I exploited a vulnerable individual. I threw away all my Garbage Pail Kids except for two: ‘ADAM Bomb’ and ‘Special ED.’

Apology #2: I’m sorry I abused the audience-participation privilege at a ComedySportz game by insulting my sister, Sari.

“My sister got glasses and braces and now she’s really ugly!”

I was at an improv comedy club with my family, and when the emcee asked for suggestions from the audience, I shouted out the aforementioned sentence. I think the specific request was for a newspaper headline, but I probably would have yelled out the same thing if he has asked for an emotion or the name of a fictional salad dressing. In my mind, it was just too funny to go unsuggested for a minute longer.

I can see you shaking your head and saying, “Oh, that poor girl!” I admit it was rude, but try to put yourself in my shoes for a moment. Declaring that your sister is ugly is not supposed to be hurtful, nor is it based on empiric observation. You’re nine years old, and you have a limited arsenal of phrases. If you’ve already used, “Give me your Little Debbie,” and, “He who smelt it, dealt it,” the only other combination of sounds that your mouth is capable of generating is something about the repulsive appearance of your siblings.   

At any rate, Sari didn’t think it was very funny, and neither did anyone else in the audience. In fact, several people booed, including some of the performers. Unfortunately for all of us, they were bound by the improvisers’ code to use the suggestion, and grudgingly ad-libbed a hilarious sketch about how the 11-year old girl in the audience was ugly because of her glasses and braces.

Anyway, Sari has probably forgotten about this incident, but I wanted to ask her forgiveness for being such a terribly insensitive younger brother that one time. (As far as I know, there were no other such incidents.) Also, I was hoping she could dig up some old pictures, just to see if the glasses in question were as hideous as I had implied, because maybe that would partially absolve me. Just a thought.

Merry Yom Kippur, everyone!

With warmest regards,