Wednesday, July 1

Kindly Disregard This Entry

No, not really. Please to continue.

It's a variation on a quote. You'll get it in a few minutes (with any luck).

Tonight, I saw on facebook a quiz (one of the singularly stupidest things about facebook) to measure one's "Jewishness". You wind up with a score--like 81% Jewish, or 93% Jewish--based on five questions, which just doesn't even make mathematical sense. And that's not even mentioning the fact that one of the questions, regarding how many candles are on a menorah, didn't even have the right answer as one of the choices.

So I've been sitting here thinking, because you know, this is not the first time my Jewishness has been called into question. And I'm thinking that it doesn't matter one whisker if you had a bar or bat mitzvah. It doesn't make any difference if you eat chopped liver or matzoh ball soup. It's irrelevant whether you light candles on Hanukkah or fast on Yom Kippur. What matters is what makes you laugh. Oh. And songs, too.

You see, it is a little known fact that, among my extensive arsenal of lyrics and songs which by the way have little if any known usefulness is a special slot for one Allan Sherman. A whole lot of Allan Sherman (just stickin' with the sour old lady theme here). And, as you know if you know me at all, that library-of-sorts just isn't going anywhere. I'm stuck with it, ready with a mere cue.

If you don't know Allan Sherman or his songs, well, let me just say you have missed out on a valuable piece of Americana. No, knowing "Hello Muddah, Hello Fadduh" doesn't count. That song has passed into the common parlance, into the knowledge of the masses. Everyone knows it. It doesn't count as knowing Allan Sherman. On the other hand, if you know the date on which the liverwurst was put in the case at the delicatessen store or if you know how tall the martian gal was, you're well on your way. And if you don't, there's still hope for you. You can always hire me for private tutoring. I am also available for parties.

And although I just said it didn't count, Hell0 Muddah, Hello Fadduh (yes, it's Muddah and Fadduh, not Mother and Father. Puleeze.) is really the driving force for this post tonight. Because I'm thinking about camp this summer. I'm thinking about one of Phoebe's friends who is at sleepaway camp this week, about all the kids who are at sleepaway or daycamp this week. And the song is ringing in my head--that's how it always works. They come unbidden, when an association autodials them up in my Neuro-Rolodex (oh god, I'm realizing that people might not know what a Rolodex is anymore either. No, it's not a watch.) and there I am, walking around singing, embarassing my daughter (as I have been recently informed. Yes, it has started already). I am thinking about how I had thought of trying to arrange a riding camp for Phoebe this week. I had thought about whether she should re-enroll at the day camp she attended last summer, the one with the lake and swimming lessons. I am thinking of the swim tags we have for swimming in the unheated town pools and the local reservoirs. I am thinking of summer. And I am sitting here, listening to the thunder, watching the pouring rain. We had 26 days of rain in June. And today, July 1, it was raining harder than ever. How could anyone not think of Allan Sherman?

So, with no further ado, here you go. It might not count, but it's called for.

(psssst. It's October 1st. And 5'2". Just so's you know.)


Anonymous said...

Why would Facebook even have a quiz like that. Maybe they think not that many Jewish people are on Facebook.If I was Irish and they had a quiz and one of the questions was " How many leafs on a four leaf Clover".Would I be offended.I think there are three leafs. Or,say I was a Catholic,Okay I am a very lapsed Catholic; and they asked how many are in the holey trinity. Would I be upset. I forget how to bless myself to get the answer. The only conclusion I could come to is that someone from Facebook thought it was funny. I was 10% Jewish.

the_bunk said...

Weird to think that all Jewish people conform to one idea of Jewish. My friends who grew up in other parts of the country, much less the entire world, have had different experiences.

Robin said...

The quizzes are made up by random members--anyone can do one. Since the majority of facebook folks are young people, their quizzes often reflect their age bias, making them useless for anyone who doesn't live in their egocentric world in which nothing existed before, say 1990 or so. But even without those, people make up the stupidest quizzes, with the stupidest answers. Because they can. I wasn't offended. I just thought it was ridiculous.

Speaking of blessings, did you ever hear the piece called "The Blessing Bee" by Shalom Auslander on NPR? It's about Jewish blessings for food (and a lot of other things). It is WONDERFUL.

And yeah, it is so weird that anyone would think that Jewish people are homogenous (which has nothing to do with another frequent topic of my blog). It's an east coast thing. More egocentrism. Myself, I'm a Jew from the San Francisco Bay Area, which pretty much explains everything.

Thanks for your comments!

joan said...

Hey. I'm a Jew from rural Connecticut (which is why I now live in New York). It's weird to think that anyone would think that all east coast Jews are homogeneous. ;-)

Robin, you crack me up. We must've been separated at birth (how come you got all the writing talent?). I listened to Allan Sherman with my dad (who, when he wasn't wearing a suit, dressed like an Episcopalian golfer - but could tell a story like a 50's borscht belter).

Robin said...

...trying really hard to figure out how people got the idea that I am offended by this quiz, rather than just thinking it's stupid, which is a whole 'nother thing, and wait a minute the post is not really about the quiz, it's about how much it's raining here and the poor kids at camp and Allan Sherman and my endless and rather useless memory for lyrics...

Oh, and run-on sentences. It's about those too. :)

Robin said...

Hey, Joan, thanks for writing (and for the compliments! Keep 'em comin'!)

So being from rural CT is a slingshot to NY? Explain, please (I love rural anywhere, so can't figure this out)

I can tell a story like a 50's borscht belter too. I love that. Hey, I'm in my 50's, so maybe that's a new kind of 50's borscht belt!! A new club!

Audrey said...

OK--I knew October 1st, but not 5'2". Always good to learn new things. And I missed that it was 5 questions and an odd percentage. Thank you, o great and wise one.

Robin said...

You didn't know 5'2"? And you call yourself a 93 percenter.

Jaax said...

Ooh, the "Blessing Bee" is awesome! I think it was a segment on "This American Life." I am not Jewish, but I sure am a fan of Allan Sherman. The difference between "Hello Muddah..." and this weather is that in that song, the sun comes out, and I wonder if we'll *ever* see the sun again!

Robin said...

Yes, it WAS on This American Life. It's also a piece in his book "Foreskin's Lament" (is that a great title, or what?). His other book, Beware of God, is great too. All of it is heartbreaking, but wonderfully written. I wish he had a blog.

And of course, your point about the sun coming out at the end of the've got me there.

RCMJr said...

Facebook quizzes are obviously written by kids, or those at the same maturity level. They are very badly composed, rife with misspellings and the last one I looked at (yes, even I take a peek) would only have relevance to someone under 25. Taking a Facebook quiz at all seriously is an utter waste of energy.

Robin said...

I couldn't agree more about the quizzes. Then why do I keep looking at them? Just to give me something to be irritated about? Because I just HAVE to find out what could possibly be behind the purported conclusion that everyone that I know apparently is intended to live in Chatham? Or am I just nosy?

Anonymous said...

I don't understand what the big deal is...there are lots of dumb quizzes on FB. I mean, does it really matter 'What scary monster are you?' haha! Besides, they are meant as fun, not to be taken seriously.

My husband took one of the quizzes, "How Black are you?" and scored 100%--he's 100% Italian, peeps. And, I'm half Black, half Jewish, so I didn't find it offensive...rather, I thought it was kinda funny that there are some people would take these things to heart. There are so many other important things to be concerned with than whether you scored high enough on a FB quiz.

Maybe peeps should be more concerned with their own beliefs, and be comfortable with it, rather than feeling threatened by such inane humor.

Just a girl throwing that out there... ;)

Robin said...

STILL wondering how people are getting the idea that I take the fb quizzes seriously or worrying about scoring "high enough" or "threatened"...did I say that? Or maybe they just didn't read enough of the blog to get the idea that I'm generally a bit sarcastic and irreverent and comment on all kinds of stuff none of which is really very important!

I am SO confused. This is a very interesting piece of feedback that comes from such a large (albeit tempoary) reading audience.

I mean, I could write nine pages about fat thighs, but I"m not a person who could give a whit about such things.

Help me out, here....