December 2, 2004

Finger Lake'n Good

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Gentiles, listen up. Don’t second guess the amount of presents you receive on December 25; while theoretically we should get eight presents, no one ever said that our parents didn’t have the right to completely dick us over. It’s called the Quantitative Jewish Illusory Effect, or QJIE, in which our parents give us crappy gifts each night, but make it seem like they really love us because it goes on for eight nights in row. However, rather than see through this scheme, we have to keep thanking them for their consistent efforts. Christmas is an all for one deal, so unless parents want their kids to hate them, they have to deliver the goods, so to speak.

Okay, I have made some sick acquisitions in my tenure as a Jew. Like last year, I received an envelope with five, count ’em, five dollars in it. The next night, I got another envelope, this time with no money, but a card that read: “Happy Easter, Grandpa.” I felt so used. It is fair to say that the only cool Chanukah decoration is the Menorah, while Santa, his sleigh and reindeer, giant teddy bears, awesome lights, cute little elves, snow, mistletoe, eggnog, wreaths, gingerbread houses and their magical occupants, the Nutcracker and drunk old people are all standard for Jesus’ birthday. It’s so much more fun. I want a Christmas tree, dammit, but I know that my mother will somehow find out and probably have a heart attack. Oyy!

Now that we’ve returned from Thanksgiving vacation, the awesome fun thing to do is to ask everyone you see how his or her break was. I look forward to hearing about how “good” or “relaxing” or “you know” it was. So what do I say to people when they ask me? The same thing — I don’t want to be a weirdo. Thanksgiving is a wonderful holiday in which families come together for one day of thankfulness, regardless of religious background. So why do so many people think it’s a religious holiday? Cause they don’t know the real story behind it. In fact, I have a strong feeling that Thanksgiving was actually invented by Jewish people who, like me, loved Christmas, but obviously couldn’t officially celebrate it.

See, the way many of us have heard is that back in 1620, Squanto and his boys picnicked with John Smith and his Separatist crew to honor the harvest and eat corn. This is probably true; however, that story had nothing to do with religion. On the denominational token, Thanksgivings are actually Calvinist holidays, and since Calvinists were not around Plymouth, we can rule that explanation out. Thanksgiving did not even become a nationally celebrated holiday until the 1800’s, but even then it was only recognized by a few states as such. It wasn’t until 1939 that Franklin Roosevelt officially designated it as the last Thursday in November, to ultimately extend the Christmas season. Extend the Christmas season?!?! Was that part of the New Deal? So we’re giving thanks for more Old Navy commercials? I have enough Performance Fleece to clothe Bulgaria and the balls to do it!

Well, anyway, I thought I would kick off the Christmas season in true Jewish fashion. So, I took a trip to the cleanest, most refined state in the country — no, not Mexico — New Jersey. I am so sick of people calling it “Dirty Jersey,” when they don’t even consider how pristine and fresh the humongous landfills, oil refineries and 5-6 New York Giants are.

The car in which I rode was comfortable, and quite spacious, although I found the four wheel drive a bit oppressive and mechanical. The New Jersey Turnpike was inviting, and nicely symmetrical, with small white lines that gave the illusory appearance of one long line. But at the same time, the road felt cold and too monothematic. Some curves and maybe more road kill along the sides might liven things up a bit. Maybe their ex-governor can help with the decorating. The music selection sucked because it wasn’t mine, but my senses were too overwhelmed by the delightful odor that emanated from the baby seal oil factory near Secaucus. I was especially happy to hear that Camden, NJ was recently named the country’s worst city! Way to go, guys! Keep that crack flowing.

I arrived at the restaurant, The Jewish Pilgrim, which looked a lot like my aunt’s house. I handed my coat to the coat check guy, who looked a lot like my uncle, and asked him not to wrinkle it, but he just gave me a weird look. I loved the d