Archive

Archive for March, 2009

100 Bottles of Beer on the Wall

March 22, 2009 2 comments

Last Tuesday we of the Jewish faith celebrated our bacchanalian of holidays, known as Purim. Commemorating one of the many times that some fool attempted genocide against our nation, it is our duty to alcoholically imbibe ourselves to a state in which we would bless our enemies. Now that I have had sufficient time to recover from the festivities, I would like to reminisce on some Purims past.

We Jews have some pretty quirky customs, as all religions do, but I like to think that ours list among the more strange. Point in fact: this holiday can be celebrated on two different days (four days in Jewish leap years). Basically, the city of Jerusalem celebrates the holiday one day later than the rest of Israel and the world. As you might suspect, with little effort this can lead to some prolonged revelry. A two-day drunk sounds pretty fun to many of the 18- and 19-year-olds that are away from home in various programs in the Holy Land. As if this weren’t enough, when Purim falls (for everyone else) on a Friday, Jerusalem pushes off the festivities until after the Sabbath—prompting some to pull a three-day bender. This leads me to my first story.

During my second year in Israel, Purim fell on a Friday for everyone not in Jerusalem. As luck would have it, my birthday (February 26th, for those who don’t know) was that Saturday. I looked forward to going out and having at least a few drinks without worrying about getting trashed—it’s pretty hard to look like a drunken fool when everyone else is. There was even a great way to get started: the Lubavitch Absolut Vodka Purim Party at the Central Bus Station.

I should have known that I was not going to have the evening I wanted when I got to the bus station and there was no booze left. The party had started less than an hour before and they were cleaned out! So I walked to town, since it would be faster than waiting for a bus. When I got there, pretty much everyone in sight was drunk, including my brother. Resigned to the fact that I probably wasn’t going to do any drinking, I sat down with my brother and some of his friends. One thing I can say about drunks: they make for the funniest conversations.

After ten minutes or so, my brother jumped up, having remembered it was my birthday. He then decided he would get as many people as possible to sing “Happy Birthday” to me. Yelling to everyone present—which was a considerable amount, since we were in the center of town—he led some 50 drunk Israelis and a few others through the song. You haven’t heard “Happy Birthday” until you’ve heard a throng of people singing “Heppy Beeersdayy tuuu yuuuuu!” It was truly a special moment. Coincidentally (or not, since these are Purim stories), the words “drunk” and “Israelis” factor into my second story.

It was my first year at Bar-Ilan University, and the most popular show on Israeli television was “Comedy Store”. This was effectively a cross between “Mad TV” and “You Can’t Do That on Television”. The show was essentially a bunch of skits with recurring characters, one of whom was named Jo-Jo Halastra. Jo-Jo was the prototypical cool Israeli. He wore a leopard-print shirt that was open three buttons down, five or six gold chains that you could hardly see through all his exposed chest hair, a ton of bracelets, and had long curly hair. His primary joy (and the subject of his weekly scenes) was making fun of dorks, nerds, and the like. Oh, he also had a ridiculous laugh. Anyone care to guess how many Israelis decided to dress up as Jo-Jo for Purim?

As for me, I thought I would do something fun for the Americans, so I dressed up as Kramer from “Seinfeld”. It was a pretty convincing getup and every American got it right away. The Israelis, however, had never seen the show and, instead of thinking I was dressed up, they thought I was a completely smashed American. Thus it was that whenever a Jo-Jo passed a Jo-Jo they would laugh that crazy laugh at each other, but whenever a Jo-Jo approached Kramer, Jo-Jo would walk into the street or onto the grass—anything to stay away from the disheveled and drunk American. Some even crossed the street! You tell me, do I look drunk in the picture below? Incidentally, with all the crap I had to use to do that, it took me about four days to get my hair back to some semblance of normal.

Well, those are two of my more fond Purim memories. They certainly are the most memorable, though the time I got laid-off is a very close second (or third, I guess), but I try not to think about that. That’s all for now. Until next time, have a drink on me.

Advertisements
Categories: Uncategorized