| Sidekick |

Of Pets and Peeves   

How else would I find an audience of these proportions who will willingly listen to me whine?

MY editors think I agreed to sign up for this Sidekick column because I’m bored. (In general, writers are known to be a bored species. They have so much spare time in their lives that they seek to fill it up with hours and hours of screen time — blank screen time, that is. White Word docs with blinking cursors are the most fascinating things in the world.)

What did you do today?”

“I backspaced.”

No, I don’t write Sidekick essays because I’m bored. The only reason I write them is because how else would I find an audience of these proportions who will willingly listen to me whine?

It’s my privilege, and I will hereby take advantage of the opportunity. And if you agree with me that the following list of exasperating things should be put in cherem, please sign the petition at the end.

Produce Bags

Or whatever you call those rolls of bags hanging around supermarkets.

Yes, those. They are the root of all evil.

You run across the street to the grocery to pick up some vegetables for your chicken soup. Quick errand; onions, carrots, parsley, celery knob, celery stalks, kohlrabi, zucchini, did you leave anything out?

You don’t bother changing into normal clothing. It’s winter, you just switch into shoes and throw on a jacket. Nobody’s looking at you, and the water in the pot is already bubbling.

Your cell phone rings as you’re holding that bunch of kohlrabi by its arms and ripping off one of those ubiquitous bags. You hitch the phone between your ear and shoulder and proceed to open the bag.

You try. You slide your fingers over the top. No go. You glide the bag between your palms, back and forth, back and forth. Does this bag even have two sides? You bring the top of the bag close to your eyes and try to engage the corner and nudge it open. It doesn’t work. Your shoulder hurts, your fingers are numb from the cold, but the bag refuses to budge. You put down the kohlrabi, end the call, and focus intently on that stubborn sheet of plastic. To no avail.

Maybe you’re working on the seal side, you consider, so you turn the bag around and go through the whole performance again. No, definitely not, you’re pretty sure this is the seal side. You give up, dump the empty bag in your basket, and rip a new one off the roll, hoping this one will be more cooperative.

It isn’t.

Thank you for listening.

Coatroom Hangers

It’s been so many years, and you’re still working on your very strong nisayon of stealing. You’ve done 40 days, you’ve journaled, maybe you even found a sponsor from Stealing Anonymous.

And yet, when you arrive at a simchah hall and you see those precious, sparkling hangers on the racks in the coatroom, all the years of growth disappear as you’re overwhelmed by the desire to walk home with a hanger or two hidden under your coat.

No? Doesn’t resonate? But then, why? Why????? Why do coat room executives do this to us? Who invented those diabolical hangers that can’t be removed from their rods? How in the world are you supposed to hang up your coat, umbrella, and the bag that held your heels and now holds the comfortable walking shoes you came in while you run in to say mazel tov? It doesn’t help that there are 600 coats already squeezed together around the lone available hanger.

If you’re lucky and there’s a coatroom manager employed, don’t complain about the wait. Bless him, tip him, and — if you have any gratitude — don’t put the ticket in your shoe.


As a kid, you always loved Slinkies. There’s something so thrilling about repeatedly stretching a coiled piece of plastic and then letting it spring back into shape.

Then you grow up. And when your kid arrives home with a Slinky, his prize for supposedly having been in bed on time every day of the past week, your stomach fills with dread. Because you know exactly how long that Slinky will remain in shape and the tears that follow that bent and twisted mess.

You also know good and well who’s going to be expected to untangle it.

Raise your voices. Stand up and unite against the evil Slinky. Hear! Hear!

Open Glue Sticks

Because whoever does that, whoever leaves a glue stick open on the floor, especially when he knows there’s a toddler in the house, may not use glue sticks. Period.


To be fair, not all tissues. You specifically have it in for tissues that are nestled in pants pockets and land in the washing machine.

No further comments, Your Honor.


In tights. By the toe.

If you ever want to have a bad day, puncture a hole in your tights by the toe first thing in the morning. This will be the day when you’ll need cucumbers from the grocery, you’ll discover shredded tissue dotting the freshly washed dark load, you’ll spar with the open glue stick in your toddler’s hand, and you’ll find yourself at odds with a hanger in a coatroom.

Tights holes. They are a bad omen.


Like this one. When Production sweetly emails you in the morning asking when she can expect the Sidekick that was due two days ago, and you’d completely forgotten about your commitment (six weeks pass really fast in the world of Sidekick rotations), you’ll open a blank Word doc and ask: What did I do to myself?

Then you’ll glance down at your toe, at the tights that had been brand new that morning, and you’ll know.


(Originally featured in Family First, Issue 832)

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